Category: Blog

Tips for planning an early season raft trip in Colorado

Early Season Rafting Tips Colorado Rafting in May

Beat the crowds, scope wildlife & plan the best early season Colorado raft trip

Colorado’s rafting season officially kicks off around May 1, but the busy summer tourist season doesn’t start picking up until after Memorial Day. Seasoned whitewater rafting enthusiasts know that early season is the best time to be on the river. These early season rafting secrets will help you plan the best May raft trip in Colorado!

1. Less Crowds

Around Memorial Day, the crowds typically start to make their way to the mountains to celebrate summer. Shortly after that schools go on summer vacation and families will flock to the high country. Less people on the river means more peace and quiet time to soak up the wonderful sights and sounds of nature.

PC: Friends of Browns Canyon /

2. More Wildlife Activity

Animal lovers rejoice! Wildlife activity begins to increase in early summer and late spring. It’s not uncommon for guests to see mule deer, bighorn sheep, and some lucky paddlers might see the occasional elk while rafting in the early season. In fact, the Browns Canyon section of the Arkansas River was designated a National Monument in 2015 partly because of the abundant wildlife in the area.

3. Check the Forecast

Weather in Colorado varies minute-by-minute and sometimes mile-by-mile – especially in April and May! When it is raining or snowing in Summit County, it could be sunny and dry in Browns Canyon National Monument. If it’s damp in Buena Vista, it could be 75 and sunny in the Royal Gorge. If you’re worried about the forecast, give us a call. There are a few things we can do to make your early season experience more comfortable.

4. Get the Gear

High altitude rafting means our rivers are filled with snowmelt coming off some of the highest peaks in Colorado. In April and May, we recommend getting the gear to prepare for colder water and changing conditions. Opt for the wetsuit, splash jacket and bootie rentals. Bring additional layers made from quick-dry outdoor materials like wool, fleece, micro-fleece, polyester and waterproof layers. Guides can store your layers in dry-bags on the boats. It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

5. Have Fun!

Stoke level is at an all-time high in the early season, and our excitement is contagious. Rafting is fun in every season, at every water level, and on every river. Pack your sense of adventure, a great attitude, and jump in the boat with one of our professional whitewater guides.

Give the Gift of Adventure! 25% Off Gift Certificates

Rafting gift certificate

Save 25% on whitewater rafting gift certificate

Shared experiences create memories that will out-shine “stuff” any day of the week. Give your loved ones something to look forward to, talk about, and remember for years to come!

Performance Tours Rafting offers a variety of whitewater rafting and river float trips for all ages and abilities. We’ve been bringing guests on Colorado river adventures since 1986 and love to be the highlight of your summer.

Call 1-800-328-7238 to purchase a gift certificate



2018 Best Rafting Company

Best Rafting company in Breckenridge 2018 Best of summit

Performance Tours Rafting Named Best Rafting Company in Summit County

Best Rafting company in Breckenridge 2018 Best of summitThank you, thank you, thank you!

Readers of the Summit Daily and Summit County locals have spoken and named Performance Tours Rafting the best rafting company in Summit County for the 8th time. As Breckenridge’s first rafting company, we’ve been bringing guests down the river since 1986. We’re proud of our unsurpassed safety record, dedication to customer service, and decades of experience.

The Performance Tours family thanks you for voting us the #1 rafting company. We will continue to deliver the best whitewater rafting experience in Summit County.

What Our Guests Have to Say

It’s not just locals who love us, here are a few of our favorite TripAdvisor reviews from our 2018 guests.

“I have been to a few of the rafting companies in Buena Vista and I can honestly say Performance Tours is the best. I put overall experience above any other aspect when judging any place. Performance tours is a place where I can happily give a great review because I feel so comfortable with all the guides and workers there. They make sure that your experience with them that day (or half of a day) is worth it.” – Karyn (Denver, CO)

My husband and I were told to use this company by a local and they are amazing! We went on their half day royal gorge trip and it was the best part of our whole vacation. They are a small company and their guides are very knowledgeable. We only had one other couple with us while most of the rafts from other companies had 6 people. None of us fell in or got hurt but we did have to help 2 people who fell in from other companies. Our guides name was Benny and I would recommend him and the company to anyone who wants to have a safe and wonderful time rafting!” -Ashley (Owasso, OK)

