Bear River: Activities, Rafting & Wildlife


The Bear River, a 22.7-mile-long tributary of the Yampa River that originates in the Flat Tops Wilderness above the Stillwater Reservoir, is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. It offers a wealth of outdoor activities and breathtaking natural beauty. This scenic area attracts adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers from all over, thanks to its pristine wilderness and diverse recreational opportunities.


  • Exploration of the diverse outdoor activities available in the Bear River area.
  • Insight into the unique rafting experiences Bear River offers.
  • Overview of the natural beauty and wildlife that enhance the Bear River experience.

Exploring the Great Outdoors

The Bear River in Colorado is in a stunning geographical landscape, surrounded by majestic mountains, lush forests, and crystal-clear waters. The area is best enjoyed during the summer when the weather is mild and ideal for outdoor activities. Visitors can explore a variety of trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking, ranging from easy, family-friendly routes to more challenging trails for experienced adventurers.

The Thrill of Rafting on Bear River

One of the most popular activities in the upper Bear River is rafting. The river offers a range of rafting experiences, from gentle floats suitable for beginners to exhilarating whitewater rapids for thrill-seekers. Before embarking on a rafting trip, it’s essential to prioritize safety by wearing a life jacket and following the guidance of experienced rafting instructors. Local rafting companies, such as Alpine Activities and KODI Rafting, provide guided tours and equipment rentals to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Wildlife and Nature Conservation

Bear River is home to diverse wildlife, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and various bird species. Visitors can enjoy wildlife spotting and photography opportunities while exploring the area’s trails and natural habitats. Conservation efforts are crucial to protecting this delicate ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles, such as properly disposing of waste, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife by maintaining a safe distance.

Family-Friendly Activities

In addition to rafting, Bear River offers a range of family-friendly activities. The Bear River Park features picnic areas, playgrounds, and easy walking trails suitable for children. Pack essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water when planning a family trip to Bear River.

Adventure Sports Beyond Rafting

For those seeking adventures beyond rafting, Bear River has plenty to offer. Rock climbing enthusiasts can test their skills at nearby crags. Serious anglers and general fishing enthusiasts can cast a line in the river’s pristine waters, hoping to catch a cutthroat trout or the extremely rare and elusive Bonneville cutthroat trout. Kayaking is another popular activity, with local rental services like Bear River Kayak providing equipment and guided tours.

Cultural and Historical Insights

Bear River has a rich history dating back to Colorado’s early mining days. Visitors can explore cultural landmarks and heritage sites to learn about the area’s mining and agricultural past.

Planning Your Visit to Bear River

When planning a visit to Bear River, several accommodation options are available, including camping or staying at local lodges and cabins. The area offers a variety of dining experiences, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants showcasing local cuisine. To make the most of your trip, consider visiting during summer and booking activities and accommodations in advance.


How can visitors contribute to the conservation efforts in Bear River?

Visitors can contribute to conservation efforts by practicing Leave No Trace principles, such as properly disposing of waste, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife. Additionally, visitors can support local conservation organizations through donations or volunteering.

What are the top outdoor activities in Bear River, Colorado?

The top outdoor activities in Bear River include rafting, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rock climbing, and kayaking. The area offers various adventures for all skill levels and interests.

Can beginners participate in rafting activities in Bear River?

Yes, beginners can participate in rafting activities in Bear River. Local rafting companies offer guided tours and equipment rentals suitable for all skill levels, including gentle floats for those new to the sport.

What are the best times of year to visit Bear River for outdoor activities?

The best times to visit Bear River for outdoor activities are during the summer, typically from June to September, when the weather is mild and ideal for enjoying the great outdoors.

Are there any family-friendly activities in Bear River?

Bear River offers family-friendly activities, such as picnicking and easy walking trails at Bear River Park, educational programs, and guided nature walks.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.