Blue Sky Rafting strives to enrich people’s lives by providing a safe, professional, and outstanding Colorado rafting experience for all ages and ability levels. For over 30 years we have taken pride in maintaining a standard of rafting excellence and a legendary reputation for customer service that repeats itself year after year. We are a small company dedicated to creating cherished and lifelong memories by providing an unbelievable outdoor adventure that exceeds any of our guests’ expectations.
The stories that surround the rivers of our valley are the stories of our lives. Ranchers, rafters, fishermen and families of all types have a unique relationship with our rivers, with many of those stories going back generations. From our earliest history as a mining and ranching community, to the modern day rafting and fishing mecca, Glenwood Springs’ history has been shaped around the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the mighty Colorado. The owners of Blue Sky Rafting, Geoffrey Olsen and Patrick Drake, understand the need for stewardship of these precious resources and have built their business around their shared passion and love for the rivers and outdoor adventure. Blue Sky’s dedication to responsible, safe, and sustainable adventure is what gives our guests such a unique experience on the river, which brings them back to raft with us year after year.
As clear and icy as its name implies, the Crystal river is about 40 miles long from its start in the wild peaks around Marble, CO, to where it joins the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale. This undammed river flows through beautiful ranchland, wildlife sanctuaries and stunning canyons. Highest during a short spring runoff season, rafting the Crystal is a rare opportunity to explore fast, splashy rapids and the lush, riparian ecology it sustains.
12.25 MILES FROM US
The Roaring Fork
The Roaring Fork River, which first plummets down the side of Independence Pass as a tiny alpine stream, quickly comes into its own as a white water enthusiast’s dream. From Aspen to Glenwood Springs, the Roaring Fork is known for exciting rapids and stunning views of Mt. Sopris and the surrounding valley. It runs high during the spring and into early summer with rapids like Cemetary offering adventure for all ages. Best of all, the Roaring Fork is removed from the tourism and traffic of Glenwood Canyon and along with great rapids, offers a unique perspective on the land you won’t find from anywhere else.
.5 MILES FROM US
The icon of western rivers, over 1400 miles long, the Colorado River carves its way down from Granby through Glenwood Canyon and out to Utah, Nevada, and California leaving behind world class whitewater! But the mighty Colorado is far more than just a paddler’s dream, however, with seven states relying on its precious water to sustain infrastructure, agriculture, ranching and recreation economies. In fact, increasing demand for the water from the Colorado makes it one of the most endangered rivers in the country as communities continue to expand throughout the West. The riparian ecology provided along the riverbanks of this river is als a cornerstone for the flora and fauna in the alpine, semi-arid, and arid niches along the way. Add to this a somewhat mercurial nature due to the spring runoff season and summer storms, and the Colorado River is beloved, needed and respected across the West.
.25 MILES FROM US
Blue Sky Rafting has a long history of superb safety, customer service and adventure. Founded in 1975, we have won multiple Local’s Choice awards and have deep roots in the community. It is because of this commitment to the highest standards of business, safety, sustainability and fun that not only our guests, but our guides come back year after year. In fact, many of of our raft guides, office staff, and of course, our owners have years of experience here, and think of Blue Sky Rafting as a their second home in the summer.
About Our Town
Glenwood Springs was first homesteaded in 1880 and has since developed into a world-class destination for both adventure and relaxation. The early history of the town, originally named ‘Defiance,’ was a patchwork of ranchers, miners, gunslingers, mafiosos, madams and other sordid characters. In fact, most of the original buildings in the downtown blocks were once either a bar or a brothel. Since that time, however, the town has cleaned up its act, and, despite several boom-bust industries in mining and agriculture, Glenwood has always recovered and continued to grow. With the boom of the ski industry in the 1970’s, Glenwood Springs became a confluence of those looking to carve world class slopes in Aspen, Vail and beyond. And in the last few decades, the town has really come into its own, gaining world-renown for the many incredible and varied summer attractions. Currently with a diverse population of just under 10,000, locals and small businesses, along with those who support the recreation industry, are the lifeblood of the culture and economy in Glenwood Springs.
No day is a dull one in Glenwood Springs. Once you’ve gotten your fill of white water river rafting with Blue Sky Rafting, the hardest thing will be to figure out which other awesome thing you are going to do. Glenwood Springs has been voted a top vacation destination again and again by magazines like Outside Magazine, National Geographic, and the New York Times. With a family, a must-visit is the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. A mountain top amusement park with thrill rides like cliffside swings and coasters as well as amazing family experiences like the Caverns cave tour, alpine slide and even laser tag, no one can be bored. Maybe a scenic drive down to Aspen (40 miles) and up the picturesque, 12,000 ft Independence Pass is perfect day for you. Or perhaps the history buffs want to explore the legacy of our town with a short hike to Doc Holiday’s grave, the Frontier Historical Museum, or Glenwood Springs walking history tour and Railroad Museum. But if you really haven’t had enough extreme adventure, try paragliding, horseback riding or rock climbing. Just ask about our partner discounts! Then, after a packed day, relax in the Hot Springs Pool after a fine-dining meal at any of the many excellent restaurants in the downtown hub.
You probably have seen a calendar or postcard with a picture of this incredible Rocky Mountain gem. Along with Maroon Bells, Hanging Lake is the one-of-a-kind natural beauty that leaves visitors with a lasting impression and a sense of awe found nowhere else in the world. From Eastbound I-70 only, Hanging Lake is accessible year round, but gets very busy in the summer. The steep, 1.3 mile hike leads the well-prepared adventurer and family up through the rocky alpine canyon, back and forth across a clear stream, until they reach the beautiful, travertine-blue ledge lake, complete with waterfall and wildflowers. Be sure to carefully follow all posted use recommendations, as this is a popular area with a very delicate ecological balance. Count on about two hours for a round trip visit.
The Hot Springs
As the world’s largest hot springs and first major tourist destination of our valley, the Hot Springs Pool has been offering warm, mineral-filled soaking to vacationers since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, and was revered as sacred by the Utes for its healing qualities long before that. The olympic sized pool is very family friendly, and maintains a comfortable 98 degrees throughout the year. Water slides are open during the day for a little extra fun, and the smaller, hotter soaking pool is a great place to relax anytime for young and old alike. Our recommendation is to plan a late evening soak and watch the sunset over Red Mountain while the steam rises into the cool mountain air.
Blue Sky Rafting strives to enrich people’s lives by providing a safe, professional, and outstanding Colorado rafting experience for all ages and ability levels.
Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork River runs 70 miles from Independence Pass through Aspen, Basalt, and Carbondale until it reaches its confluence with the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs. During its journey the waters drop over 6,000 feet in elevation, more than the Mississippi River drops in its entire length!
The Ute Indians called it “Thunder River” no doubt from the roaring sound it makes during spring runoff. Many species of wildlife rely on the river corridor for their survival, making it a great place to view elk, Bald Eagles, osprey, great blue herons, moose, mule deer, and more.
The Roaring Fork River offers abundant recreational opportunities including white water rafting, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing. Gold Medal trout waters can be found within the section between Basalt and Glenwood Springs.