“Hands down, best rafting company. I’ve done a lot of rafting in the Rockies over the years, and Performance is the absolute best. They’re fun, and most importantly they’re safe. All their guides are very experienced.” -Wallaby (Hermosa Beach, CA)

August Raft Trips

Rafting Browns Canyon August Rafting Adventures

August Raft Trips

A day on the river beats spending the day just about anywhere else. Sure, we love high water and big splashes just as much as the next rafting company, but in late summer when the river flows taper off, we shift our focus to sunshine, scenery and make the most of every moment on the river. Our favorite August raft trips take advantage of family-friendly flows and explore some of the most beautiful landscape Colorado has to offer.

August rafting trips, august raft trips near breckenridge

An August raft adventure in Lower Browns Canyon

Browns Canyon National Monument

There’s a reason Browns Canyon continues to be one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in North America. This section of the Arkansas River is truly fun at every water level, and one of our favorite August rafting trips at the PT office. There’s a great balance of class II and III rapids, breathtaking canyon scenery, and even a spot to jump into the Arkansas River for a quick dip! Browns Canyon was recently designated a National Monument, and we feel the best way to explore this area is a river tour with a professional guide.


Whitewater rafting in the Royal gorge. August Rafting trips, August Raft Trips near Breckenridge

Splashy fun on the Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge

If you’re looking for a river adrenaline rush this time of year, the Royal Gorge is the place to find it. Royal Gorge trips depart from our Cañon City office, about 2 hours south of Breckenridge and less than an hour from Colorado Springs. This section of the Arkansas River is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Colorado, and boats navigate class 4 rapids beneath towering canyon walls.  Our professional guides will share fun facts and knowledge about the area in between splashes while expertly navigating technical rapids.

Bighorn Sheep Canyon August Rafting Trips near Breckenridge, August Rafting near Colorado Springs

Family fun on Bighorn Sheep Canyon!

Bighorn Sheep Canyon

Bighorn Sheep Canyon, a.k.a. Parkdale, is the family-friendly section of the Arkansas River just north of the Royal Gorge. This time of year, guests can expect splashy class II-III rapids, warm temperatures,  plenty of sunshine, and the occasional bighorn sheep sighting. This section of river is home to Colorado’s largest herd of bighorn sheep and is an ideal whitewater rafting trip for beginners or first-timers.


Are you interested in booking one of our world class August raft trips with the most professional raft guides on the Arkansas River? Give our friendly and knowledgable reservation staff a call to reserve the best rafting adventure for you and your crew! 800.328.7238

Escape into the Mountains with 3 Denver Day Trips

Denver Day Trips

Summer in Denver means temperatures soar into the 90’s, often breaching the triple digit mark. When it gets uncomfortably warm, Coloradans know that escaping to the mountains is a surefire way to cool off and play outside. The best way to stay cool on a warm summer day is to spend it on the river, navigating rapids and soaking up splashes of whitewater. We’ve outlined a few of our favorite Denver day trips and hope they can bring you relief from the summer city heat.

Denver day trips

  1. Buena Vista, CO – A little more than two hours Southwest from Denver lies Colorado’s favorite riverside community, Buena Vista, CO. Buena Vista is on the shores of the Arkansas River and is home to one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in North America – Browns Canyon National Monument. This class 3+, middle-of-the-road rafting trip is perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Browns Canyon is a nice balance of exciting, moderate rapids and stunning canyon scenery.

Folks looking for more of an adrenaline rush (and more splash for your money!) will want to check-out the fast-paced class 4+ Numbers section of the Arkansas River.  If you’re more of a float trip kind of crew, or you have young children not suited for wild rapids, the Mild & Scenic section is the perfect day trip to raft and relax. All full day trips booked through Performance Tours Rafting include a delicious riverside lunch from a build-your-own sandwich bar.


Denver day trips

2. Cañon City, CO – Just two hours south of Denver and 50 minutes south of Colorado Springs you’ll find Cañon City. This delightful little river community has a ton of history and ample recreation in the legendary Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge  at it’s tallest point rises more than 1,200 ft and is one of the deepest canyons in Colorado. It’s also called the Grand Canyon of Colorado.

