Colorado River Rafting 101: What You Need to Know When Planning a Trip

River rafting 101For a safe and enjoyable rafting trip, you must choose the most appropriate trip type for you — solo or with your friends or family. It is also crucial that you understand your responsibilities and the potential risks involved. Here are some basic Colorado rafting tips from to get you started.

The Essentials

Wear clothing made from materials that dry easily, such as polypropylene or nylon. Avoid going in your jeans and cotton shirt as these won’t keep you warm. Make sure to wear secure footwear and bring sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, and drinking water. You may also want to consider bringing long pants and a warm hoodie as your change of clothing after rafting.

River Rafting Cost

The cost of river rafting varies from one outfitter to the next, and is based on which river you’re rafting and the duration of the trip. Usually, prepare to spend around $35 upwards for half day rafting trips. This includes lifejackets or personal flotation devices and helmets. You have to bring or rent your own booties or wetsuits if you’re going rafting during the cooler season. Multi-day rafting trips typically begin at $250 and come with rafting gear and meals. Consider giving a tip of 10% to 20% of the trip cost to your guides if you loved their service.

Alone or With an Outfitter?

If you’re rafting alone, make sure you’re aware of the restrictions on various rivers like the Yampa, where it’s virtually impossible to secure a permit without a licensed outfitter. Other Colorado rivers such as the Dolores won’t require a permit—just check yourself in at the put-in. On the other hand, going with experienced outfitters and their expert guides is your best bet if you’re a first-timer or if you don’t have the confidence yet to run the river alone. Whether you’re alone or with a guide, always keep in mind these Colorado rafting tips and your safety in the water.

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