Experiencing the free-flowing Animas River is a treat in any capacity. From angling to, yes, even inner-tubing, those who connect with the unbridled magic of mountain-fed waters will undoubtedly feel that there’s something incomparably special about an undammed river. And how fortunate we are to have one of those, right here at home. Upstream of our humble valley, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the 26 miles of the Animas between Silverton and Rockwood are some of the finest lengths of flowing water anywhere in the US. As a friend recently put it, a trip down the Upper Animas during a hot mid-July day is a delicacy. Here’s a look:

The Animas River flows through an incredible section of the 488,210-acre Weminuche Wilderness.
Trying to remain upright in the throngs of No Name rapid.

Paddling the continuous, non-stop whitewater.

A nerve-calming breakfast at Needleton before a day of running rapids.