No, the majority of people who go rafting in Colorado are first time rafters. Prior to every trip, you are given a thorough river orientation to inform you of the possible hazards encountered white water rafting.
Before your trip, each guide will go over paddle instructions for you so you know exactly what needs to be done to maneuver your raft down river. It is natural to be apprehensive about whitewater rafting in Colorado but once you experience the thrill, it will become an addictive and unforgettable experience! Statistically, there are more people injured en route to a rafting outfitters office than there are river rafting.
Royal Gorge Rafting offers free use of all river gear including wet-suits, booties, and splash tops. Although not all companies offer free gear use, we feel as though it is an essential option for both your safety and comfort. Not only is the gear free, it is all top of the line!
All Ages Bighorn Sheep Canyon Trip (Easiest)
If it's your first time rafting or you are experienced and you are not looking for the most challenging rapids, we recommend our Bighorn Sheep Canyon trip which consists mostly of class III whitewater rapids.
Royal Gorge Trip (More Challenging)
If you are an experienced rafter or it is your first time rafting and you are looking for a more challenging, exciting, and demanding stretch of whitewater, we recommend you run the Royal Gorge. This is our most popular stretch of river with about 80% of our clientele and is our expertise!
Check out the Compare our raft trips page to get all the details.
Swimming is recommended but is not a necessary requirement. You should know that there is always a chance that a participant could fall out of their raft. For this reason, we ask that you inform us while making your reservation if you are a non-swimmer. During high water levels through the Royal Gorge it is recommended that you have swimming experience to be able to aid in your own rescue should you come out of your raft unexpectedly. Of course, you will be provided with a licensed professional guide who will inform you of trip safety, and life jacket and equipment.
You can read more about our rafting safety here.
If you are pregnant, you will not be permitted to go rafting. Consider that you won’t always be pregnant, but the river will always be here. We do not think it is worth the chance of risking it, no matter how early you are in your pregnancy. We think moms are special – we know you agree and appreciate your cooperation!
Our guides aim to individualize each trip specific to the group to ensure you come away with a first rate experience. If you feel your guide has provided you with professional service, then a tip is a great way to express your appreciation.
Yes, you can definitely request a guide. Just give us a call and let us know. If you book online, please call us to add your guide request to your reservation. We can never guarantee that your guide will be available but we will do our best.
Our trips run from early April to mid-September and we consider these months to be the best. Typically April and early May water levels are lower and begin to rise into the middle of May.
Wear clothing that is similar for a day at the beach. Acceptable options include:
For White Water Rafting:
We strongly recommend you do not wear cotton clothing on your river trip (denim jeans, cotton t-shirts, hoodies, etc.). This is due to the fact that cotton becomes extremely heavy and loses its ability to keep you warm when wet.
Optional items to bring with you include:
Our kayak support program is our safety and care program, and the only one of its kind in the region. A kayak team supports all our rafts to ensure you get safely back in your raft if you are separated from your raft, or to assist with retrieving lost paddles. Additionally our kayak team take the best action photos of your rafting trip in the rapids as well as scenic and candid photos that capture your entire adventure. Our kayakers also assist with serving our famous lunch from our riverside basecamp after our Royal Gorge Rafting trips.
You can find out more about this team on our kayak support/safety page.
We are the only company to offer in house photo services. Our kayak photographers shoot your entire trip through the Royal Gorge and via shuttle on the Bighorn Sheep Canyon. This allows us to shoot your entire day’s adventure! Often you will leave with hundreds of photos at a rate that beats the other companies 6 or so photos from one location. This is a very customized service that you will find nowhere else rafting or zip lining in Colorado. After each trip an entertaining slide show of your experience is presented to you.
You can view and purchase your photos online for up to two years after your photos here.
Class I – Slow, flat, moving water with few obstacles.
Class II – Small waves and usually avoidable obstacles.
Class III – Swift moving current with large irregular waves, white water obstructions and rocks that need to be maneuvered around and may not be easily missed.
Class IV – Swift water with large waves and whitewater “holes” that may be unavoidable.
Class V – Swift continuous water with large irregular waves and holes, unavoidable drops and waves that require complex maneuvering.
Class VI – These runs have almost never been attempted and often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictably and danger, for teams of experts only, at favorable water levels. After a class VI rapids have been run many times, it’s rating may be changed to a class 5+ rating.
Although each rapid is classified by the ease of passage you should know that the hazards are the same in any river with moving water. An easier class only specifies the ease of passage regard to the lesser likelihood of incidents occurring.
The higher classification of rapid doesn’t correlate to the level of fun, it relates to greater challenges and greater likelihood of potential risks involved occurring.
We run every trip rain or shine. In the rare occurrence that the weather becomes too extreme, we reserve the right to alter or cancel trips with your safety in mind. After all, you are going to get wet regardless if it rains or not.
Yes, we are required to charge both land use access fees and Colorado State parks fees as a rafting company within the state park known as the Arkansas Headwater Recreation Area. All fees are added to the price of the trip and are not exempt. Taxes are levied on vacation rentals, retail sales items, photo purchases, or food items at our restaurant.
We get it. Plans change and life happens. We've created a Worry Free Cancellation Plan so you can get your money back or experience a raft trip on another date.
You can review our worry free cancellation and our standard cancellation policies on the rafting policies page.