Do We Go Rafting If It's Raining?

The weather in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is very unpredictable and varies from mile to mile and minute to minute. Colorado averages over 300 days of sunshine a year. The odds are, the weather will be good. We run our Colorado whitewater rafting trips in all weather conditions, rain or shine, and have gear available to help keep you comfortable, even in the worst conditions. Wetsuits, neoprene booties, and splash tops can really make a big difference and make your trip a pleasurable one. Don’t forget, you’re going to get wet rafting, even on the sunniest of days. Weather is not a cause for cancellation.

Do You Need to Know How to Swim?

Nope! Except for advanced and expert trips, you can go white water rafting even if you can’t swim. Each person will be fitted with a Type-V Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (life jacket) to be worn while on the river at all times. This life jacket is designed to float the wearer on his/her back with his/her head out of the water. Guests are instructed on the proper use of this life jacket in a safety orientation talk before departure. It does help to have some knowledge of swimming, especially in some of the more aggressive sections.

How Do I Find You?

We have a beautiful new basecamp facility and boathouse in Idaho Springs/Dumont right off of I-70 where we’ll meet, get you checked in, geared up, and introduce you to your guide. We provide location and directions in our reservation confirmation letter to you when you reserve your trip. Then, we take care of everything else, including transportation between the river and the basecamp. We are located at 2697 Stanley Road, Idaho Springs, CO 80452. You may call our office at 877-947-7238 for more specific directions to our basecamp.

How Safe Is It?

All our guides go through extensive river training, basic first aid, CPR, and are certified by the state of Colorado. While anyone can fall out of the boat at any time, keep in mind that your chances of falling out of the raft do increase when rafting in a paddle boat and on more challenging sections of river. Rafting is an adventure sport and involves a degree of risk on the part of the participant. Although we take precautions to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip, we cannot be responsible for lost or damaged articles and/or personal injury. We require you to acknowledge these risks by reading and signing a liability release prior to departure. All children under the age of 18 must have signed release form from a parent or guardian. It is important for the group to choose a trip within their entire group’s limits. Read our Customer Responsibility Policy for more information.

What About the Altitude?

Altitude sickness can be a problem, especially for people coming to the mountains from sea level. To prevent altitude sickness, stay hydrated by drinking extra amounts of water, and stay away from alcohol and caffeine. Altitude sickness can be serious. You may experience an upset stomach, headaches, dizziness, or shortness of breath — please inform your guide so they are aware of your symptoms and can begin treatment as soon as possible.

Should We Tip Our Guide?

Our guides make a base wage similar to a bartender or wait person. General guidelines for tipping would be the same as for a bartender or a waitperson (~20%). Please do not feel obligated to tip, but if you do believe in tipping, and the guide has proven to do a great job, it is a nice way to express your appreciation, but only if you feel you had a safe, fun, and informative experience. If you did not have a pleasurable and adequate experience, we would appreciate it if you would please bring it to the attention of our management. Feedback and letters from our guests are greatly appreciated and helps us maintain the highest standard of customer service and appreciation.

What Should We Wear?

You are going to get wet, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Avoid cotton clothing, as it tends to get wet and stay wet – not to mention taking valuable warmth from your body’s surface. Bathing suits and shorts are recommended. Your best bet is loose, woven materials such as wool, polypro, fleece, micro fleece, polyester, waterproof jackets, and any other outdoor material that dries fast. Staying dry, or at least drying off fast, is the key to staying warm. Towels don’t do you much good because there is no way to keep them dry. There is limited space on the rafts, so you should limit what you bring to what you can wear. We provide wetsuits and have booties, gloves and splash tops available for rent. This equipment is designed to keep you warm and comfortable. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) and helmets are included with all rafting adventures. On some Colorado whitewater rafting trips, wetsuits are recommended and on others, wetsuits are required. This is to help keep you warm, comfortable and protected on your white water rafting trip.

What Should We Bring?

