5 Questions to Ask Yourself While Planning a Whitewater Rafting Trip

5 Questions to Ask Yourself While Planning a Whitewater Rafting Trip

By: Alison Stevens

Colorado is home to many excellent sections of rivers for rafting. Along with that comes many companies with the ability to take you down river. If you’re like me sometimes the number of trips they offer can tend to be a little overwhelming. So instead of stressing I have come up with a checklist that will help you pick the perfect trip for you and your family! It consists of 5 easy questions to ask yourself while researching what kind of trip you want to go on.

1.) Where am I staying in Colorado?

2.) What intensity of rafting am I looking for?

3.) What are the ages of everyone in my group?

4.) Am I renting a car/transportation?

5.) Am I looking for any additional activities besides rafting?

1. Where am I staying in Colorado? 

Colorado is a huge state consisting of 18 major rafting rivers. That is a whole lot of options for where you would like to raft! Figuring out where you are staying helps narrow down your options. With AVA they offer trips on EIGHT different rivers! Their top outpost in Buena Vista does have cabins available for rent. But otherwise you will need to make some sort of commute from where you are staying. Renting a car helps immensely with this travel.

Overnight Rafting Trips

2. What intensity of rafting am I looking for? 

Rafting in Colorado comes in many different forms. Ranging from a float trip to very technical and advanced trips. Finding the perfect trip for your group is ideal. The rafting trips are broken down into different Classes. Starting at Class I (less difficult) to Class V (most difficult). When identifying different classes keep this in mind:

Class I: Moving water with a few small waves. Few or not obstructions.

Class II: Easy rapids with smaller waves, clear channels that are obvious without scouting. Some maneuvering might be required.

Class III: Rapids with high, irregular waves. Narrow passages that often require precise maneuvering.

Class IV: Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require complex maneuvering in turbulent water. The course may be hard to determine and counting is necessary.

Class V: Extremely difficult, long and very violent rapids. Upper limit for commercial rafting.

3. What is the age of everyone in my group? 

Once you identify what level of intensity fits best for your group. Make sure to check age requirements. For class IV and over there is a minimum age of 15 years old. For all other trips the age minimum is 6 years old.

4. Are we I renting a car/do we need transportation? 

It is okay if you are not planning on driving. You can get custom transportation for your rafting trip or pick a trip closer to the location that you are staying in.

5.) Am I looking for any additional activities besides rafting?

Depending on where you decide to go rafting there are other activities such as Zip Lining, hiking, and UTV rentals. If you are sure you want to do multiple events then it may be smart to pick your rafting location based on the other activities they have to offer.

Now that we have gone over the checklist list lets see some examples of how it can help you find the perfect trip!

1. Anna is staying in Denver with her 4 friends. All ages 20+ and are strong swimmers. They are renting a car and looking to enjoy as much of Colorado as they can. Only one person in their group has been rafting before, but they are a physically fit and looking for something semi adventurous.

RECOMMENDATION: Browns Canyon ½ Day OR Browns Canyon Express

WHY?: These trips are both in Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River. Buena Vista is a beautiful part of Colorado located 2.5 hours from Denver. You not only get some great class II-III rapids you also get the beautiful views of the Collegiate Peaks! They will get to enjoy the most beautiful drive and can stay for a half day or fill their trip with adventures in the Arkansas River Valley!

2. Robert is coming into Breckenridge with his family of 7. His children ranger from the ages of 4 years old to 13 years old. He is looking to stay as close to Breckenridge as possible but still make sure his older children have a great time!

RECMMENDATION: Full Day Float Trip on the Upper Colorado

WHY?: The age requirement for The Upper Colorado Trip is only 2 years and up (30 lb. weight minimum) Located in Kremmling Colorado this location is a nice 45 minute drive from Breckenridge. Don’t be fooled by the age minimum. This trip is great for people of all ages. There are a few Class II and Class III rapids. There is also a section of the river that you are able to pull off to the side and cliff jump if the water level permits it.

No matter what trip you pick for your group you will have a fantastic time going with Arkansas Valley Adventures. If you would like some help tailoring your perfect rafting trip remember the checklist! Or give AVA a call at 970-423-7031 and have one of their great team members customize a trip for you!