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Colorado Rafting Association's Frequently Asked Questions:

Which trip is best for us?

Which trip is best for us?
CRA outfitters offer trips from scenic floats to challenging whitewater adventures. Your trip will depend upon the amount of time you would like to spend on the river and the level of excitement you are seeking. Our trips range from short day trips to multi-day wilderness adventures in all regions of Colorado.
Class I
Class II
Class III
Class IV
Class V
Class VI

What is the difference between a paddle boat, an oar boat and an inflatable kayak?

What is the difference between a paddle boat, an oar boat and an inflatable kayak?
If you have the desire to participate and are in reasonably good health, paddling is for you! Many of us specialize in teaching people to paddle. Adventurous first-timers usually find a paddle boat to be quite fun. If you would rather hold on and have a guide row the boat while enjoying the scenery, then an oar boat is your choice. An inflatable kayak is a one to two person craft and is a good choice for you if you are looking to experience the freedom of paddling your own boat under the watchful eye of a professional guide.

When is the best time to go?

When is the best time to go? Colorado rivers are dependent on snow melt. Our rivers start to flow in May and usually peak in early to mid-June with good flows throughout the summer into the fall. Desert rivers tend to flow early and may be runnable as early as late April. If you are looking for the biggest whitewater, then early season is for you. Colorado summers have warm days, 80 - 100 degrees, depending on elevation. Pick July - September for moderate flows. Trips go rain or shine so be prepared to get wet.

How safe is rafting?

How safe is rafting? All outdoor adventure activities, including whitewater rafting, involve elements of risk. If you have any physical concerns, please consult your physician before rafting with an outfitter. Outfitters do not assume liability for lost or damaged articles, personal injuries or death. You must sign an "acknowledgement of risk participant agreement" form prior to your trip. It is important for your group to choose a trip within the entire groups’ limits.

Do you need to know how to swim?

Do you need to know how to swim? Each person is fitted with a Type 5 Coast Guard approved life jacket to be worn on the river at all times. This life jacket is designed to float you on your back keeping your head out of the water. You will be instructed on the use of the life jacket and what to do if you find yourself in the river during our orientation before the trip.

What should we bring to wear on a day trip?

What should we bring to wear on a day trip? You are going to get wet, so it's a good idea to be prepared. Bathing suits and shorts are recommended as base layers. Also suitable are synthetic materials such as polypro, fleece, micro fleece, polyester, waterproof jackets, and any other outdoor material that dries fast. Staying dry, or at least drying off fast, is the key to staying warm. Try not to wear cotton clothing, as it tends to get wet and stay wet. Towels don't do you much good either because there is no way to keep them dry while rafting. If you are concerned about staying warm, we have wetsuit rental packages that include the wetsuit, booties and splash jackets. Sunscreen, sunglasses, ball caps, and hats are all excellent sun protection. The sun at our high altitude environment is more intense and requires some protection. There is limited space on the rafts, so bring only what you can wear. Less stuff also means less things to bounce around while going through the rapids.

What should we bring for multi-day trips?

What should we bring for multi-day trips? Each of us has a specific packing list oriented to our individual trips based on the time of year and location of the particular river. Please visit our individual websites or call us for a what to bring list.