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Colorado Whitewater Rafting Adventures

News and Events

Idaho Springs zip-line in the spotlight

Sept. 20, 2012

Denver CBS Channel 4’s reporter Justin McHeffey “strapped in for dear life” and zipped around our high ropes course in Idaho Springs this week. His reaction? “Man that’ll blow your hair back!”

McHeffey, who is guided by Josh Manley, mentions our new nighttime trips — zipping after dark — and talks about how our course will stay open through the fall and into winter, “Unless it’s snowing sideways.” Check out his experience, we’d love to have you on the course, which is easily accessed just off I-70 and only 35 minutes from downtown Denver.

Idaho Springs zip-line course opens at night

Aug. 27, 2012

Are you afraid of the dark? Most people would say they’re not, until they’re standing on a 65-foot-high wooden platform, contemplating a leap onto a zip-line that disappears into the clear night sky beyond.

Colorado Adventure Center knows how to up the fun factor when it comes to outdoor recreation, and we’ve done it again with the addition of nighttime zip-lining on our five-tower course in Idaho Springs.

For many who have already experienced the thrill of leaping into the void of fresh air and flying over treetops on a high-wire course, doing it at night is the next level of challenge.

“There’s something about adventuring at night, when your vision is diminished and your hearing and sense of motion take over that makes it that much more thrilling,” said John Cantamessa, co-owner of Colorado Adventure Center and Vice President of Activity Operations for the company.

“When I zip during the day I check my safety equipment once, but in the dark I find myself checking three and four times,” Cantamessa continued. “There’s just a bit of uncertainty a night; you can hear the pitch of the cables zinging around you and feel the tower sway with the breeze. It’s a real thrill.”

Colorado Adventure Center opened its Idaho Springs zip-line course in May. It’s one of the state’s highest and longest courses that crosses rushing Clear Creek three times.

Nighttime trips on the same course — 8 towers in all with nearly a mile of zipping — started this month. Along with standard safety equipment, participants wear headlamps at night with both red and white lights to help them navigate the course. Subtle ground lighting is also installed to facilitate movement, but there are no bright lights to ruin the mood.

The company is the first in Colorado to offer night zipping, both sunset trips as well as those completely after dark.

“Some outfitters around the country have been offering night zipping, and we think it’s a great fit for our product,” Cantamessa said. “It’s a tough trip that not everyone can do, depending on the layout of the zipline. Because we have tower zips, we can light them and our walkways to make it easier to move around in the dark.”

Course guides receive advanced training specifically in nighttime zipping operations.

Offered Thursday through Saturday nights, the zip-line course is a great choice for a date or a group of friends or coworkers to unwind after work. It’s also completely appropriate for children who meet minimum height and weight restrictions.

Our wooden zip-line towers were built by North Carolina-based Challenge Design Innovations on 10 river- and highway-front acres just west of town. To zip from tower to tower, participants attach their harness to a pulley that is mounted on steel cables, using the force of gravity to move. But the technical description does not describe the fun part — the absolute thrill of soaring through the treetops and screaming with delight!

With offices located right inside the historic Argo Gold Mine and Mill in Idaho Springs, we have shared thrilling outdoor adventures with guests for years. Join us for yet another great Colorado adventure by calling 800-808-0357 to make your reservation today! We can’t wait to take to the skies with you!

Outfitter offers Tips to enjoy Colorado’s rivers during a low-water season

July 31, 2012

One of Colorado’s best summer activities is getting out on its beautiful rivers, but the statewide drought has lowered water levels and spurred talk of a “bad” rafting season.

The situation potentially causes visitors to miss out on the fun but with just a bit of information, it’s easy to plan and execute a great river adventure this season, according to John Cantamessa, owner of Colorado Adventure Center and vice president of activity operations. The long-time Colorado river outfitter offers the following tips to help visitors plan a great river adventure:

Tip 1: Choose your location

There is still enough water for a fun rafting experience in most of the state’s popular areas. Some rivers flow for rafting activities all year, but visitors should be willing to travel farther to get to the river.

“Obviously we’re in one of the worst drought years on record for the state of Colorado and it has affected water flows,” Cantamessa said. “So while people are still having fun and rafting is still going on, visitors have to be a little more diligent in how they find the right raft trip.”

Consider the Colorado River near Glenwood Springs, which offers higher flows due to energy needs at the nearby Shoshone Power Plant. The section is fun, splashy and perfect for first-time rafters and families. Adventurous paddlers should look to Gore Canyon on the Colorado River.

Tip 2: Adjust your expectations

Rivers are a great way to explore some of Colorado’s most beautiful backcountry that’s not accessible by car, bike or foot. And that’s reason enough to be out on the water for a day.

