Whitewater Rafting FAQs | AVA Rafting
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The AVA Difference


The most important part of your Colorado adventure is to be prepared prior to the date of your activity.  Knowing what to bring, where the location of your take off point is, the best time to go rafting, and what the perfect trip and rafting company is for your group is essential.  Here are some answers to common questions we get asked on a daily basis, so you know exactly what to expect adventuring with AVA Rafting & Zipline.


For COVID-19 specific questions relating to the 2020 whitewater rafting season, learn more here. 

About AVA

  • How long has AVA been operating?

    AVA Rafting & Zipline started its love affair with the great outdoors in 1998 as a rafting company. While rafting remains our bread and butter, we have expanded our adventure options to better provide the true Colorado experience. Throughout the existence of AVA, it has been our goal to advance the industry of whitewater rafting and of adventure outfitters. From our guides and staff to outposts, equipment, trip offerings and level of service, we strive to set the bar at every turn.

  • How are your guides trained?

    All of our guides' training hours far surpass state regulations. Beside the state requirement of being First Aid and CPR certified, almost all of our guides are Swiftwater Rescue certified and very many of them are EMTs, Wilderness First Responders, or hold Outdoor Emergency Care certification. The State of Colorado requires only 50 hours of training to be a river guide, however our new guide training gives our trainees almost three times this minimum requirement.

    Check out what raft guide training looks like with AVA here.

  • Where are you located?

    AVA has locations across the state of Colorado. Our primary outposts are located in Idaho Springs, Kremmling, Buena Vista and Breckenridge. We also raft out of the Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, Canon City and Durango in Colorado and Globe, Arizona.

    For more information on getting to your adventure with us, please visit our Getting Here page.

  • Why should I choose AVA?

    AVA has established itself as a leader in the rafting and adventure outfitter business. Our goal is always to set the bar for our industry: from guides and training to guest service, outposts and gear. We know, we might be tooting out own horn a bit. But otherwise how will you know? Between our numerous, convenient locations across the state, our dedication to your experience and our highly-trained guides, you won't be disappointed when you choose AVA.

  • What is the cancellation policy?

    AVA Rafting and Zipline now offers the best cancellation policy in Colorado! We offer a 90% refund to any guest who needs to cancel their adventure until 7pm the night before the trip date. Trip changes must be completed by 7pm the night before the trip to avoid change fees. Trip changes after 7pm will result in a 15% change fee and are subject to availability. If you do cancel your reservation after 7pm the night before the trip, your reservation will be converted to an open credit equal to 85% of the total cost of your adventure. The credit is valid for the current season only. This policy is valid for both guided trip and rental gear reservations.

    Lateness Policy:
    If you arrive late for your trip, you will be put on the next available trip. If you are not able to take our next available trip, your reservation will be converted to an open credit equal to 85% of the total cost of your adventure. The credit is valid for the current season only.

    If you opted out of our cancellation guarantee for a reduced total trip cost, then you are subject to the cancellation policy below.

    Without Cancellation Guarantee (opt out policy):
    For groups of less than 10 people: Cancellations made prior to 7 days before the trip will be refunded 90% of the total trip cost. Cancellations made within 7 days of the trip are nonrefundable. Trips changed within 7 days of the trip will result in a 15% change fee.

    Failure to show up on time for your trip will result in forfeiture of your reservation without a refund.

    For groups of 10 or more:
    Cancellations made 14 days prior to the trip will be refunded 90% of the total trip cost. Cancellations made within 2 weeks of the trip are nonrefundable.
    NOTE: Cancellation policy applies to the full amount of your trip.

    Change policy:
    Inside of two weeks of the trip, changes made to the date of the trip will result in a change fee. Change fees are 15% of the total cost of the trip. Changes may not be made inside of 48 hours.

    Inclement weather and water conditions:
    All trips depart as scheduled regardless of weather. AVA reserves the right to change or substitute river sections at any time due to weather conditions and water levels.

