Getting on the water, where to start? |

Getting on the water, where to start?

Kent Roberg
Photo: Dave Manzella

Colorado is known for sunshine, but where do you go to get wet on those hot summer days? Throughout the high country rafting and paddling are gaining popularity as a great way to spend a day in the Colorado sun. If you’re not one of those adrenilne/extreme sports addicts prolific in Colorado getting on the water can be an intimidating and confusing prospect. What if you’re on vacation from a lower elevation? Or have kids of various ages to account for? Where do you get started and what can you expect?

The first step is getting in touch with the right guide service. There are as many guide services as there are sections of river to run. The activity search on the previous page will provide you with a few phone numbers to get the ball rolling. Some important things to keep in mind are price, travel time and ability level. Be honest about your skill level. The weakest link adage applies here. If you are interested in rafting it’s a good idea to have enough people to fill an entire boat-6-8 in most cases. That way you do not have to worry about getting paired with a stray from outside your group who may have a negative impact on your trip.

Another thing to take into consideration is the fact river flow changes through the season. A stretch of river may be a class five early in the season when the runoff is high and only class three later in the season. Local guides are the best source for this information. Most companies offer “float’ trips as well as whitewater trips. Float trips are just that, a mellow ride down the river with incredible scenery and (hopefully) gorgeous weather.

There are plenty of high alpine lakes for those who are not looking for the whitewater experience. Many outfitters rent canoes and paddle boats as well as other floatation devices. This is a good option for less experienced water users, children and people just looking for a quieter, more serene time on the water. Whatever your pace, remember to always wear a personal floatation device and leave your itinerary with departure and arrival dates/times with at least two people prior to getting on the water.