The outdoors enthusiasts at Rock-N-Row lead rafting trips beneath the 1,100-foot walls of Royal Gorge and fly-fishing excursions in Bighorn Sheep Canyon so visitors of all fitness levels can experience the playground that is Colorado. In addition to rafting and fishing, Rock-N-Row's team plans outings that range from trail riding through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to rock climbing. Organizers also coordinate adventure combos to pack in more awe-inspiring moments and opportunities to show off extreme knot-tying skills. Seeing to clients' safety, Rock-N-Row's guides run daily equipment checks, and also claim certifications in CPR and first aid.
Surrounded by lush alpine scenery and rushing rivers banked by boulders, brush, and thicket, rafters ride the rapids during Performance Tours' half-day, full-day, and multi-day trips. The company requires their guides to complete training beyond the state's requirements, ensuring a crew with exceptional rafting prowess in addition to a special affinity for the Arkansas, Clear Creek, Blue, and Colorado Rivers. During tours, groups take in the scenery, spotting wildlife including bighorn sheep, while navigating river regions with names such as "Devil's Punchbowl". Now with more than 25 years' experience taming the bucking local waterways, the team can craft experiences ideal for families and rookie rafters, as well as the seasoned boater looking for a challenge and an impressive story to tell their salmon buddies.
The highest suspension bridge in America straddles the Royal Gorge as patrons gaze out across sweeping vistas from an aerial tramway, a steep railway, and a Skycoaster ride. Jaws drop on the bridge, a National Register of Historic Places structure that dangles above millions of years' worth of rock layers to delight amateur geologists like a volcano full of candy. Guests cruise 1,178 feet above the canyon base during the aerial tram ride and learn about the Native Americans who hunted and camped in the region. Granite walls tower above the incline railway, a conveyance built in 1931 that carries the adventurous on a 45-degree trip to the bottom of the canyon, where visitors feel cool river spray without insulting a trout. The one-hour terrain trail ride carries riders into Royal Gorge country on mule back to ogle mountain-range panoramas, and the Royal Rush Skycoaster plunges gleefully screaming guests in free fall at up to 50 miles per hour before dangling them over the canyon's lip. Park-goers romp through a variety of other attractions, including the plaza theater, a historical display, and a wildlife park.
While navigating a range of rapids on stretches of the Arkansas River, the certified guides at Canyon Marine Whitewater tailor trips according to the desires of their passengers. Vessels laden with veteran rafters and adrenaline junkies ride the basso roar of waters across Class IV rapids with intimidating names such as Raft Ripper, and younger crews drift through calmer stretches and avoid the parts of the woods where the animals know cuss words. In sleek, six-person rafts or smaller inflatable boats, the guides point out wildlife and other sites across the dusky emerald waters. On multiple-day trips, guides show participants how to camp in the wilderness and cook meals over a campfire or on the engine of a grizzly bear’s Camaro. Instructors and guides also teach others their craft through guide-training programs, ensuring students can one day navigate local rivers with their own license.
Located next door to the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility?an operational prison built in 1871?Museum of Colorado Prisons houses no inmates within its walls. Instead, the former Women's Correctional Facility now contains 30-plus cells, each transformed into exhibits covering more than 140 years of the state's incarceration history. Along with in-depth profiles of notorious prisoners of the likes of Alfred Packer, who was infamously convicted of cannibalism, the museum homes in on aspects of prison life throughout the decades. Displays encompass everything from confiscated contraband to inmate arts and crafts, including many watercolors of contraband that prisoners were feeling wistful about. Besides daily audio of self-guided tours, the museum invites visitors to occasional events every year, such as nighttime ghost-hunting expeditions.
The USPA-rated instructors at Out of the Blue Skydiving have jumped out of perfectly good airplanes countless times, and give adventurous newcomers the guidance and confidence they need to try it, too. During tandem jumps, students are strapped to their instructors after a 10-minute comprehensive ground lesson. Following take-off, planes ascend to 12,000 ft. agl., at which point the door opens and the tandem free fall begins. The center also happily welcomes experienced jumpers, providing them with the rides and equipment they need to get an adrenaline fix.