17 Most Beautiful And Scenic Rivers In Colorado That Will Amaze You! | Kidadl


17 Most Beautiful And Scenic Rivers In Colorado That Will Amaze You!

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Isn't it amazing to take a walk along a river and enjoy the relaxing view, free from all distractions?

Colorado is a unique place jam-packed with scenic rivers, snow-capped peaks, vast rocky mountains, national parks, and much more. No other place can offer such splash-worthy adventures than the lakes and rivers of Colorado.

Colorado is one of the mountain states of the United States of America. The state is well-known for its vibrant landscapes, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, rivers, plateaus, and desert lands. It is an ideal travel destination for trekkers, bikers, hikers, skiers and is nicknamed 'The Centennial State.'

Colorado is rich in wildlife and is home to four remarkable national parks - Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Of the four, Mesa Verde National Park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, preserving the remnants of cliff-dwelling Native American settlements.

Colorado's capital city, Denver, is nicknamed the 'Mile High City' because it is located precisely 1 mi (1.6 km) above sea level. Keep scrolling to learn more about the amazing rivers in colorado!!

If you like reading this article so far, make sure you check our other similar articles like famous rivers and major rivers in Peru.

Best Rivers In Colorado

Colorado is home to numerous beautiful rivers, of which most of them arise in the state, and some of the rivers only pass through the state. Here is a list of the most scenic rivers in Colorado that would capture your heart.

Colorado River: The Colorado River is one of the most iconic rivers of the western slope of Colorado, which goes by the same name as the state. It originates in La Poudre Pass in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, at 10,184 ft (3,104 m). The river is initially named Rio Colorado and is the fifth-longest river of North America, behind the Rio Grande, Missouri, Yukon, and Mississippi River.

The Colorado River is around 1,450 mi (2,330 km) long. From its source, the Colorado River channels through canyons and deserts to the lush wetlands of the vast delta in Mexico and then into the Gulf of California.

The Colorado River flows across five U.S. states and two Mexican states, including Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Sonora, and Baja California.

It is connected by over 25 significant tributaries, of which the Green River is the largest. Dams, aqueducts, and reservoirs direct the river and its tributaries. The Colorado River passes through over 11 national parks and is home to the Grand Canyon, one of the world's seven natural wonders.

Arkansas River: The Arkansas River arises high in the Sawatch Range in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, and is the sixth-longest river in the U.S. It flows across Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and is the Mississippi's second-largest tributary. It ends with the Mississippi River in eastern Arkansas and is a well-known destination for whitewater rafting and fly fishing worldwide.

Yampa River: The Yampa River is the only free-flowing river in Colorado without major dams or diversions. It originates in the Rocky Mountains and is a tributary of the Green River. The river flows like a clear mountain stream over 250 mi (400 km) across northwestern Colorado. The Yampa River Festival occurs every June, and kayakers play in the energetic waters.

Animas River: The Animas River arises high in Colorado's San Juan Mountains and flows 126 mi (203 km) long in the western United States. The river is a tributary of the San Juan River and flows south into New Mexico with the San Juan River at Farmington. The Florida River is the only major tributary that flows north of the Colorado and New Mexico border.

Let's go through some of the best rivers in Colorado for an amazing whitewater rafting adventure :

San Juan River: The river is located near Fort Collins and the closest river to the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a popular attraction for travelers who love whitewater rafting trips and fly fishing.

Gunnison River: It is Colorado's second-largest river located in Gunnison and one of the major tributaries of the Colorado River. The river is pretty intense, spanning 164 mi (264km) long.

Blue River: It is also the tributary of the mighty Colorado River and is 65 mi (105 km) long.

Cache La Poudre River: Also known as the Poudre River, originates in the Rocky Mountain National Park and flows across 126 mi (203 km). It provides rafting, irrigation, and drinking water.

Uncompahgre River: The river rises in southwestern Colorado and is a tributary of the Gunnison River. It flows for around 75 mi (121 km) in the United States.

Dolores River: The Dolores river runs across both Colorado and Utah. It is 241 miles (388 km) long located in southwest Colorado near the San Juan National Forest. Deserts, canyons, and forests surround the river. The ideal time for rafting is from mid-April to mid-June.

Eagle River: The river is near Vail mountain, Colorado, and is a smaller stream of 60 mi (97 km) long but beautiful stretch to see. It is a more quaint option open to visit all year long for rafting, hiking, kayaking, and fly fishing. The Eagle River depends on the snowpack on Vail Mountain; thus, it typically flows only in early summer when the snow melts.

White River: It is in north-central Colorado and a tributary of the Green River. The river stretches for 195 mi (314 km).

South Platte and North Platte River: The South Platte River and North Platte River are the two major tributaries of the Platte River. The North Platte River flows across Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The South Platte River rises in central Colorado and has been a popular fishing spot, designated Gold Medal Waters status.

