If you don’t have much experience rafting, choosing the right Whitewater Rafting experience for you can seem like a daunting endeavor. We’re here to help you break it down, so you can enjoy your experience on the water, feel confident, and have the most fun possible! Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about choosing a trip.
Am I A Beginner Rafter?
If you’re a first-timer, the answer is yes. But that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to a float trip. (If you want one of those, that’s okay too.) Beginner rafters will also have a great experience on our milder to intermediate trips on class II-IV rapids.
We find most of our guests don’t have extensive experience rafting, which why we’re here! We can’t wait to get you out on the water and show you how much fun it can be.
Do I Need to Know What I’m Doing?
No, that’s our job. With any of our Whitewater Rafting trips, our knowledgeable guides will give a thorough safety talk to introduce you to or remind you of the things you need to know when you’re on the river with us.
Then you’ll also learn all you need to know about how to paddle, the right way to sit in the raft, your guide’s commands and how to work together as a team to get through the rapids. We make sure you’re well informed and comfortable with all of this information.
Not only are our guides CPR and First-Aid certified but they go through extensive training, as well as lead a trip under the supervision of an experienced guide, before leading your trip. They additionally enjoy what they do and look forward to helping you have the best experience possible on the water!
Choosing a Trip
1. Relaxing Bliss:
The very first lowest level of rafting you can do with AVA would be a Class I-II Scenic Float trip, consisting of mostly Class II riffles. These stretches make the boat bob up and down and might require a bit of maneuvering on the part of the guide. You can participate by paddling a bit, but mostly, this is a scenic trip, where you get to soak in your beautiful surroundings and relax.
Our scenic float trips run on the Upper Colorado River, leaving from our Kremmling Outpost, which is close to Summit County, Steamboat and Winter Park, and you have the option to choose from a full day or half day option. On either trip, you will have time to swim, sunbathe, relax, and even jump from Jump Rock if water levels permit! The trip will wind through scenic Gore Range and mountain ranchland, with stunning views the entire way. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife!
This is what many people want out of their rafting trip instead of an adrenaline-packed experience, and that’s just great! In our opinion, any moment spent on the river is a good one! This level trip is great for entire families and accommodates kids 5 years (full day) and 2 years (half day) and up. It’s also great for the older set who aren’t so confident in their paddling strength or—again—for those just looking for pure relaxation!
2. Some White in Your Water:
The other level of “Beginner” rafting is a trip with beginner-level whitewater, typically a Class III trip. This is the first level of rafting that has much consistent whitewater. These trips are what we call our “family-style” whitewater trips as we take kids 6-7 years old (depending on the trip).
They are wonderful choices for family trips, first-timers and also for experienced rafters, as they include exciting stretches broken up by smaller riffles.
Most beginner rafters can quickly be taught how to paddle together to maneuver through these rapids successfully, and these are participatory and active trips where everyone is paddling and working together to respond to the guide’s commands (don’t worry–all of that is taught to you when you start). For this reason, our Class III adventures will be often be the best trips for mixed-ability groups of paddlers.
Our Whitewater Trip Recommendations:
From our Buena Vista outpost, our full-day Brown’s Canyon Sizzler (includes deli style lunch riverside) or our Brown’s Canyon Half Day will take you on an exciting adventure down the Arkansas River. Raft through the majestic canyon and a National Monument and experience startling views the entire way. These trips combine the best of Colorado scenery with exciting class III rapids.
Our 24 Hours in Brown’s Canyon overnight trip is additionally a great trip for beginners, as it combines mellower class III rapids with a unique and unforgettable riverside camping experience under the stars. Suitable for ages 7 and up, this is an incredible opportunity to reconnect and spend quality time with your friends and family!
Just 30 minutes from Denver on the Clear Creek, we offer our 1/3 day Clear Creek Gold Rush trip. First-time rafters and experienced rafters should also consider our half day Upper Clear Creek trip, an exciting adventure on slightly more technical class III and IV rapids.
We hope that, as a beginner rafter, this information has helped calm any pre-rafting nerves you might have had, as well as helped you choose a trip for you and your group! We offer fun and exciting experiences across ability levels, and we can’t wait for you to join us on the adventure of a lifetime.