Whitewater Blog Category: Blog
Extending nearly 1,450 miles and winding through 11 of the United State’s national parks, the Colorado River is the Southwest’s solitary major river. For those eagerly planning their Colorado white water rafting trips, here’s some information to help you choose the best type of river rafting trip for you.
This trip along the Lower Animas is ideal for families and larger-sized groups. It’s also appropriate for children four years of age and older.
On the Lower Animas ride, you’ll go through smaller Class II rapids along the way, and there’s a large rapid called Smelter at Santa Rita Park. Depending upon the height of the water at this point, it may be necessary to walk small children around this rapid. After passing Smelter, you’ll enjoy uninterrupted small-sized rapids and lovely views of majestic cottonwood trees and flourishing vegetation.
If you’re in the mood for a more adventurous trip, complete with spectacular scenery, the Upper Animas Raft ‘n’ Rail (“Middle-Upper) is what you’re looking for. This trip is more suitable for those who are at least moderately fit, and prior river rafting experience is recommended.
The adventure takes you to the San Juan National Forest of Southwest Colorado. Because there is no road access here, you’ll hop aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway and ride through the majority of the Animas River Gorge. The water portion of the trip begins with the Broken Bridge rapid. Lots of additional Class III and Class IV rapids are right behind this one, and there are also some smoother sections of river and stops at historic landmarks. During May and early June, the high water season brings cooler temperatures along with large, wild rapids. The temperatures are typically warmer and the rapids are calmer in late July and August.
Adrenaline seekers, hold on to your hats! White water rafting trips like this are geared toward individuals having above-average levels of fitness and endurance, previous experience with white water rafting, and proficient swimming skills. This is particularly important during May and early June, because it’s likely that you’ll portage at least one of the rapids. This means that you must have the ability to assist with carrying the boat. Based on the flows or the participants’ skill and fitness levels, 4 Corners Whitewater reserves the right to transfer individuals to a Middle-Upper rafting trip.
This wild one-day ride runs over 25 miles of Class III, Class IV, and Class IV rapids. You’ll also travel through the San Juan National Forest and have breathtaking views of nearby mountain peaks measuring 14,000 feet. Then comes the Class V Tenmile rapid, the No Name Rapid, and the Broken Ridge rapid. Depending on the flow, and on how high your level of craziness is, you can also add the Rockwood Box, making this an ultra-marathon to remember!
Armed with this information about white water rafting trips, you, your family, and friends can plan an exciting Colorado river rafting vacation that suits all of you perfectly.
2019 is going to be an incredible year for rafting in Durango! We are already at 100% of snowpack for the year and still have 2 more months to reach our historic peak snowpack totals. This is a far cry from last winter where we only received 50% of historical snowpack. What does this mean?? ….Huge splashes and long season for an Animas rafting .
With all this snow the San Juan Mountains have seen a ton of avalanche activity. Here’s photo I took in Telluride on Febuary 23. I just happened to be at the right place at the right to see this avalanche occur. This is the headwaters of our San Miguel river trips. Luckily I was a safe distance away.
Stay tuned for more updates as the the river season approaches.
If you’re visiting the Southwest United States for the first time, there are countless opportunities to have fun. In fact, adrenaline seekers from far and wide can’t help but visit Colorado for the best in thrills, sights, and outdoor activities.
If you’re visiting the Southwest for the first time, don’t hesitate to try these wild activities to get your blood pumping.
Sightseeing should be on the top of your itinerary when you visit the beautiful Southwest. With an abundance of mountains, deserts, and forests, opting for a zipline tour is fun for the whole family.
There’s no beating the pristine beauty of the Southwest. If you’re looking for the perfect family trip but still hope to get a rush of adrenaline, a zipline course cannot be beaten.
2. ATV tours
A guided ATV tour is the perfect combination of excitement and intrigue when you hope to explore the Southwest. Get down and dirty with expert instructors who can lead you on some of the toughest courses around. Traverse hills, valleys, and discover the natural beauty of the Southwest on well-kept ATV trails.
This activity might seem like a boring car ride, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As you navigate rough terrain, this highly physical activity will burn calories as you pivot and persevere through the trail. You’ll also get a healthy dose of adrenaline as you ride, ridding your body of toxic stress in the process. Just be sure to stop and snap a few photos between the rushes of fun.
3. White water rafting
White water rafting trips are one of the most satisfying experiences you can hope to have in the Southwest. Not only are raft trips exciting, but they will also provide a harrowing challenge to overcome. It will make you feel on top of the world when you’re done, especially if you’ve never engaged in whitewater rafting along the Durango River.
