Rafting FAQ’s

Rafting FAQ’s

Are Rafting companies licensed?
All commercial rafting outfitters are licensed by the State of Colorado, and all guides must undergo an extensive training program and fulfill requirements set forth by the state. All guides are also required to have CPR and first aid certification.



How long has Performance Tours been in business?

Performance Tours Rafting was established in 1986. Kevin and Mary Foley are the owners and have been since 1986. Prior to Performance Tours, Kevin was a manager for a large rafting company from 1981-1985.



How experienced are the guides?
We take great pride in the guide staff at Performance Tours, and our excellent safety record. Our guides are highly skilled professionals with years of combined experience and are truly some of the best in the business. All guides have undergone an extensive training program that well exceeds the state’s requirements. We have a low guide turnover rate from year to year, resulting in a crew with one of the highest average years of experience anywhere. Many of our guides have additional certifications such as swiftwater rescue training and advanced first aid training.


Why should I choose Performance Tours for my rafting adventure ?
Experience. We are one of the larger and most experienced rafting outfitters in the state. We currently host approximately 16,000 rafting guests per season. We have taken over 490,000 people rafting since 1986, with enough river miles to circle the earth over 350 times ! Our company goal is to provide the highest quality trip available at competitive prices, and we have one of the best safety records in the business. We are active members of several professional trade organizations including the Colorado River Outfitters Association, the Arkansas River Outfitters Association, and America Outdoors, helping to set the highest of standards for rafting outfitters in the state. We have a very high percentage rate of return guests every year who were completely satisfied with their whitewater experience with Performance Tours.


Are there many injuries?

In any outdoor adventure activity involving risk and inherent dangers there is always the possibility of injury. We take many precautions to minimize the risk, resulting in very few minor injuries each season. There is a low potential for injury on our mild to moderate trips. The potential for injury would increase with the level of difficulty of the trip. We give a very informative river orientation/safety talk prior to each trip that familiarizes the guests with some of the potential risks.



What if it’s my first time – What if I can’t swim?

We have a wide range of trips suitable for all ages and levels of experience. We take non swimmers on several of our trips. We also provide mandatory life jackets. The life jackets are designed to keep your head above water in the event that you end up outside of the raft.



How do I choose the best trip for myself or my group?

Call our office and let our reservation assistants help you determine which trip would be the most appropriate for you or your group.
Consider the following when planning your trip.
— The age range and ability level of the group.
— The physical condition of the group members (for the more difficult class trips)
— The length of the trip: 1/2 day, Full day, Multi-Day What class /level of trip?
Mild – Family adventure
Moderate – Exciting, but not overwhelming
Extreme- Class V adventure

Do you want to participate?
We offer paddle boats where everyone participates, oar boats where the guide solely navigates the raft, or paddle assist which is a combination of the two where the guide rows, and the crew paddles intermittently.

Driving distance to the trip departure office

Departure times and return times



Description of the rivers

The Arkansas River is considered to be one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the world, offering everything from family adventure trips to extreme whitewater trips.

The Brown’s Canyon section offers class 3-4 whitewater amidst spectacular mountain and desert scenery, and is the most popular raft trip in the country.

The Royal Gorge Section is a class 4+ section through an 1100′ deep Gorge that goes beneath the world’s highest suspension bridge. There are other whitewater trips ranging from class II- V available on the Arkansas River, as well as Multi-Day trips.

The season runs from May through early September. We have Arkansas river offices in Buena Vista and Canon City/Royal Gorge.

Blue River: The Blue river 1/2 day trip offers class 3 whitewater through beautiful alpine scenery. The season is from late May through early July ( varies slightly from year to year ). This trip departs from our Frisco office.

Colorado River: Great family trip. Class 1-2 whitewater ,( small rapids ), through Canyon scenery .Season runs May through early Sept.



Can children go rafting?

The age restrictions for the different rivers are based on the degree of difficulty, and are as follows:
(these guidelines can be found on your trip of choice as well. When in doubt, call us!)

Arkansas River:
Mild and Scenic
Class I-II
Recommended minimum age is 4 years old and 30 lbs.

Brown’s Canyon:
Class III-IV
Recommended minimum age is 7 years old and at least 50 pounds. Exceptions are made when the water levels subside. We may also adjust upward during above average flow rates.

The Narrows
Class III-IV
Recommended minimum age is 10 years old

The Numbers
Class IV-V
Recommended minimum age is 16

Royal Gorge
Class IV – V
Recommended minimum age is 16. The minimum age will vary with conditions. We will adjust the ages downward to 14 years old with lower flow rates.

Blue River
Class III+
Recommended minimum age is 7 years old and at least 50 lbs.

Colorado River
Class I – II
Recommended minimum age is 4 years old and 30 lbs.



