Lyle Phetteplace fell in love with the outdoors and his home state of Colorado at an early age. Today, he runs Renaissance Adventure Guides so he can pursue his passion and allow others to experience adventure, too. The excursions he curates include hiking, kayaking, climbing, backpacking, and even sea kayaking, a skill beginners hone on the lakes of Colorado before moving on to distant ocean destinations, such as Costa Rica. Lyle and his team also design guided travel tours of the country, which presents excellent terrain for hiking, backpacking, and other activities.
The staff at Renaissance Adventure Guides believe outdoor adventures can bring people closer to their fellow participants and to the environment, so they treat each experience differently. They customize adventures to suit the abilities and goals of their customers, while also keeping groups at a manageable size so everyone receives personal attention and a unique, secret high-five. Because safety is always at the forefront of any expedition, they also offer avalanche training with instructors qualified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Additionally, they pass along their love of exploring to children through kids camps filled with days paddling the river.
According to United Airlines' Hemispheres magazine, three perfect days in Denver aren't complete without fly-fishing with Golden River Sports. Writer Rachel Sturtz was quite satisfied with her four-hour lesson, which isn't surprising, considering the the company's sterling reputation with sportsmen of all ability levels. The company's willingness to engage every clients comes from the experiences of instructors like Nick Adler, a self-taught fly fisherman who would have been grateful for guidance from a more experienced angler.
In that spirit, he and his fellow teachers offer four-part fly-fishing lessons, which begin with an introduction to fishing styles and equipment, and follow all the way through to advanced casting and how to read the water. Fly-tying clinics help out total beginners, guided trips take learning fishermen out to various creeks and rivers, and rentals allow schooled sportsmen to embark on their own adventures. An on-site store is loaded with all necessary equipment and accessories and gear for fly fishing and fly tying, including hooks, fly boxes, and a library of DVDs including fly-tying videos and each fish's favorite romantic comedy.
Paddles slice through churning waters, keeping rafts on their course down Clear Creek as it cuts through the Denver Mountain Parks . At the base of the red crags of Gore Canyon, the white-capped water of the Colorado River foretells rafters’ trips through daunting class IV and V rapids. Elsewhere, guests make like protoplasmic coat hangers as they zipline over the scenery of Idaho Springs.
But rafting trips and zipline tours are just the beginning. Arkansas Valley Adventures leads all kinds of expeditions through Colorado’s mountains and valleys, tossing in ATVs, hot air balloons, helicopters, horses, and fishing rods with the paddles and ziplines. While flying down the Eagle River explorers will have plenty of chances to get in touch with their rugged side and ask ancient rock faces whether the paleo diet is an apt reflection of the habits of early humans.
With diverse backgrounds ranging from studying extraterrestrial fluvial geomorphology to being born in the jungle of Chitwan National Forest in Nepal, American Adventure Expeditions’ certified guides shepherd rafters of all experience levels down sections of the Arkansas River, navigating rapids of varying intensity and trip lengths. Half-day, full-day, and overnight trips plunge into world-class runs such as The Numbers, an advanced route with powerful Class IV rapids gushing through tight passages and down steep drops, or the more family-friendly Class II and III waters found within Brown’s Canyon for mild bumps and splashing contests with ill-tempered salmon.
Guides also pair up aquatic excursions with other extreme thrills such as mountain biking and zipline tours for combo adventures, or skip the water entirely during land-based adventures such as the Royal Gorge Route Railroad train tour. Additionally, two outposts sit along the river, and offer snacks, restrooms, and picnic areas.
From May to September, experienced guides at Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting lead tour groups of all levels down the crashing waters of the Arkansas River. As paddlers pass through the picturesque crags of Brown’s Canyon, Royal Gorge, and Wild Horse Canyon, they navigate rapids ranging from gentle splashes to powerful whirlpools, depending on the trip. Families with small kids can relax and admire wildlife as they float down Milk Run, and the class IV and V rapids in the Numbers section of Brown's Canyon challenge more experienced groups. Full-day or overnight expeditions include meals much heartier than standard outdoor fare: paddlers feast on USDA-approved top sirloin steak, a Buffalo Joe’s signature touch.
Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting also takes water skimmers on inflatable-kayak tours of the river and organizes private, guided fishing trips for fishermen hoping to catch an old boot to match the one they have.
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.