Rio Grande River: It has its origin in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The river flows across 1,760 mi (2,830 km) and helps irrigate 2 million acres of land in the U.S. and Mexico.

Rocky Mountain water also provides an outstanding fly-fishing experience. Some rivers on the list providing the best fly fishing are South Platte River, Rio Grande, Gunnison River, and Blue River.

How many rivers flow into Colorado?

Colorado's famous snow melts in the spring and flows across high plateaus through red rock canyons to clear streams rolling through the lush mountains and become the state's gorgeous rivers. The state has over 237 crucial streams, including creeks, the 158 rivers which pass through the state.

Only two rivers flow into Colorado, the Cimarron River, and the Green River. All the other rivers in Colorado have their origin within the state's borders.

Cimarron River is a tributary of the Arkansas River that originates in northeastern New Mexico and flows about 698 mi (1,123 km) across New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas. The river flows through the northern Oklahoma panhandle and bends northward to flow through the southeastern corner of Colorado into Kansas. It finally returns to Oklahoma, connecting the Arkansas River at Keystone Reservoir, Oklahoma.

The Green River begins in glaciers of the northern Wind River Mountains, Wyoming. The principal stream makes a 40 mi (64.3 km) loop through northwestern Colorado, but most of the river lies in Utah. The river flows 730 mi (1,170 km) long, of which most of its course flows about 450 mi (724.2 km) in Wyoming and Utah. The river is named green for its greenish-gray silt that fills its lower stretches. The Green River is famous for a rafting trip across the Canyon of Lodore, which will take you across the Uinta Mountains from Colorado into Utah.

Rivers In Colorado Map

The state of Colorado is noteworthy for its varied geography, including high plains, alpine mountains, deep canyons, and deserts with huge sand dunes. It is known as the Headwaters State and is home to four major river basins, supplying water to 17 western states.

Over the years, the United States Geological Survey records the number of rivers, lakes, and creeks located throughout Colorado. Colorado's rivers shown on the map are Arikaree River, Arkansas River, Animas River, Apishapa River, Blue River, Colorado River, Cache la Poudre River, Dolores River, Gunnison River, Huerfano River, Laramie River, Little Snake River, Mancos River, North Platte River, Purgatoire River, Platte River, Rio Grande River, South Fork Republican River, San Miguel River, South Platte River, Uncompahgre River, White River, and Yampa River.

Some of the rivers in Colorado also act as the boundaries, like the Rio Grande river is a part of the Mexico-United States border. While the Colorado River is a boundary between Nevada and Arizona.

Colorado's Grand Mesa is the largest flat-top mountain globally.

Rivers In Colorado To Swim

Colorado is one of the preferable whitewater rivers in the United States and has been called the 'granddaddy of rafting trips. The Horseshoe Bend is a famous spot of the Colorado River where it flows around a huge piece of horseshoe shape rock.

Few places capture our hearts as far as the rivers in Colorado we cannot escape from swimming? But are they safe to swim? The answer is 'No.' Swimming in rivers like the Rio Grande is dangerous because the water would be flowing fast, and it can knock you down at times. However, you can enjoy whitewater rafting trips to some of the most famous rivers in Colorado, such as the Animas River, Colorado River, Yampa River, Piedra River, and many more. You can also choose overnight camping trips and provide all necessary equipment from commercial guides.

Despite that, there are many best lakes and swimming holes of Colorado's rivers to swim and get wet in summer-like Boulder Creek, Mystic Island Lake, Big Dominguez Canyon, Cherry Creek Reservoir, Yampa's D-hole.

Facts About Colorado Rivers' Ecosystem

The landlocked Colorado state, with a total land area of 103,730 sq. miles, is also famous for its rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. Few rivers like the Colorado River, Rio Grande River, Arkansas River, and South Platte River make the state rich and fertile. The major parts of Colorado's economy include mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism.

As the Colorado River is a vital water resource of the state, its impact on Colorado's ecosystem is huge. It has a significant impact with increasing and decreasing water availability affected by various factors like climate change, persistent drought, or population growth. The Colorado River and its creeks provide water to irrigate nearly 5.5 million acres of land and support almost 40 million people for domestic water, national parks, tribes, and wildlife refuge.

The Colorado River is an essential part of the entire state and always plays a vital role in the state's history and economy. Although the Colorado state is known as one of the driest states in the nation, it supports water to more than a dozen states of Mexico. The river's vast freshwater, brackish, and tidal wetlands support a large population of plant, animal, and marine life.

The Colorado River supports 1.4 trillion dollars annual economic activity through agriculture, forestry, shipping, tourism, and recreation from California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico. As the demand for the Colorado River's water already exceeds supply, some of the unprecedented conservation programs are finding innovative ways to save the iconic river to help balance the needs of people and nature.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for rivers in Colorado, then why not take a look at the longest rivers in the world or major rivers in Argentina.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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