This Article originally appeared in the whattodo blog, “Top 10 Trivia & Tips for Rafting in Colorado”.
TOP 10 TRIVIA & TIPS FOR RAFTING IN COLORADO
- Colorado is one of only two “headwater” states in the U.S., meaning all rivers flow out of the state while none flow in. The other is Hawaii. Plus, the Arkansas River is the most popular commercially rafted river in the United States. Two prime reasons to come to Colorado for a rafting trip – or fit one in while you’re here.
- All commercial rafting outfitters are licensed by the State of Colorado. These guys and gals know what they’re doing! All river raft guides go through a rigorous state-required guide certification program. Performance Tours exceeds the State of Colorado’s requirements for guides by doubling the minimum number of training hours.
- There are almost always lots of trip options for all ages and ability levels on a variety of Colorado’s most spectacular rivers. You’ll want to consider the skill level and interest of everyone in your trip when you make your reservation. If you group has drastically different preferences (i.e. one person wants whitewater and one person wants a relaxing float to take pictures), you might consider splitting the group up, which is often an option with a rafting company that offers many trips.
- Trips vary in length from 1 hour to 5 days. Pick a duration that suits your group. If you get fidgety sitting still or being wet for more than a couple hours, you might not want to sign up for a full day.
- Guests have the option of participating by paddling, having the guide row everyone in an oar boat, or going in a “paddle assist” boat which is a combination of the two. Consider the physical capability of participants, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself! Isn’t that why you’re doing it?
- Flows on the rivers are highest during the snowmelt season in June and will gradually decrease throughout the summer. What that usually means is earlier = more exciting.
- Even if it’s hot out, you might want a wetsuit! The temperature of the river is coldest in June and will warm up as the river levels subside and air temperatures warm the water. Almost everyone wears wetsuits, booties and splash jackets during the early season “high water” part of the summer – much of the river was snow only a short time ago!
- Everyone must wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device to participate, so even “non swimmers” can enjoy a trip on most mild to moderate sections of river.
- Wondering what to wear? Performance Tours recommends wearing comfortable, quick drying clothing. Dress like you are going to the beach or pool and avoid wearing cotton since it does not insulate when wet. Protective footwear is required and can be an old pair of sneakers, sandals with retention straps, or “wetshoes”. Crocs and flip flops are not allowed since they would fall off of your feet if you ended up in the river.
- What to bring? Always recommended: a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses (with a retention strap). A dry outfit to put on after the trip is over is also a good idea. (Don’t bring it in the raft, though!)