Choose among the six classes of difficulty to get the most out of your white water rafting experience. This highly-active sport is one of the best vacation activities for experienced thrill-seekers.
Are you looking to experience the beauty and fun of the Southwest? Contact Rafting Durango for the best in ATV rentals, Colorado white water rafting trips, and ziplining around. We have activities for the whole family to enjoy. Contact us for more information today.
Colorado offers a great many outdoor activities for the discerning sportsman or woman. The soaring peaks provide ideal skiing and snowboarding conditions; the thick forests supply ample opportunity for hikes of all sizes and lengths (not to mention the numerous zipline courses and zipline tours that carry you through the treetops); and the state’s 158 rivers offer whitewater rafting trips to delight and challenge adrenaline seekers of all experience levels.
Whitewater rafting is a favorite in the Centennial State. Depending on what you’re looking for (a simple float or a thrilling adventure) you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Here are the top five rivers to go whitewater rafting on in the state of Colorado.
- Colorado River: Unsurprisingly, the Colorado River is the state’s favorite and most famous river. Extending approximately 1,450 miles, it stretches through seven different states (and two more in Mexico) in addition to crossing through 11 national parks — you can just imagine the views.
- Arkansas River: The versatility of this river attracts many people to it. It has every class of difficulty — Class I to Class V — depending on where you push off from. Since it’s not too far from Denver, it’s also extremely easy to access.
- Clear Creek: Tourists tend to love Clear Creek because of its convenience — it’s located right off I-70, the popular mountain highway that leads to the ski resort towns of Vail and Breckenridge.
- Roaring Fork River: If you’re staying in or near Aspen, this is the river for you. The top part of the river is called Slaughterhouse, a section of extreme rapids that is rarely commercially rafted.
- Rio Grande River: Yes, that Rio Grande. The famous river begins in south-central Colorado and contains class difficulties of all levels.
Whitewater rafting is more than just a fix for adrenaline junkies; in fact, it garnered so much popularity in the 70s that it was introduced to the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. With six difficulty classes, the sport takes a lot of time and experience to master. If you’re visiting Colorado, why not find out what it’s like for yourself?
Choosing the best rafting adventure to suit your needs can easily become an overwhelming experience. You might feel overloaded with information, options, and even questions. But when it comes to finding the right fit for you, there are really only a few considerations you need to keep in mind. If you focus on these three things, narrowing down which raft trips will be best for you can become an easy task.
Location, location, location. This really is one of the most important things to research when sorting through the seemingly endless river rafting options. If you and your family are adrenaline seekers, look for raft trips that offer endless thrills and excitement. On the other hand, if you and your companions like to take things at a more leisurely pace, perhaps find a trip that will provide just enough fun without the fear of being thrown overboard. Additionally, each rafting trip will offer different scenic experiences, so decide which sights you’d most like to see. In some cases, even the same river can offer a variety of different adventures and sceneries. The Colorado River, for example, is so large that it spreads across 11 different national parks.
A major thing to consider when choosing a location is the condition of the river itself. If there was a lot of rain or snowfall in that area this year, the river conditions might be at a more intense, or even dangerous level. A little less precipitation in an area might mean two things; either the water level is too low for rafting, or the lower water flow could make for less stressful and more playful water conditions. Ultimately, your skill level is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a location for white water rafting trips.
Besides finding the ideal river for your adventure, researching the local rafting guides is also vital to ensuring you have the best experience possible. Don’t hesitate to look into the training and years of experience the guides have. No matter the intensity of the trip you take, accidents can happen, so having a qualified and experienced guide is an absolute must.
If you are hoping to maybe sneak in a few more activities during your river rafting trip, look for experiences that offer a variety of packages. Many locations offer deals where you can experience amazing whitewater rafting, while also offering a scenic and exciting zipline course. ATV tours, kayaking, and even family fishing trips are all experiences you can enjoy during raft trips. Throwing in a few more activities along with your rafting trip can make for an even more exciting and memorable adventure.
In reality, choosing the best raft trips for you and your companions can be a simple and even enjoyable task. The location, rafting guide, and your interest in additional activities are the main considerations to keep in mind as you pick your amazing whitewater rafting trip.
When the water is low, we often get a lot of phone calls asking if rafting is “still fun.”
We have 3 answers for that inquiry: #1 RAFTING IS ALWAYS FUN! #2 Check out these awesome photos from the last few weeks! #3 We firmly believe that the key to a good time is a good attitude and good jokes. In fact, our office manager Teal has been known to say “I think 90% of raft guiding is telling jokes!”