When and where do we meet?


Check your trip of choice for meeting and departure times. When in doubt, call us.


Are lifejackets provided ?

Yes. We provide the highest quality Coast Guard approved lifejackets available.We require that they are worn at all times while on the river.We have lifejackets to fit almost any size individual.



What are the chances of falling out of the raft?
If you are paying attention and listening to your guide, the chances of falling out are fairly remote.



Is there a guide on each raft?

Yes. Each raft has a highly qualified guide on board. Each guide has undergone an extensive training and certification program.The Performance Tours, Inc. training program exceeds the requirements set forth by the State of Colorado and the U.S. Gov’t.



What should I wear / bring ?

Wear comfortable, quick drying clothing ( swimsuit, shorts), and protective footgear ( sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet ).We also recommend sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and a fleece or performance fabric shirt on cooler days. We have wetsuits, booties, and whitewater splash jackets available for rent. Dry storage bags are provided for small items, such as sunscreen, and sweaters. We recommend bringing a dry change of clothes for after the trip.



Where do we change clothes?

Performance Tours has changing rooms at all of our full service conveniently located offices, featuring indoor restrooms, rental departments, retail shops…etc. Our facilities are clean & comfortable and help to make your experience the best that it can be.



Do I need to bring extra money?
We recommend bringing money for any souvenirs, t-shirts, photos of your trip, etc… that you may wish to purchase. If you have an enjoyable trip a guide gratuity is also appropriate.



Is lunch provided?

A delicious buffet style lunch is provided on all full day trips, along with a beverage. You may bring non-alcoholic canned beverages if desired.



Do you go in the event of rain?

Trips are rarely cancelled due to weather. Whitewater splash jackets and wetsuit rentals are available. Temperatures are generally warm at the different river locations.



When is rafting the most exciting?

Our season runs from Late April through mid September. The water levels for rafting are generally very good through mid to late August due to a flow program on the Arkansas River that provides a minimum flow for rafting. Peak runoff ( high water ) is in late May through June, and the water levels gradually subside throughout the course of the summer. The flows will vary from year to year based on snowpack and weather.



Does everyone paddle?

We offer the choice of paddle boats (group participation), oar boats (guide solely navigates the raft), and a combination of the two. Recommended minimum paddle age is 12


Are reservations required?

Advance reservations are strongly recommended to ensure the trip of your choice. Last minute reservations and walk-ins are welcome on a space available basis.

Group reservations: The office contacts for large group reservations will be Kevin, Maryjo, Ellen, or Julie. If they are not available when you call, the reservationist you are speaking with can assist you. Call our office for group rates (10 or more people) and special quotes.

We reserve the right to alter your scheduled trip if river conditions prevent us from running certain sections. Minimum ages may vary with changing river conditions.



Is a deposit required?

Yes. A 50 % deposit is required to guarantee space & can be made by phone with a credit card, by sending a check or by stopping by one of our offices.



Cancellation/Refund Policy

Trip Cancellation Protection: An optional 8 % trip cancellation coverage fee will be added to your trip cost when reserving your trip, enabling you to cancel up until 6:00 p.m. on the eve of your trip, and receive a full refund, less a $10/pp administrative fee. All cancellations must be made by phone with one of our guest service representatives. If you choose to opt out of the coverage, our normal cancellation policy will apply (see policy below).

Cancellation Policy: You can change or cancel your trip up until 7 days prior to your scheduled reservation and receive a full refund, less a $10.00/pp administrative fee. Cancellations made within 7 days, and up until 3 days before your trip, will be refunded 50% of the trip cost. Cancellations made within 3 days of your trip are non – refundable. Our raft trips go out every day of the summer regardless of weather conditions, which means there are no cancellations due to weather. All no shows are responsible for payment in full.

We reserve the right to alter your scheduled trip if river conditions prevent us from running certain sections. Minimum ages may vary with changing river conditions.



How do I get back to my car?


Performance Tours will provide transportation from the meeting location/office to the river, and back to the office where your vehicle is parked following the trip.

Arkansas River
3/4 Day trip: Transportation to the Arkansas river office is available from some resort areas on specific trips. Guests are encouraged to use their own transportation. Directions are clearly outlined on the back of our brochure.

Arkansas River
Half-Day trip: We can arrange transportation for groups to the Arkansas river from some resort areas through a local transportation company for an additional fee ( market rate ).

Blue River

Transport to and from the river is provided from our Frisco office.



Licensed by The State Of Colorado. Operating under permit by the White River National Forest. All or part of this operation is conducted on public lands under a special permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Members: Colorado River Outfitters Association, Arkansas River Outfitters Association, and America Outdoors. Equal Opportunity Employer.



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