From The Denver Post (Jason Blevins):
If you are looking for wild and scenic, that would be northern Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River, a Front Range jewel that offers Class II to Class V whitewater slicing through granite corridors.
Rafting on the state’s only federally designated Wild and Scenic River is typically divided into two sections: the lower, easier runs and the upper, more difficult sections. Outfitters on the lower half — check out A Wanderlust Adventure (4120 W. County Road 54G, Laporte, 800-745-7238, awanderlustadventure.com) — can float kids as young as 7 through Class II and Class III rapids. Trips on the upper section are rowdier, with adrenaline-churning drops and waterfalls that cut through some of Colorado’s most scenic gorges…
The Arkansas River from Granite to Cañon City is the most trafficked stretch of whitewater in the country. For good reason. The river, which hosted more than 190,000 rafters last year, can thrill every type of whitewater fan, from the most grizzled kayaker to the novice rubber rider. The Arkansas River is truly one-stop shopping for every river lover.
Above Buena Vista, the Arkansas tumbles through a ravine bisected by the boat-eating Pine Creek Rapid. Anyone venturing through this Class-V stretch best be prepared. A swim in Pine Creek is never pretty. Downstream, the Arkansas meanders through seven distinct rapids, known as The Numbers. Kayakers love this stretch year-round as the current allows passage through granite boulders even in winter. The rafting options grow as the river enters Buena Vista, where the town’s river play park is a hive of paddling action.
More whitewater coverage here.