Are you planning a visit to Colorado and want to go whitewater rafting? Are you trying to decide which trip would be best for you? There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which difficulty level will keep your family safe while still providing plenty of excitement.
First on the list would be to familiarize yourself with the classifications of whitewater. Here is a list of the classes and their descriptions.
Class I: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill level: very basic)
Class II: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering. (Skill level: basic paddling skill)
Class III: Whitewater, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering. (Skill level: experienced paddling skills)
Class IV: Whitewater, medium waves, rocks, maybe a considerable drop. Quick maneuvers needed. (Skill level: whitewater experience)
Class V: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of large drops, requires precise maneuvering. (Skill level: advanced whitewater experience)
Class VI: Class 6 rapids are dangerous and are considered to be unraftable.
Second, you are going to want to ask the whitewater rafting company about the rapids on the particular section that you are considering. Be sure that you and the members of your party are physically, emotionally and mentally prepared and capable of running the river. Everyone in your party must be prepared to swim in swift rapids, do self-rescue, rescue other swimmers, and follow the instruction of the raft guide without question.
Lastly, know that it is better to go a class down than to go a class up and get in over your head. Taking a lower level trip will still provide plenty of excitement and you will still have an amazing day on the river. Getting in over your head could make for a terrible experience and possibly get you or a member of your group seriously injured.
Whatever you decide is best for you and your group, you are sure to have a memorable day and a story to talk about for years to come. Just start small and give it a try. You will surely be back for more!