9 Whitewater Rafting Tips for a Great Colorado Trip

Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting Tips

Whitewater rafting season arrives in Colorado every spring. When it rains and snows a lot in April and May or if we have a quick warm-up in the spring, Mother Nature will provide an early start to the whitewater season. Otherwise, rafting season usually ramps up in June near Breckenridge. Here are nine whitewater rafting tips to help you make your next trip a success.
  1. Rafting Tips: Pick the Appropriate Trip for Your Group

    Think about everyone in your group. First, choose the appropriate difficulty level. Considerations should include physical fitness, swimming ability, age, rafting experience, and desired challenge. Next, choose the best length of trip. Choices include half-day, ¾-day, full-day, and multi-day trips, the latter of which you raft consecutive days while camping. Finally, consider where you want to raft based on its proximity, the quality of the trip, and the week you are going; some trips are better than others based on changing water levels. TAC Rafting Tip 1

    Trips Can Be Mild or Wild, Depending on the Group's Ability

  2. Rafting Tips: What do Water Levels Mean, and How Do They Affect Rafting

    In Colorado, the water in our rivers comes from melting snow. Typically, rivers are low in May before the runoff. Starting around the middle of May, our rivers usually begin to rise and come to a peak in early June. Then, they gradually drop until the end of August, when it may become too low to raft. Contrary to many people’s assumptions, higher water levels do not necessarily lead to more difficult rapids; each section of the river is different.
  3. Rafting Tips: Choose the Right Outfitter

    The quality of the equipment, the number of years the outfitter has been in business, the experience of its guides, the location of its facility, and the variety of trips offered are all important. Ask about these when you call an outfitter, and consider the quality of its operation based on its features and by reading reviews on sites such as Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. You can learn a lot from previous guests. TAC Rafting Tip 2

    There are numerous rafting outfitters in Summit Couty and surrounding regions.

  4. Rafting Tips: Decide When to Raft

    Which summer month you choose will dictate the water level. Many trips are only available at certain water levels. Some trips may be unavailable at high water while others are at their best. At low water, only some trips may be possible. If you choose a half-day trip, the morning will typically provide the best weather. TAC Rafting Tip 3

    Plan for all scenarios, and ask your rafting company what you should bring.

  5. Rafting Tips: Be Prepared - You'll Have More Fun!

    Wear quick-drying clothes such as nylon shorts, synthetic fleece or wool, and shoes or sandals with a heel strap. You may want to bring sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses with a strap, waterproof cameras, drinking water, hats, and a change of clothes with a jacket in case it’s chilly at the end of the trip. Most good outfitters will have these items available for purchase before your trip and wetsuit gear available when needed. Don’t wear flip-flops or Crocs, and try to minimize wearing cotton clothing; it makes you colder when wet. Don’t bring valuables on the river.
  6. Rafting Tips: Know What to Expect

    Can I sit and hold on? Most beginner and intermediate rafting trips allow passengers to sit and hold on while the guide uses oars to control the raft, or you can paddle with the crew in response to your guide’s commands. Advanced and expert raft trips require all passengers to paddle well to maneuver the boat as a team in response to your guide’s paddle commands.
  7. Rafting FAQ: Can I Bring My Child?

    The rafting industry has evolved to become much more family-friendly. Nowadays, you can find beginner raft trips appropriate for kids as young as two years old. These will be shorter and include a few splashes, but will mostly be a calm cruise while enjoying the scenery. TAC Rafting Tip 4

    There are many kid-friendly rafting trips near Breckenridge.

  8. Rafting FAQ: Where is the Best Rafting in Breckenridge?

    There are several excellent rafting options within an hour’s drive of Breckenridge, and they vary greatly. Most people choose America’s most popular river for whitewater rafting, the Arkansas River, about one hour from Breckenridge. It is widely considered the best river in the state. The Arkansas offers tons of whitewater, incredible scenery, trips for all abilities, and a warm climate.
  9. Insider's Tip: What Most Guides/Outfitters Won't Tell You!

    While a lot of emphasis is placed on the choice of the trip based on your group’s ability level, your guide is the most significant factor in a great trip. An experienced guide can effortlessly make your trip memorable as it relates to sharing interesting local information, running the best parts of the rapid instead of skirting the biggest splashes, and helping everyone feel comfortable. Most importantly, their ability to avoid problems or react well if problems occur is the best way to minimize the inherent risk involved in whitewater rafting. If you enjoy your whitewater rafting experience, a gratuity for your guide is always appreciated. Choose your Colorado whitewater rafting trip carefully and enjoy some of the world’s best rafting.

About the author

Mark Hammer owns The Adventure Company (TAC), founded in Breckenridge in 1987. TAC offers the best rafting in the Breckenridge area and unique, top-quality amenities. http://www.theadventurecompany.com 719-395-6494 Visit The Adventure Company on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for photos, videos and updates on whitewater rafting in Colorado.

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