Fortunately, our guides have the largest lexicon of jokes on the Animas River!
We’ve got cow jokes:
“What do you call a cow that just gave birth?”
And more cow jokes…
“What do you say when a cow jumps over a barbed wire fence?”
“Wait…What did you just say?”
“ UDDER DESTRUCTION.”
It doesn’t end there!
“What do you call a cow with three legs?”
*rolls eyes and nods*
“LEAN BEEF! What do you call a cow with one leg?”
“I can’t believe this is still happening…”
“STEAK!! What do you call a cow with no legs?”
“When will it end…?”
In fact we have so many cow jokes, we get reviews about it:
And how do we respond?
Now, cow jokes are great and all, but sometimes we like to shake up our material with a few rafting themed jokes….
“Where does a river guide put her tip money?”
“THE RIVER BANK!”
Or maybe this one…
“Why are rivers so rich?”
“I dunno, because they’re really beautiful and full of natural scener-”
“BECAUSE THEY HAVE TWO BANKS!”
And of course there’s always the classic:
“What is the difference between a medium 2 topping pizza and a raft guide?”
“Well gee! I don’t know, but pizza sure sounds good…”
“One can feed a family of four.”
“Well, that joke wasn’t really funny. But can you tell us where the locals get pizza in Durango?”
The best part is, we do know where the good pizza is (Homeslice Pizza for sure!) and we have many more suggestions for great food and entertainment that our guides would gladly share with you and your family.
Once we’ve exhausted all of cow jokes, and our rafting jokes, we move on to the dad-jokes….
“Why did the tomato blush?”
“I dunno, why?”
“Because he saw the SALAD DRESSING!”
Nothing says “dad joke” more than terrible puns…
“What is the difference between a well dressed man on a bicycle and a poorly dressed man on a unicycle?”
“This seems oddly specific, but I don’t know….?”
We like to think we’re punny, but really we just aspire to be as punny as our own dads…
“What did the buffalo say to his kid on their first day of school?”
By this point you’ll be telling us jokes and we’ll be taking notes for new material. Then we’ll probably be reaching our class III whitewater park, and nearing the end of our rafting trip. So we buckle down, tuck our feet into the boat and get ready to get soaked and have fun!
This season we experienced an unusually long snow-melt run-off period, with flows staying above 1000 CFS until mid-late July. We have also been blessed with steady monsoon rains every afternoon, which has kept the flows above 800 CFS so far this season. This is the perfect water level for you to utilize our fleet of inflatable kayaks to enjoy the river!
Inflatable kayaks were invented by the airship company, Zodiac, in 1934, and have been used to give people an introduction in the kayaking world ever since! Inflatable kayaks are also often referred to as a “ducky” or “duckies,” and in order to complete this blog post we set out to uncover why they are referred to as such. First we asked some of the purchasing managers around the Four Corners Riversports shop. Their response was something along the lines of “they track on the water like ducks do.” This response makes some sense, but it was insufficient for our research. Inquiring minds want to know! Additionally, duckies of the aviary sort propel themselves using their webbed feet below the water, whereas these duckies propel themselves using a paddle from above the water.
Unsatisfied with this interpretation we turned to a scholars trusted steed: Google. Google can be your best friend, or your worst enemy and in this case it proved to be the latter. We were able to find out when inflatable kayaks were first invented, what materials they are often composed of, which brands are the best, etc. We discovered that inflatable kayaks are preferable to many beginners because users do not need to demonstrate a kayak roll in order to safely operate the craft. So even the most inexperienced kayaker could have a blast out on the water without needing an excessive amount of additional instruction. We also found that many whitewater enthusiasts find them preferable to hardshell kayaks because they are made of the same durable (and repairable) materials that rafts are constructed from. But, alas, we found no concrete answers to the question plaguing our anticipated blog post.
According to the many articles we combed from Google, Tributary and Aire are the best brands to purchase inflatable kayaks from, especially if intended for downriver use. We were pleased to unearth this information, because our inflatable kayaks are made from these very distributors! It seemed within our best interest to contact one of them to get the scoop from the experts in the industry. We called the Aire customer service number and the representative chuckled as we posed our inquiry.
“Most inflatable kayaks are on the water with a raft, right?”
We held our breath for a second, anticipating our long awaited resolution, but then we realized she was waiting for our response.
“Well yeah, we send all of our guided inflatable kayak trips out with another boat on the water to set safety and show our clients how to safely navigate the river…”
She chuckled again, and at this point we assumed she was setting up for a horribly dry, raft guide joke. Which is typical for our industry.
