Class I: Slow, flat, moving water. Few, if any, obstacles.
Class II: A bit quicker current. Small waves and maybe easily avoidable obstacles.
Class III: Fast, moving current. Large waves with some obstacles involved in successful navigation. Playful "holes". Well-defined lines, or routes. Typically there is ample recovery time after the rapid.
Class IV: Bigger, more powerful waves. Big "holes" sometimes best avoided. Many obstacles and confusing lines or routes, which may be complicated by powerful waves pushing you "off line". Excellent equipment and skills required. Recovery time, but usually not much.
Class V: Huge, irregular waves and must miss "holes". One line, if that, stay on it. Extremely technical and difficult. Expert skills required. Rescue or recovery difficult at best.
Class VI: Generally considered to be not navigable.
Adventure Outfitters is one mile west of Canon City, Colorado on U.S. Highway 50. We are about 2 hours south of Denver and 1 hour southwest of Colorado Springs. We are about 40 minutes west of I-25 in Pueblo. Visit our Getting Here Page for driving instructions. Our office is easy to find.
Safety is paramount at Adventure Outfitters. We are fully licensed by the State of Colorado and hold an operating agreement (permit) from the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. The AHRA are the "river rangers" and our regulating body. They can be reached by calling 719 539 7289 during normal business hours. They are very familiar with our company and hold us in very high regard. We employ only professionals to guide our trips. The experience level of our guides at Adventure Outfitters far exceed the standards set by the State of Colorado and those of most other rafting companies on the river. Our seasoned guide staff are THE REASON we continue to boast of an excellent safety record. Several of our guides have in excess of twenty years of professional river experience. Our guides are experts in the Royal Gorge section of the river. River rafting is the carrer choice of many on our staff. River guides in the Royal Gorge take several years to become proficient enough to take commercial river rafting passengers. "Gorge" guides are the most skilled river rafting guides in Colorado. You simply cannot find a crew more worthy of your trust than our guides at Adventure Outfitters. All have been fully trained in First Aid, CPR and river rescue techniques. Most have credentials that exceed those required by law.
Overall, injuries are rare. Yes, people do fall out occasionally. We often tell people that if you listen to your guide and can follow instructions, you're not likely to fall in the river. Paying attention. That is the key to a safe adventure. Another key consideration is the type of trip you plan to undertake. As in skiing, all runs are not created equal. Different water levels can dramatically change the level of difficulty. Don't get in over your head, ask questions when you call our office and be honest with us and with yourself when we ask you questions. Always factor in the person in your group with the LEAST experience and/or ability, such as children or seniors. As with any activity which involves the outdoors and some level of participation, there are inherent risks involved. While we make every attempt necessary to minimize your risk exposure, the risks simply cannot be eliminated due to the very nature of rafting and the dynamics of the river. Our guides will instruct you on what to expect and what is expected of you, the best thing you can do to enhance your safety is to listen and follow instructions. A detailed "safety speech" and trip orientation is given to all participants before your raft trip.
Our reservation lines are answered 7 days a week year-round - from 8 AM to 8 PM Mountain Time. While advance reservations are strongly recommended, we also take walk-ins on a space available basis. Weekends in June are typically the first days to book up and any day from July 4th weekend to mid-August is likely to be busy.
To reserve your trip we require a 50% deposit at the time of booking and the balance is due at least 72 hours prior to your trip.
Questions you should be prepared to answer when you call to make a reservation are: What date do you wish to go? How many people are in your group? What trip do you want to reserve? Some trips have more than one departure time. Do you prefer morning or afternoon? Are there kids going and what are the ages?
YOU WILL RECEIVE A FULL REFUND IF YOU CANCEL AT LEAST 10 DAYS PRIOR TO THE TIME AND DATE OF YOUR TRIP LESS A $10 PER PERSON, PER DAY CANCELLATION FEE. IF YOU CANCEL BETWEEN 10 DAYS AND 72 HOURS PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP DEPARTURE YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO LOSE YOUR 50% DEPOSIT. ANY CANCELLATION LESS THAN 72 HOURS PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP DEPARTURE TIME & DATE WILL BE CHARGED THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE TRIP. THIS APPLIES TO "NO SHOWS" AT CHECK-IN TIME OR THOSE WHO MAY BE LATE AND MISS THEIR TRIP DEPARTURE.
KEEP IN MIND THAT ONCE YOU RESERVE YOUR TRIP WITH A 50% DEPOSIT, YOU WILL BE CHARGED THE REMAINING BALANCE 72 HOURS PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP DEPARTURE DATE & TIME. AT THIS POINT THERE IS NO LONGER AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A REFUND OF ANY KIND. WE RUN OUR TRIPS ON TIME AND REGARDLESS OF WEATHER CONDITIONS. ANY CANCELLATION DUE TO THE WEATHER OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL ARE SUBJECT TO THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE TRIP.
You will be the most comfortable in things that dry quickly. If the weather is warm, and that is most typical, dress to get wet. Swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts are fine. Appropriate footwear is a must. Old pair of tennis shoes or the Teva-type sport sandals (the guides favorite footwear) is best. If it is expected to be a cool day, rule number one is COTTON IS WRONG! Wool socks or no socks is best. A wool sweater or fleece jacket is good to have along on any raft trip. We offer a complete line of clean wetsuits, spray jackets and river boots in our office for a nominal rental fee. Again, expect to get wet!