    AVA's zipline management reserves the right to cancel tours due to unsafe weather conditions, such as heavy winds and lightning. If your tour has been cancelled by management, AVA will contact you to refund or reschedule your reservation. AVA reserves the right to postpone or delay your mountaintop zip line tour up to one hour to wait out inclement weather and then resume once conditions are deemed safe by management. If the mountaintop zip line tour is started and less than 50% of the course is completed, you will be refunded 50% of the cost of the trip. If the mountaintop zip line tour is started and more than 50% of the course is completed, you will not be refunded.

    AVA reserves the right to cancel any trip due to an insufficient number of bookings. Should we need to cancel your trip, the full cost will be refunded or credited to another trip according to your wishes.

    Partner trips and activities are subject to a different cancellation policy than is listed here. Please thoroughly read the cancellation policy before booking, or give us a call at 970-423-7031 for the cancellation policy for your trip.

Rafting Trips

  • Can I go rafting if I can’t swim?

    In short, yes! Rafters on all AVA trips are required to wear a PFD, and for most AVA white water rafting trips, you do not need to know how to swim. The more intense, advanced rafting trips will require rafters to know how to swim as just a precaution. However, the more intermediate trips do not require rafters to know how to swim.

  • When is the best time to go rafting?

    If you’re planning a vacation to Colorado you likely have a limited time window from which to choose – and that’s just fine. Depending on the type of challenge, length of time you want to be on the river, and the location you’ll be visiting, we have multiple options for beginner to advanced paddlers.

    The Best Time To Enjoy River Trips at AVA:

    Arkansas River: May - Sept
    Clear Creek: May - Sept
    Colorado River: May - Sept
    Blue River: June
    Dolores River: May - June
    Salt River: Late February - mid-May

  • Do I have to have experience to go rafting?

    Not at all! While some trips are more physically demanding than others and require a moderate to high physical fitness level, they do not necessarily require any previous whitewater rafting experience. Just because you are planning your first rafting trip does not mean you need to start out on beginner level rapids.

  • Will my group all be in the same raft?

    It depends. Your guides will evaluate all the groups participating in the trip and assign out the rafts from there. All of our rafts can fit at least 6 people, but the number of people that will be in your raft all depends on the numbers. If you are part of a large group, you may be spread across a few rafts with people from other groups.

  • What should I bring on my rafting trip?

    AVA Rafting & Zipline provides wetsuits and splash jackets free of charge, unlike the majority of other rafting outfitters. For your whitewater adventure, you'll need to wear shoes that stay securely on your feet and we suggest quick dry clothing... no cotton!

  • What about tipping my guide?

    When it comes to tipping a guide, generally customers tend to follow the service industry standards. However, it is up to your discretion what you would like to tip your guide. Read more on tipping here.

Ziplining Trips

  • Is ziplining safe?

    It's important to be aware of the risks involved in every outdoor adventure, and ziplining is not without its risks. Ziplining is an extreme sport and, as such, has particular risks that will always be associated with it. With that being said, your guide has undergone extensive training to ensure your safety. In addition to highly-trained guides, AVA also only uses top-of-the-line equipment.

  • When can I go ziplining?

    You can zipline with AVA from March through November each year! The Cliffside Zipline in Idaho Springs near Denver will open the first weekend of March and stay open on a limited schedule through the end of November. The Mountaintop Zipline in Buena Vista will open between the end of April and early May and stay open through Labor Day. During the summer there are zipline trips hourly starting at 8:00am at both locations.

  • What are the requirements to go ziplining?

    To go on a zipline trip with AVA, all zippers must be at least 6 years old. Everyone must also be between 50 pounds and 250 pounds. Zippers must be wearing appropriate clothing and sturdy, closed-toe shoes. All zippers will be outfitted with a helmet, gloves and a harness. Guests are required to do a moderate amount of hand braking on the adventure.

  • What do I wear for my zipline trip?

    For your zipline trip, make you are dressed comfortably and appropriately for the weather. Zippers will not be allowed on the course without closed-toe, sturdy shoes, such as hiking boots or tennis shoes. Regardless of the time of year, avoid wearing baggy clothing that could get tangled as you zip from platform to platform. We suggest long pants, capris or knee-length shorts for maximum comfort during your trip.