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.
The whitewater rafting wizards and zip-line zealots at Royal Gorge safely chaperone brave outdoorsmen and women along rushing rapids and adrenaline-fueled zip-line courses. With at least four years of experience buckled behind their life preservers, expert guides provide knowledge and know-how to novice and seasoned rafters. Half-day rafting trips depart daily at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for 10-mile adventures down liquid-filled crevices lined with 1,200-feet-tall cliff faces and underneath one of the world's highest suspension bridges. Paddlers discipline class-three, -four, and -five currents for tormenting their self-bailing vessels and gossiping about them to babbling brooks. Royal Gorge provides wetsuits, helmets, life jackets, splash-jackets, and river boots for safe trips downstream, as well as a safety kayaker to help rafts through intense stretches and keep an eye out for creekside tollbooths.
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.
Stretches of the Arkansas River churn differently as it snakes northwestward through the Rockies. There are Class I rapids throughout, Class III rapids at Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and turbulent Class V rapids at Pine Creek. The experienced guides from Browns Canyon Rafting lead half-day voyages through them all. On overnight trips, they also prepare meals for guests in addition to traversing the waters and reenacting scenes from Mutiny on the Bounty. For solo sailing, the company offers kayak and paddleboard rentals.