“Then you must all be familiar with lining your inflatable kayaks up behind the raft and having the inflatable kayaks follow you around in a line, taking the safest routes down the river. Just like a momma duck lines up all her duckies to follow her downstream.”
Our whole office team face palmed in unison, and then thanked the Aire representative for her time. We had finally received the information we had hunted for so long, and the truth had been staring us in the face the whole time.
Despite wasting numerous payroll hours on our quest, we felt we had gained a lot of knowledge about inflatable kayaks and managed to really educate our reservation staff about why duckies are such a great alternative to rafting if a client is looking for a safe, easy and independent adventure on the river with our team! After the whole scenario, we felt like we had finally gotten our ducks in a row (pun intended) about inflatable kayaks. BRING ON THE DUCKIES!
Conditions are perfect. Book your trip now.
The 2016 season has started out strong on the Animas in Durango, CO. With the additional late snowfall in May, we are sure to have some great rafting for you this summer. We have been running trips daily in Durango and Telluride. The Upper Animas season also started up and has been great so far.
Join us for a great time today!More Gallery Images
This past weekend, April 9-10 2016, we held a class for a group preparing to go down the Grand Canyon in about two weeks. They will be launching on a private group permit from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek. For some in the group, the information covered in this class was just a refresher, for others, it was all new.
We began in the classroom with whitewater swimming techniques, including the defensive and aggressive swim. We discussed throw bags and how/when to use them. We then went outside and did some dry land throw bag practice. A little less than two hours into the class and since there was a break in the weather, it was time to get our feet wet.
After a quick snack and change into our river gear, we headed to Smelter Rapids on the Animas River to practice everything we had discussed in the classroom and on dry land. We began with swimming, jumping in at Corner Pocket and swimming through Ponderosa and then self-rescuing into the eddy. Some found the barrel roll technique helped them to cross the eddy line.
Once we were all comfortable with swimming, we practiced our throw bagging. Each person took turns swimming and throw bagging. The dry land practiced had paid off, lots of great hits with the bag.
We brought a raft with us to do a little training on how to get back into a boat. Each person would practice climbing back into a right-side-up and up-side-down boat. As easy as it sounds, we all struggled a little bit to get on top of those rafts. It’s definitely harder than it looks. We then got comfortable being underneath and swimming underneath a raft that was upside down.
At this point, most of the people were quite tired and cold from being in the chilly waters in early April on a cloudy and rainy day. So, we headed back to the shop to get dry clothes on and then break for a late lunch.
The afternoon included classroom discussion of topics like the risk matrix, river absolutes, personal protective equipment, first aid kits, and more. Then we got some ropes out and spent the rest of the evening practicing our knots. Again, some of the people in the class already knew most of the knots and more, for others this was all new information. We practiced an adjustable knot called the taut line hitch. It’s useful on the Grand Canyon for tying your boat up at night so you can adjust your boat according to the water level. We then moved on to knots like the bowline, figure eights, clove hitch, munter hitch, double fisherman’s, and the water knot.
We began the day outside with mechanical advantage rope systems. We put a raft up against a huge boulder and setup a river scenario in the backyard. We setup a Z-drag 3:1 system using our rafting wrap kit that includes the basics: a static line, anchors, prussics, pulleys, and carabiners. Some mad scientists began discussing the physics behind the mechanical advantage systems. We took a quick look at how one would go about setting up a 4:1. However, there are other methods before going to a 4:1 that we looked at. Such as, adding a vector pull to the static line that is already under tension from the 3:1. And the good old boatmans trick of helping to free a raft from a pin by bleeding some air from the tubes in order to allow the water to pass around.
We headed back to the river for more practice in the water. We covered topics like wading, live bait (tethered rescuer) and using a rescue PFD. We practiced a foot entrapment rescue using a support line and a snag line. A very simple strainer scenario, practicing getting over a strainer by aggressively swimming at it and barrel rolling over it. Plus topics such as combative swimmers, managing unconscious victims, runaway rafts, and more.
Again, the weather was a bit chilly, especially for most people that only had wetsuits on. And so, we headed back to the shop and took a quick break for lunch. Everyone wanted to get an early start home, so the afternoon was very basic. After the group did some shopping at 4Corners Riversports, with finished up with discussions of rowing techniques, some water reading, and things to think about taking for a Grand Canyon river trip.
What a great group of people heading down the river. They are well on their way to having a successful and memorable trip down the Grand Canyon.More Gallery Images