Although North Platte outfitters promote the river as an intermediate-level raft trip, the narrow Northgate Canyon's steep gradient and boulder-strewn channels contain significant whitewater during the late spring and early summer. Several Class III-IV rapids, such as Windy Hole, the Narrows, and Stovepipe, can be very challenging to paddle rafters.
The North Platte's rafting season begins after the snowmelt, when outfitter vehicles can reach the 8,000‑foot elevation Routt Access put‑in, and normally lasts until mid‑July. While outfitters run two-day raft trips through the canyon from the Routt Access near Walden to Bennett Peak in the Medicine Bow National Forest near Saratoga, Wyoming, a shorter 14‑mile (22 km), one‑day trip is the most popular. As the mountain waters mellow near the end of the rafting season, some outfitters offer leisurely float trips through the Routt and Medicine Bow national forests in southern Wyoming.