The best way to experience the Royal Gorge is through a whitewater rafting trip on the Arkansas River. This section of the Ark boasts a few bossy class 4-5 rapids that are sure to cool you down and keep you moving. If you love whitewater rafting adrenaline adventures, be sure to add this one to your bucket list. There are a lot of rafting companies in this area, but our local, family-owned-and-operated outfit stands apart from the rest. We recommend a full day trip through the Gorge, as it includes lunch and some of the best raft guide jokes this side of the Mississippi.

The more family-friendly rafting option in the Royal Gorge area is called Bighorn Sheep Canyon also known as Parkdale. This class 3+ section combines fun, splashy rapids with gorgeous scenery. Maximize your time on the river with a full day Bighorn Sheep Canyon trip that includes a riverside lunch.


3. Breckenridge, CO – Breckenridge is just an hour and half west from Denver, about 80 miles on i70, a familiar drive for most Front Rangers. There’s no shortage of recreational activities in Summit County, CO, nicknamed “Colorado’s playground” for good reason! Breckenridge is also where Performance Tours has called home since 1986. As Breckenridge’s first rafting company, PT knows the ins and outs of rafting and recreation in the area.

In early summer, the Blue River is an amazing option to cool off on the river with a quick but memorable class 3 raft trip. Once the summer begins to pick-up, the best rafting near Breckenridge is on the Arkansas River in Buena Vista.  If you’re staying in Summit County and don’t feel like making the drive to the river, Performance Tours offers the Summit Deluxe rafting package from Summit County that include lunch and transportation.

Rafting Bachelor Party

4 Reasons to have a Rafting Bachelor Party

Colorado has become a popular spot for bachelor parties, and for good reason. If you’re an outdoorsy crew, there is no shortage of recreational activities that will get your adrenaline pumping including whitewater rafting. Performance Tours Rafting brings MANY bachelor parties on the river every summer, so we know a thing or two about planning a rafting bachelor party.

1. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping

You’ll earn those beers on the Numbers! The Numbers has everything you need to add a bit of adventure to your trip: class 4+ rapids, lots of paddling, plenty of whitewater, and beautiful views. We’ll have you paddling as a team in no time on this 2 hr tour. Performance Tours offers morning and afternoon trip options for the half day Numbers trip. Lots of bachelor party crews also opt for the Numbers Full Day trip, which gives you twice as much time on the river and includes a riverside lunch. Looking for something more mellow, but still exciting? Check out the Browns Canyon National Monument trip!

2. Do Something Different

Spend a little time on the mountain! The last ‘fling before the ring’ should be memorable and adventurous – not tacky and predictable. Whitewater rafting is an activity that will please everyone (see #3) and help you earn that happy hour. Skip the stereotypical bachelor party experience and hit the river instead

3. Leave the Planning to the Pros

Traveling, accommodations, meals, etc. Planning for a group can be stressful. By the time you get to your destination, you likely won’t have the energy to put together a last minute activity for the boys. Give us a call and we can take care of all the details for you. We can even provide transportation from your hotel/ rental to and from the river if you prefer to kick back and let us do the driving. Seriously, planning rafting trip is what we do. Let us help!

Blue River Rafting Frisco4. Photographic Evidence

When the bride-to-be asks what you guys did for the bachelor party, you can show her the epic photos of your crew taking on some of the best whitewater rapids in Colorado. Instead of prying into the late-night activities, she’ll be begging to come back for a rafting trip of her own! Our professional whitewater photographers are great at capturing the spirit of the boat, and bachelor parties tend to have a lot of.. spirit!

Shop Today & Raft Tomorrow!

Earn a $20 rafting voucher for every $100 spent at the Outlets at Silverthorne

Performance Tours Rafting and the Silverthorne Outlets are giving summer shoppers another reason to smile! For every $100 spent at the Silverthorne Outlets, shoppers can earn $20 towards a whitewater rafting trip with Performance Tours Rafting. 

From June 15 – August 15, Silverthorne shoppers can bring their same-day receipts to the Colorado Welcome Center on Rainbow Drive to redeem. Vouchers may be combined with up to $40 worth of vouchers per person for a full day adult-rate Arkansas River trip or $20 per person off an Arkansas or Blue River half day trip.

For more information on this summit county rafting special visit the Welcome Center at 246 V Rainbow Drive

Some restrictions apply.

Offer valid while supplies last.

May be combined with up to $40 worth of vouchers per person for a full day adult-rate Arkansas River trip or $20 per person off an Arkansas or Blue River half day trip.

