It sounds dirty and dreary. But don't let the name fool you. The mud season is Colorado's off-season—the window of time between when the ski resorts close and when the summer activities pick up again. The weather warms up and melts the snow before the wildflowers and grass have filled out Mother Nature's carpet.

White Water Rafting

White water rafting is a thrilling and scenic warm-weather sport in Colorado. The season lasts from about April through October, centering around when the sunshine melts the snow on the mountains. It spills down the slopes and into the rivers, raising water levels and the speed of the current. For a land-locked state famous for its ski resorts, there’s also an abundance of places to play on the water once the lifts shut down.

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River classification | No significant waves or obstacles are the hallmark of Class I waters. Moderate rapids and wide channels are the norm for Class II. More complex maneuvering is to be expected in Class III waters due to narrow channels and the number of obstacles that will be encountered. Class IV is for advanced paddlers with the skill set to deal with fast-moving water and intense channels. Only experts should attempt Class V waters due to steep chutes, difficult routes and rough rapids with little time to rest between each obstacle. Finally, while Class VI waters exist, they are considered unrunnable.

Experts suggest floaters with little to no experience wait until July and August to hit the river because that’s usually when the snowmelt slows down and waters are a bit calmer. For rafting during the peak runoff — which varies but often happens between late May and early June — be prepared with a wetsuit or splash top.

  • Anyone can do it. There are rivers for all levels of experience and courage, even families with kids.
  • Pick a certified outfitter with great reviews and tons of experience. Don’t try to go at it alone.
  • Don’t just pick the first vendor with a tube you see on the banks.
  • The fastest rapids are typically in May and June, when the snow melt is peaked, but it changes every year and by each river.
  • Know the difference in the Classifications of water. 
  • Wear a swimsuit and/or quick-drying clothes. You have to wear a life vest. 
  • Dress for the weather, with waterproof sunscreen and water shoes or sneakers that will stay on your feet.
  • You may want to pack dry clothes to change into afterward.

Echo Canyon | 800.755.3246
Canyon City, CO | 1 hour from Colorado Springs

Royal Gorge Rafting | 719.275.7238
Canyon City, CO | ​1 hour from Colorado Springs

Raft Masters | 719.275.6645
Idaho Springs, CO | 1.5 hours from Colorado Springs

River Runners | 719.395.2466
Salido, CO | 2 hours from Colorado Springs

American Adventure Expeditions | 719.395.2409
Buena Vista, CO | 2 hours from Colorado Springs

Fly Fishing

Colorado offers excellent fly fishing for trout every month of the year. Let’s take a look at when and where to fish around Colorado and what guided fly fishing trips to book throughout the year.
With thousands of miles of rivers and streams and millions of surface acres of lakes, the Centennial State is nirvana for fly-fishermen who, each year, are captivated by the rhythmic action and stunning backdrops of the sport. But fly-fishing isn’t as easy as putting a worm on a hook and chucking it into a stocked pond. Fly-fishing takes a little more skill, a lot more patience, and a borderline obsessive need to know what makes a fish bite.

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Check out our list of PLACES TO EXPLORE for guided fishing.

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Hot Springs

Thermal hot springs flow abundantly throughout the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Soaking in natural mineral water is a time-honored tradition to enhance wellness. One thing is for sure: relaxation is the ultimate goal.

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SunWater Spa, Manitou Springs

​SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs is pretty unique — much more than just hot water. SunWater offers yoga, Thai yoga, Watsu (like water shiatsu) and other fitness classes, plus access to a luxurious spa. The hot water here is collected in cedar wood tubs, and the temperature is controlled via solar panels. Relax in one of seven public pools, with views of Pikes Peak. Mineral water comes from the Seven Minute Spring and is typically between 100 and 104 degrees — so a little milder than many Colorado hot springs.
Ouray Hot Springs, Ouray

The Ouray Hot Springs in Ouray is much bigger and better known, but it underwent substantial renovations in the past few years. So even if you think you know this hot springs, you might not know it anymore. The multi-million dollar project improved the infrastructure, waterfalls and more, as well as added a new bathhouse. This hot springs is great for families and features a slide, lap lanes, obstacle course, water volleyball, a diving board and a shallow area with benches for kids. It has all kinds of different ways to play and get active while soaking in the minerals of the water. The sulfur-free Ouray Hot Springs boasts three different pools of different temps (from 80 to 105 degrees).

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Orvis Hot Springs, Ridgway

Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway is a clothing-optional hot springs. A highlight here is its Lobster Pot hot springs, named for its extreme temps that peak at 114. If that’s not your style, there’s plenty more to choose from. Orvis, in the San Juan Mountains, has seven hot springs pools with temps from 98 to 112 degrees. Each has a different mineral content, too, so you get seven uniquely different hot springs experiences at this one location.