(800) 321-4352

(719) 942-4362

Whitewater Rafting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

WHITEWATER SAFETY VIDEO

We have created this safety video through the Colorado River Outfitters Association so you may preview the safety orientation you will receive before every rafting trip.  This will help you understand the inherent risks of whitewater rafting.

HOW DO I MAKE A RESERVATION?

It’s easy! Call to determine if there is space available on the date you wish to go…Call 1-800-321-4352 between 7am and 7pm MST, seven days a week, during our season (May through September) and between 8am and 5pm MST, seven days a week, during the off season. You may use the reservation form on our site to send us the information on your group, but it is only a request for that date and trip not a confirmation of your reservation.

WHICH TRIP IS BEST FOR US?

The ARKANSAS RIVER is nationally recognized as one of the top commercial runs in the country. The Class III – IV whitewater of the BIGHORN SHEEP CANYON section is suitable for novices and experienced boaters alike. The Class IV+ whitewater of the ROYAL GORGE is the ultimate whitewater challenge for the adventurous or thrill-seeking experienced boater. Our full day trips on these sections are the best value and provide the most rewarding experience. If you are on a tight schedule, choose a 1/2 day BIGHORN SHEEP CANYON trip or the 1/2 day ROYAL GORGE trip for experienced Class III rafters. For families with small children (at least 35 lbs) or for those looking for an introduction to whitewater rafting, we also offer a 1/4 day trip.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PADDLE BOAT AND AN OAR BOAT?

We specialize in teaching people to paddle. If you have the desire to participate and are in reasonably good health, paddling is for you! If you would rather hold on and have a guide row the boat, then an oar boat is your choice. Families with young children should select this option. Adventurous first-timers are fine in a paddle boat. Paddle boats will hold 7 guests plus a guide for a maximum load. Oar boats can take up to 7, depending on a total weight of the group.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO?

The whitewater of the ARKANSAS RIVER provides excitement throughout the season. Normally the peak runoff is reached by mid-June. Some rapids become easier at high flows and others become more difficult. Some rapids may require portaging at certain levels. May and early June have cooler air temperatures but exhilarating whitewater. The rest of the season is usually warm and sunny with occasional late afternoon showers. We are guaranteed sufficient water through August.

DO WE NEED TO SIGN A WAIVER?

Before going on any river trip with Arkansas River Tours, each guest over 18 years old must read, understand and sign our Liability Waiver. Parents or legal guardians must sign for any children under 18 years old.

HOW SAFE IS IT?

Statistics prove that rafting is safer than golf or skiing, however, participating in an outdoor adventure does have inherent risks and hazards. We take every possible precaution throughout our operation to provide safe trips. You must take responsibility for following our instructions and guidelines. We reserve the right to consider potential participants physically unfit for this activity.

DO I HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO SWIM?

Every person on our trips will be issued a life jacket (personal flotation device) which is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and designed specifically for whitewater rafting. We can accomodate up to a size 52 inch chest size. Non-swimmers are allowed to participate in whitewater rafting. If you are seriously overweight and can not perform a self-rescue by swimming to shore in the event you are out of the raft, you should consider not rafting. If a guide can not pull in an obese guest who swims, your safety may be jeopardized. You should take an active part in your own rescue. A detailed safety orientation is given before each trip. Swimming ability is required on our more advanced trips. The ability to swim may make you more comfortable in water if you happen to be out of the raft.

CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE SPECIAL MEDICAL CONDITIONS?

We have taken guests with many different medical conditions and physical disabilities on raft trips. It is mandatory that these conditions are disclosed before your reservation is confirmed. A physician’s written approval may be necessary for certain conditions. Your guide and trip leader must also be made aware of your situation.

WHAT DO OUR TRIPS INCLUDE?

Well-trained personable guides, all necessary river and safety equipment, splash jackets, dry bags and shuttles are all included in the trip cost. One day and multi-day trips include meals and beverages.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Shorts, bathing suits and river sandals or sneakers are proper attire. Synthetic fabrics are preferable to cotton. If you wear glasses or sunglasses you will need an eyeglass strap. You will find a full variety of supplies in our on site store. We also recommended that you bring a change of dry clothing (left in your car) for after the trip. Leave jewelry and valuables at home or lock them in your car. You may check your keys at our desk for safekeeping. Please review our complete What To Bring list.

IS RENTAL EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE?

We have wetsuits, paddle jackets and boots available for rent on any of our trips. For overnight trips we have a limited supply of sleeping bags, tents and ground pads. All overnight rental gear should be reserved in advance. Please download our equipment rental price sheet, to reserve rental equipment please contact us.

CAN I REQUEST A PARTICULAR GUIDE?

Sure! Be sure and do so when you first make your reservation. We will do our best to honor your request, however, if they are requested by others, working another section of the river or have the day off, it may not be possible.