Rafting FAQ’s




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.
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.
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 swift-water rescue training and advanced first aid training.
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.
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.
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.
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 — Driving distance to the trip departure office — Departure times and return times — What class /level of trip? Mild – Class 2, Family adventure Moderate – Class 3, Exciting, but not overwhelming Extreme- Class 4 - 5 adrenaline pumping adventure!
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.
The Colorado whitewater rafting season runs from May through early September.
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. This trip leaves from our Buena Vista office. The Mild & Scenic trip is an excellent alternative for those wanting relaxing flat water, small scale rapids & beautiful mountain scenery. This is a great trip for families with small children. The trip leaves from our Buena Vista office. The Royal Gorge Section is a class 4+ section through an 1100′ deep Gorge that goes beneath the world’s highest suspension bridge. This trip leaves from our Canon City office. The Bighorn Sheep Canyon trip offers lots of exciting moderate level class 3 whitewater & spectacular scenery in the magnificent Royal Gorge area. This trip leaves from our Canyon City office.
The Blue River 1/2 day trip offers class 3 whitewater through beautiful alpine scenery. The season is from late May through early July and varies slightly from year to year based on water levels. This is the closest and most convenient rafting trip from Summit County and departs from our Frisco office.
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: Moderate 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 Moderate Class III-IV Recommended minimum age is 10 years old The Numbers Challenging Class IV-V Recommended minimum age is 16 Royal Gorge Challenging 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 Moderate Class III+ Recommended minimum age is 7 years old and at least 50 lbs. Colorado River Easy Class I – II Recommended minimum age is 4 years old and 30 lbs.
Check your trip of choice for meeting and departure times. Your meeting location and time will also be on your reservation confirmation. When in doubt, call us.
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.
If you are paying attention and listening to your guide, the chances of you falling out of the raft are slim. It is important that every guest pays close attention during the pre-trip safety talk in order to know what to do if you end up going for a swim.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you enjoyed your whitewater rafting experience chances are your raft guide had a lot to do with it. Guide gratuity is an industry standard and is very much appreciated.
On FULL DAY trips only a delicious buffet style lunch is provided along with a beverage. You may bring non-alcoholic canned beverages if desired. Usually our lunch consists of a buffet style sandwich spread with meats, cheeses, various veggies, chips, fruits and more. Lunch is enjoyed on our office patio or riverside. We are happy to accommodate allergy and food restrictions, please give our office a call to let us know.
If you don't like the weather in Colorado... wait 10 minutes! Trips are rarely cancelled due to weather. Whitewater splash jackets and wetsuit rentals are available. Temperatures are generally warm at the different river locations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.