I spoke with a good friend of mine over the weekend who said water levels are peaking on the Arkansas River right now and the rafting is awesome!  He is a guide for Lakota Guides, one of the most reputable rafting companies in the Vail Valley.  The Arkansas River is just one of the rivers available for rafting in the area and has a wide variety of trips.  He guided the Numbers section this weekend which is rated Class IV on a scale of I - V.  For a more moderate, but still exciting trip, you can raft Brown's Canyon (Class III) which is south of the Numbers.  For the truly extreme, the Pine Creek/ Granite section is Class V.  Trips on the Arkansas River take most of the day because travel time is about 90 minutes one-way.  The time spent is well worth it and the tour operators will provide all of your gear, transportation to and from, and yummy food - usually a riverside lunch.  If you really don't have that much time, there are some trips closer to home that only take a half day.  Give our concierge at Lodge at Lionshead a call if you want suggestions.  Our staff has rafted almost every commercial stretch out there, so we can give you a true first-person account of the experience and tell you about our favorites!