Bring a few towels to leave in your car; you’ll be happy to have something to dry off with after whitewater rafting. Bring a change of dry clothes to leave in your car; our basecamps offer changing rooms so you can be comfortable after your Colorado raft adventure. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, sunglass straps and hats that protect from the sun. If you forget, our basecamps offer these items in the retail areas where our whitewater rafting trips meet. Bring water for pre-rafting and post-rafting hydration. Remember, you’re in the Colorado Rockies, and it’s important to stay hydrated! We also suggest bringing cash to tip your guide. Check out our “10 Tips for White Water Rafting Beginners” for more information!

When Is the Best Time of the Year to Go Rafting?

This depends on what you’re interested in. If big, exciting water is what your group is looking for, then high-water season is the best time. June is traditionally high-water season. When rivers run at their peak, it can make for a big ride. Keep in mind some sections may close due to high water conditions. Most people enjoy normal run off-season, which is mid-June to early August. The water stays consistent and the days tend to be sunny and warm with the occasional afternoon rain shower. Water levels and weather are very unpredictable, so book a date that best suits the group and be prepared for the unexpected.

What is the payment and cancellation policy?

We require full payment at the time of reservation and our cancellation policy differs, depending on whether or not you have purchased Trip Insurance. We highly recommend purchasing Trip Insurance, as it allows you the flexibility you many need. Please click here to review our cancellation policy.


River and rapid classifications is another great way to determine the suitable age for a river trip for your group. Remember that classification can change with weather and water conditions.

  • Beginner = first timers, young children
  • Intermediate = aggressive first timers, teens
  • Advanced = experienced paddlers looking for an adventure
  • Expert = very experienced paddlers only

This River Rapids Class Rating System is strictly a subjective scale. You can characterize a rapid by class or give a general class to a whole river even though it has several different classes of rapids within it. The class of a rapid or river can change at different water levels. The temperature of the water, the air temperature, the remoteness of the river, and the difficulty of a rescue can all influence the rapid’s class.

  • Class I – Easy. Small riffles. No significant waves or obstacles.
  • Class II – Novice. Moderate rapids with regular waves, small drops, clear passages and wide channels. Occasional maneuvering may be required.
  • Class III – Intermediate. Moderately difficult rapids with larger irregular waves, often narrow channels. Complex maneuvering to avoid obstacles required.
  • Class IV – Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids requiring precise maneuvering in fast, turbulent water. Complex channels with many significant obstacles to be avoided.
  • Class V – Expert. Extremely long violent or obstructed rapids, often following each other almost without interruption. Drops may have large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with difficult routes. Steep gradient.
  • Class VI – Unrunnable.

Classifications of river sections may change due to water levels. For information to help you choose a trip, or for any questions you might have please, call 1-877-947-7238 and our office personnel will be happy to assist you in putting together a river experience. Or, send us a message.

Cold weather gear is recommended and may be mandatory for some river adventures. Cold weather gear is not only for your comfort but also for your safety. Because of cold water and rocky river bottoms, wetsuits, footwear, and splash tops make a big difference. If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry; cold weather gear is available at all basecamp locations for a small rental fee.

Do you charge taxes? What are your permit and booking fees?

We do not charge taxes on our services because we are not required to by law. We are, however, required to pay numerous fees to many local, regional and state organizations, including but not limited to the City of Idaho Springs, Clear Creek County, Division of Oil and Public Safety (OPS), Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Department of Revenue and our property owner.

In addition to those fees, our booking software and credit card fees charge a large percentage of each transaction. When weather cancels events, we eat this cost. If weather is not the cancellation reason, however, we must charge the customer to recoup that cost.

In addition, we are a voluntary member of numerous local, state and national organizations that offer regulatory and strategic support to us as an outfitter. These membership costs are not included in our fees but they do provide additional layers of safety and professionalism that not all outfitters adhere to but we are committed to following. These include: Colorado River Outfitter’s Association (CROA), America Outdoors (AO), Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) and more.

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