“If you’re going to raft on the Arkansas River or Clear Creek, realize it’s less of a whitewater rafting trip and more of a river trip,” Cantamessa said. “It’s still fun, you still get out in the canyons, still get to enjoy the Colorado sunshine, still get a chance to spot wildlife but don’t expect high-adrenaline whitewater this year.”

The river is a great place to appreciate time with family and friends that’s not interrupted by modern technology. It’s an opportunity slow down and enjoy the state’s unsurpassed natural beauty.

Try stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, a fun new way to enjoy Colorado’s whitewater rivers.

Tip 3: Choose your watercraft

A low water year is a good time to consider upping the ante by choosing an adventurous watercraft. Standard raft sizes run 14 feet in length, but Cantamessa suggested smaller options to increase the excitement level. Rent an inflatable kayak or try a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). These surfboard-style boards really challenge balance so gentle river flows are best for beginners.

Most importantly, visitors should keep their minds open to adventure on the rivers, Cantamessa said.

“People may have heard there’s no more rafting, that the water’s all gone but that’s not true,” he said. “There are good, positive experiences out there for everyone.”

Call Colorado Adventure Center today to find out where you and your family can plan a Colorado river adventure, 800-808-0357.

Summit Pedals and Paddles

A very popular bike and raft combination convenient to Vail and Summit County! This incredible package lets you experience the great outdoors in Colorado at a great savings!  We’ll shuttle you to the top of Vail Pass at an elevation of 10,666 ft. then let you go to enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery and abundant wildlife on your peaceful ride downhill. Next part of your adventure includes some of the best whitewater in Colorado on either a Clear Creek or Blue River half day raft trip. A very full day of fun or spread it out over two . . . your choice. Vail Pass Downhill Bike Tour & Blue River or Clear Creek Half-day Raft Trip

  • Cost: $75 per person

Book Your Trip

This trip requires special booking attention, please call us at: 1.877.947.7238 to book your adventure!

Colorado Adventure Center expands again

Coming off our exciting new zip-line course that opened in Idaho Springs over the Memorial Day weekend, Colorado Adventure Center expanded again this month with new bike tours and other services from our Vail location.

Come see us in Lionshead in the heart of Vail at our new location in the Double Diamond ski shop. Let us fit you into one of these rides then shuttle you to the top of Vail Pass — it's all downhill from there!

We’re now offering bike rentals and a low-cost Vail Pass shuttle service from the Double Diamond ski shop in the Lionshead village, right in the heart of Vail. This location is in between our rental shops in Glenwood Springs and Breckenridge, allowing our guests to make adventure plans no matter where they’re staying along the I-70 corridor in the central part of Colorado. There are more than 100 miles of paved path for you to enjoy between all three locations, with endless side trips, picnic spots and eateries in the quaint mountain towns along the way.

Come see us in Vail, where for only $35 you can rent a comfortable bike designed for bike path travel. We’ll fit you into the correct ride and helmet, which is included with all bike rentals. Then we’ll shuttle you in our 23-passenger people mover to the top of 10,666-foot Vail Pass, where we’ll unload the bikes and let you pedal downhill.

It’s 15 miles from the top of the pass, through scenic East Vail and along the Eagle River to Vail Village and Lionshead. Take as long as you like — it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon with the family!

Try the Vail Special from Lionshead, zip lining over the Colorado River and whitewater rafting in one day, with a free ride and lunch. Have a great day with us!

Also from our new Vail location, we are offering a Zip & Raft Special that allows you to zoom over the Colorado River in beautiful Glenwood Canyon on our zipline course, try our High Adventure Ropes Course and then go whitewater rafting on the Shoshone section of the Colorado River. Transportation to and from Lionshead, plus a freshly prepared lunch at our river-side No Name Bar & Grill are included for $115. This Combo Trip is one of our most popular. Glenwood Canyon Resort’s zipline and rafting basecamp are less than an hour away from Vail, situated in a majestic canyon along the river.

The day begins early as we meet at 9 a.m. in Lionshead. We’ll drive you to Glenwood Canyon Resort, where you’ll gear up for your zipline adventure. Lunch is served on our spacious outdoor deck, then we switch things up into paddling gear and hit the Colorado River for some whitewater action. Hot showers and changing rooms are available after your day of fun, or relax with a cool beer at the bar and and enjoy live music before it’s time to head home. The day ends back in Vail at about 6 p.m.

Come take to the trails, skies and whitewater with us!

If you’re staying in Vail this summer, please stop by and say hello to Tim and Caitlin, your hosts in Lionshead, or give us a call at 800-808-0357 for details or to book one of these Vail adventures.

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