Intent on immersing people in the local scenic beauty, certified river-rafting guides at Colorado River Runs navigate fellow nature lovers over whitewater zips, bumps, and baubles for safe and exciting adventures. Sightseers witness the awesome scenery of canyon overlooks, vistas of Gore Range, or the sprawling greenery of Vail Valley as their ultradurable Avon rafts cascade down the river. With absolute safety as their highest priority, guides wrap each participant in a Coast Guard–approved life jacket, spray on trout repellent, and provide thorough safety briefings before leading passengers down the less raucous, family-friendly currents of the Colorado River. Licensed by the state of Colorado and boasting a spotless safety record, the team operates under special-use-permits granted them by the Bureau of Land Management.
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 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.
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.
At CKS - Colorado Kayak Supply, staff members boast years of experience paddling Colorado’s nearby waterways. This savvy means they not only help clients hone in on an ideal kayak or paddleboard for their paddling plans, but can point out prime high alpine lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams that flow within a short drive from the store front. Novice paddlers may be directed toward local lakes or Buena Vista Whitewater Park, with its Class II whitewater rapids and dozens of eddies; more seasoned paddlers track renegade rubber duckies in the Class III–IV whitewaters that course through Browns Canyon.
Whether issuing orders over the sound of roaring rapids or getting soaked by jets of errant river spray, the guides at River Runners all share a common thought: this sure beats sitting in an office. For more than 40 years, they’ve ferried passengers down the Arkansas River on jaunts into Bighorn Sheep Canyon’s class III and IV rapids or the challenging class IV and V rapids churning throughout The Numbers. They also explore the waterways running through the 2,000-foot-deep canyons in Dinosaur National Monument, breezing down the Utah River on one-day jaunts or arguing about whether or not T. rexes could feel love during a five-day exploration of the Yampa River.