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Independent Whitewater
Rafting in Salida, Colorado since 1979

Now open and booking for the 2024 rafting season! Start planning an unforgettable experience today.

Book Now

Independent Whitewater
Rafting Salida, Colorado

Now open and booking for the 2024 rafting season! Start planning an unforgettable experience today.

Independent Whitewater
Rafting Salida, Colorado

We're proud to offer the best price in town guaranteed. Check out our "Deals and Discounts" for ways to save.

Independent Whitewater
Rafting Salida, Colorado

Now offering discounts for groups of more than 12 rafters! Book your trip in advance to save big.

Independent Whitewater
Rafting Salida, Colorado

The #1 Rated Rafting Outfitter in Salida, CO by TripAdvisor.

Independent Whitewater
Rafting Salida, Colorado

Scenic floats, the perfect trip for the entire family.

More Miles More Smiles
(719) 539-7737

Independent Whitewater: Your Local River Connection in Salida, CO 

Independent Whitewater is a local, family owned company located right on the Arkansas River just upstream of Salida, CO. Our mission is simple: Bring “more miles and smiles” to you and your crew! Our private river access lets us offer “more miles” on every adventure, including our  Browns Canyon whitewater ½ day. After the trip, relax at The Drift In, our tiki-themed bar and grill, for more smiles.

Come check out the best whitewater rafting in Colorado with us and see why we’ve been Salida’s favorite for 45 years.



Our Most Popular Arkansas River Rafting Trips

Whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River offers experiences for all ages and skill levels.  The  Browns Canyon 1/2 day is the most popular family whitewater rafting trip in Colorado.  This exciting trip is great for rafters of all abilities, including families with kids 7 and older.  Thanks to our private river access, we are able to offer more rapids and miles on our half day trip than any other company. The IW half day includes Seidel’s Suckhole and Twin Falls, two classic Arkansas River rapids you don’t want to miss.

Looking for a more mellow experience? Try our scenic class II Arkansas River float trips which raft through awesome scenery as well as historic downtown Salida.  These half day trips are suited for families with kids as young as 2 and rafters can expect to be on the water for about 2.5 hours. Looking for a quicker trip? Ask us about our shorter 1/4 day float.

Looking for big thrills? Our most popular advanced whitewater is in The Numbers, a river section with continuous whitewater and excitement.  If you are an experienced rafter looking for maximum thrills, this is the trip for you!


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The Independent Whitewater Difference

When you choose Independent Whitewater, you’ll get: 

  • The longest Browns Canyon ½ day trip on the Arkansas River 
  • Family float trips launch directly from our private riverside property and float through historic Downtown Salida 
  • Free wetsuits, booties and splash gear provided on all trips
  • The Drift In, a riverside bar and grill for food and drinks before and after your rafting adventure 
  • 45 years of experience rafting the whitewater of Browns Canyon and the Arkansas River 
  • Smaller trips. Our average trip size is about 2-4 boats, making for a more personal experience
  • Fun, friendly and helpful office staff 
  • Owners on site daily 

Looking for More Things To Do in Colorado?

We got you covered on all things adventurous. On top of hosting a wide range of rafting adventures in Salida, Colorado, you can also add on zipline adventures. Located in the “Heart of the Rockies”, you’ll find that recreation, arts, and cultural activities are endless in Salida. Other nearby destinations like the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Browns Canyon National Monument allow for an abundance of fun things to do in our region. Find more trip ideas and activities below.

See Why We're Rated the #1 Tours in Salida on TripAdvisor

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Independent Whitewater!

We always love Independent Whitewater. We've been coming here for about 20 years now ... Wow! The guides are always a blast, even when the water is low. The owner is great, and the new grill has some awesome eats and brews. Highly recommend this for your rafting cruise through Brown's Canyon!

– tahursh
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Class Act

Everyone we worked with was professional and clearly interested in making this a great experience for our group. Our guide Swani kept us safe and was a wealth of information throughout the trip. Can't wait to go back next year!

– stein027
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Family Fun On The Water!

Booked a half day raft trip with my family of five with kiddos between 10 and 15. We had a blast! Very professional with nice management and awesome river guides. Our guide, Joe, was quite the comic, but was very knowledgeable! I would highly recommend this for a fun, safe, river adventure!

– 461bradyn
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Highly Recommend!

We went on a scenic and fun rafting trip as a family. Independent provided high quality equipment, good safety, and a very nice location by the river. We went with awesome (highly experienced, knowledgeable and fun) river guide Joe and would definitely go with IW again!

– Katrina W.

Jump on in… the water’s fine! Come check out the view through our Arkansas River Webcam. Live from the shores of the Drift In Bar & Grill—our riverside restaurant located at the end of our trip route—you can get a glimpse of the Arkansas River’s real-time conditions.

Have a glimpse into your next whitewater rafting adventure by cruising around our blog: The Arkansas River Roundup. Dive in to find travel tips, insider rafting information, and more to prepare yourself for an unforgettable trip.

Independent Whitewater Unveils Unforgettable Whitewater Rafting Adventures!

Salida, CO, January 10, 2023 – Independent Whitewater, a leading river outfitter is thrilled to announce some of the most exhilarating white water rafting adventures on the Arkansas River. Embarking on a mission to redefine the best family white water rafting in Colorado, Independent Whitewater introduces a series of expeditions that combine heart-pounding rapids with…

I Believe in More Miles, More Smiles!

If there’s one thing we cultivate at IW, it’s smiles. We’re lucky enough to be in the whitewater rafting business which means we get to help people have fun all summer long. It’s a pretty amazing job, really. Maybe that’s why we’re so proud of the fact that we float more miles on our  Browns…