If you wear glasses or plan to wear sunglasses, a retaining strap such as a chums or croakies is the key to still owning your glasses at the end of the day. Only waterproof cameras are recommended. A water bottle is nice to have along. These items are available to purchase in our office. Sunscreen and/or a hat are also good to have. Don't forget your spirit of adventure.
First of all, our office is open year-round and reservations and inquiries can be made 7 days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM mountain time. Adventure Outfitters is open and running trips seasonally from mid-April through Labor Day, sometimes well into September, depending on river flows. The "peak" runoff period, or high water, occurs sometime between late May and late June, typically. The more snow in the mountains, the later the peak.
The river is the busiest from late June to mid August or so. Therefore, the best time to do an overnight trip is earlier in the season. (No crowds). July and August promise the warmest weather. If planning a half-day trip, mornings are generally less crowded and the sun is most likely to be shining. Afternoon trips, while usually warmer, are more likely to see a bit of rain and the possibility of a thunderstorm.
We do NOT cancel trips due to the weather or other circumstances which are beyond our control. Early season can be cool, but the climate in Canon City and the immediate area is considered to be the mildest in the State. A friend of mine refers to Canon City as "Palm Springs, Colorado." Mid-summer highs often top 90 or even 100 degrees here.
If you are planning a trip in the Royal Gorge or something other than our beginner level trips we strongly recommend you have the ability to swim and that participants are physically capable of getting themselves back to the raft or to shore in the event you become what we call a "swimmer". Trips in the Royal Gorge, especially at "high water" are considered adventure class rafting and the risk of falling overboard or a capsized raft is real. We do offer trips for novices and those who do not swim.
Please visit www.waorafting.com and click on our family trips page for information on trips which are appropriate for kids and the less adventurous. We also can accommodate special needs to a certain degree. Let our friendly staff in the office know of any special needs, requests or requirements when you call and we will do everything within our resources to accommodate you. We also appreciate knowing about any medical conditions or dietary intolerances, particularly on full day or overnight trips in which we provide meals.
While we do offer trips for the entire family, and over half the groups we take involve kids, there are limits to what is considered acceptable and safe. On our beginner or family class trips we take young children, but they must weigh at least 45 lbs. Please visit www.waorafting.com and click on our family trips page if you are planning a beginner trip or one that involves kids under 13.
The size restrictions are due to the proper fitting of a PFD, or lifejacket, that all participants must wear while on the river. The biggest people we can safely fit in a PFD have a chest size of about 55 inches. Folks larger than 300 pounds should reconsider going on a raft trip. Due to our permit and the fact that we operate in a Colorado State Park, as well as our insurance requirements, we are only allowed to use our own equipment for commercial customers. Sorry, but you cannot wear your own PFD.
At Adventure Outfitters, unlike many other companies, our guides are expert at both full participation (paddle boats) and oarboats. A paddleboat is where everyone is a participant and are reliant mostly upon themselves to get down the river. There is a guide aboard with you, but they act as instructors more than navigators. Paddleboats are for people who can effectively paddle as part of a team. Teamwork is key with this popular method of rafting. Paddling is an all or nothing option, if you have someone in your group who is not a willing and/or capable paddler the better option is an oarboat. Kids younger than 14 aren't often effective as paddlers. Our general rule is kids must be as big as a paddle to participate on a paddle boat. Paddles are 5' tall.
An oarboat is where the guide rows the boat and your primary responsibility is to hang on and enjoy. Oarboats often have two paddlers in the front helping at critical times, so it can be arranged where some participate and others don't. The actual boat itself is the same as a paddleboat, just rigged, or equipped, differently. The guide is in as complete control as is possible with this method. This is the preferred, and usually required, option for families with young children. It is also very popular with the "nervous novice." Either method can be requested in advance, but your guide makes the final call. These options are discussed at check-in time in our office to make sure there isn't a misunderstanding and that you are on the most appropriate type of trip. At extremely high water on a difficult section, oarboats may become mandatory. Our guides are experts in the Royal Gorge section of the river. River rafting is the career choice of many of our staff. River rafting guides in the Royal Gorge take several years to become proficient enough to take commercial river rafting customers. "Gorge" guides are the most skilled river rafting guides in Colorado.
Yes, a professional photography company shoots photos of all our boats on every trip. These photos will be made available for viewing and purchase at the end of your trip upon your return to our office. We offer digital imaging and your photos can be purchased on a CD. Our photographers, Arkansas Valley Digital Imaging (AVDI), provides quality work and offers excellent customer service.
We operate in a Colorado State Park and are mandated to collect a user fee in order for the Park to operate. We also access private land and/or vehicles at times and pay fees according to levels of use and impact. Wetsuits, spray jackets and river boots are available in our office for a small rental fee. There are photos taken of each boat on every trip and those will be made available for viewing and purchase at the end of your trip. We also have a small retail store with drinks, snacks, T-shirts, hats, waterproof cameras, glasses retainers and other sundry items.
Sure. We try to be as flexible as possible by offering launch times that differ from our normal schedule; Trips not listed on our websites or in our brochure or even extended multi-day trips. We can add lunch to a half-day trip for an extra charge of $7 per person. Menus can accommodate special dietary needs or intolerances. We can split a group so some can simultaneously participate in an advanced trip while others enjoy calmer water. Visit our Combo Trips page to plan a complete vacation in the area inclusive of lodging and other fun activities such as the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park or the Royal Gorge route scenic railway.