May not be combined with other offers or discounts.

May not be redeemed June 30 – July 4

Voucher expires September 1, 2018.

Not redeemable for cash.

The Blue River is Back for a Short Season!

Rafting near Breckenridge

The Blue River is back for a short season!

We had word from the Waterboard today that the Blue River will have raft-able flows through Thursday, June 7. Performance Tours Rafting will be booking Blue River trips from Saturday, June 2 – Thursday June 7. The Denver Waterboard will reevaluate flows after June 7 to determine if we can continue rafting that section.

Performance Tours Rafting has 3 trips departing daily from our Frisco office at 9am, 12pm and 3pm. Trips are $68 for adults and $63 for children (7 yrs & up!).

The Blue River begins at Hoosier Pass, a few miles south of Breckenridge, and runs north through Summit County. It flows into Lake Dillon before being released to Green Mountain Reservoir. The section between Lake Dillon and Green Mountain Reservoir is the only commercially rafted stretch of the Blue River, and is just minutes from Summit County.

The ability to raft The Blue River is entirely dependent on snowpack and the volume of water held in Lake Dillon. Each year, we cross our fingers and hope that we’ll be able to paddle this incredible section of river.

Book Online or Call now to jump in the boat! 800.328.7238


Forecast of strong Arkansas River flows for summer season

August Rafting Adventures near Breckenridge

Whitewater rafting outfitters and enthusiasts have plenty of splash to look forward to this upcoming rafting season. The Arkansas River, one of the most popular whitewater destinations in America, is expected to deliver top-notch rafting conditions this summer.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) released its May forecast regarding the availability of water for the Arkansas River Voluntary Flow Management Program and projected a minimum of 10,000 acre feet of water will be available for recreational purposes. The Voluntary Flow Management program helps maintain flows of at least 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) from July 1 to Aug. 15, the peak of the summer vacation season. A minimum flow of 700 cfs guarantees fun flows, with plenty of splash for thrill-seekers and families alike.

“This is great news after a winter where much of the state experienced lower-than-average snowfall and snowpack,” said Rob White, park manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA).

Browns Canyon Rafting Colorado Family Rafting

Rafting through Browns Canyon National Monument in Buena Vista, CO with Performance Tours Rafting.

“Luckily, the Upper Arkansas River Valley and the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project area received some of the best snow in the state. This means there should be plenty of water for rafters, kayakers, anglers and all the people who enjoy the Arkansas River,” White said. “It should be a great summer on the river.”

The source of the Arkansas River begins 11,000 ft above sea level on the east side of Freemont Pass and flows about 50 miles south from its source to reach Buena Vista, CO. In 2017, more than 225,000 guests experienced the mild-to-wild rapids that stretch the length of the Upper Arkansas. Many of these guests were brought with Performance Tours Rafting, one of the largest and most experienced outfitters in Chaffee County.

Family-friendly float trip on the Mild & Scenic stretch of the Arkansas River.

Performance Tours Rafting, Breckenridge’s first rafting company, began in 1986 by Kevin and Mary Jo Foley. To this day, the Foley’s can be seen running day-to-day operations in one of our four offices and escaping to the river as often as possible. Though a lot has evolved in the past 32 years, a few things will never change; Our dedication to safety, pride in our crew and our love for the river.

Performance Tours Rafting offers a variety of rafting adventures, including half day, full day and overnight options in Buena Vista, CO. Beginning May 1, 2018, Performance Tours Rafting operates daily trips through the family-friendly class 3+ rapids of Browns Canyon National Monument, the ‘Mild & Scenic’ family float, and the adrenaline pumping class 4+ Numbers section on the Arkansas River.

As spring temperatures increase, snow begins to melt and the Arkansas River rises, creating optimal conditions for whitewater rafting. We hope you join us for what is sure to be the highlight of your summer!

Moms Raft for Free with PT

Moms Raft Free on Mother’s Day 2018

Make memories together this Mother’s Day with a Browns Canyon whitewater raft trip or a Mild & Scenic family float.

Moms raft for free when accompanied by two other family members or guests. If it’s just the two of you, we’ll extend a special two-for-one deal.

This offer is valid for Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018 only and may not be combined with other offers.

Give our office a call and mention this mother’s day special today!