Colorado White Water Rafting Blog | Royal Gorge Rafting

Adventures, Risk & Reward


Risks are an ever-present part of life.

Staying at home may seem safer than getting out and exploring but there is hardly a reward in life without a challenge. We prefer the challenges in life that are fun and exciting. These challenges build up excitement & anticipation and reward us with a sense of accomplishment and ultimately a great adventure. We embrace these adventures and at the day’s end, rest with a sincere sense of satisfaction in having lived life to the fullest. 

We are not the only ones who seek out and find enjoyment in white water rafting.
White water rafting in Colorado alone is enjoyed on average by over 500,000 people annually. In being a participant in an outdoor adventure it is important to understand that you are involved in an activity with inherent risks. It is always wise to weigh risk vs. reward and always factor in your physical capabilities when confronting a challenge. This is your personal responsibility.

White water rafting is not 100% safe and no-one could ever say factually that it fully is. White water rafting contains constant inherent risks, like moving water, gradient, obstructions and rocks. Challenging these risks and “going with the flow” when running a river successfully and on occasion unsuccessfully, is where the excitement and reward is found and of course the risk.


Choosing a rafting trip

When choosing a raft trip with young children, older folks, or less physically capable individuals, you would be better off seeking a class II-III section of white water such as the Bighorn Sheep Canyon. As a white water rafting outfitter we are more capable in assessing and recommending a trip that is best suited to your abilities upon your arrival. If you have questions about which trip is right for you, it is best to book the lower classified white water trip, and then switch to a higher class after meeting your guide and conferring as to which section might be best.

Acknowledging Risks

It is important to acknowledge, understand and manage risks when possible. This is why rafting outfitters perform a pre-trip orientation prior to every rafting trip’s departure. The pre-trip orientation helps educate you about how to react should you swim the river. Dealing with a swim can be a challenge in any class white water as the risks are always inherently present, but a swim with prior knowledge as to how to minimize the risks involved and self rescuing in the moment can make all the difference.

Equating Risks

Outdoor activities, white water rafting in particular, has become more mainstream since the 1980's. Despite the increase in participation in whitewater rafting - yet, there is less risk involved when compared with other adventurous sports, according to
American Whitewater. Scuba diving has a mortality rate of .0035% and the chance of a fatal incident while rock climbing is .0032%. Your risk of a tragic outcome while river rafting is only .0029% in 100,000 participants. Compare that with the risk of a motor vehicle accident, which is 1 in 113 (.88%) and heart disease claims a person every 40 seconds (yes, we consider bacon an adventure)!

Whitewater rafting trips that used to be considered extremely difficult are now traversed by thousands of people a year. This is due to improved boat and safety technology and knowledge within the white water community. Runs that used to be considered impossible are now navigable by experts. View more statistics from Teton Gravity Research which compare adventurous sports to everyday activities and potential health problems.

rafting - cliff jumper

Positive Implications

Dealing wisely with dangers and risks is a valuable goal to ascertain - as with proper knowledge and skill comes greater success. This is why thousands of people are drawn to the adventure, fun and excitement of white water rafting! It is the very reason why many families and youth organizations continue to bring their children year after year. It's not just about the thrills. Executing skills learned under pressure helps to develop a cool, rational mindset in the face of a challenge. Outdoor activity is often used to teach self-reliance, good judgement, and to build confidence. All of these factors have positive implications in life outside of the river. So get out and explore! Have fun and every now and then, eat a little bacon.


Large Colorado Snow Pack Means Exciting Rafting this Summer


Large Colorado Snow Pack Means Exciting Rafting this Summer

Have you experienced white water rafting in Colorado? Or if your thinking that you may like to try it for the first time ever, this is definitely a great year to come to Royal Gorge Rafting for a white water raft trip on the Arkansas River!
Colorado snow pack for the 2016 season has been incredible. This year's water year-to-date precipitation (which began for this year on October 1st, 2015) is above average and the upstream reservoirs are loaded with water 
Here are a few facts:
According to SNOTEL, there are three tributaries that are still holding above average. Even more impressively, every main tributary is at 95% or higher, giving the Basin Index a rating of 102% of normal.
That's a lot of water. The more encouraging aspect is the amount of water content contained in the high mountain snow pack which correlates to greater runoff for habitat and recreation.
You can find the entire 
SNOTEL report in detail here. 
What That Means for Whitewater Rafting:
The warmest of summer months are still ahead of us. These numbers mean that you will get a lot of “bang for your buck” in Colorado whitewater thrills! If you're looking for a challenge, check out our trips rafting through
the Royal Gorge. If you are looking for the more family friendly tour, check out our trips through the Big Horn Sheep Canyon. No matter which section of river suits your style or experience, there will be plenty of water for everyone this season. Be sure to check out our vacation packages as well pairing classic Colorado white water rafting with our amazing zip line tours.
For more information on rafting or zip line tours, accommodations, and vacation packages, view more on our website. We look forward to seeing you on the river!
- Royal Gorge Rafting & Zip Line Tours - 719 275 7238

Colorado Rafting & Kayak Support with Royal Gorge Rafting


What does it mean to have a kayaker support your Colorado white water rafting adventure?

Having a kayaker along on your Colorado white water rafting trip is a great idea. The support kayaker is able to assist when needed in retrieving paddles and assisting swimmers to a raft or to shore. They are able to help in a flipped raft scenario by signaling to swimmers as to where they should potentially swim. Beyond signaling if they are needed to assist in a rescue they can have a swimmer grab a hold of their kayak and help them to shore. Although a kayaker can’t be everywhere at once they are able to help a great deal in containing swimmers.

Each kayaker on your rafting trip will give our guests a pre trip kayak safety talk. This is important in showing you the white water techniques used in a rescue and where they stress the importance of slowing the moment down to focus on the rescue instead of becoming panicked. Most incidents occur when a swimmer becomes panicked and they lose their faculties to remain calm, assess a situation and then make a logical move. If a participant thinks he or she can achieve something they typically can. If a swimmer thinks they can’t help themselves they invariably won’t and in this scenario your white water kayak support personal is priceless without question.

Kayakers can also use hand signals which help let a participant know which way to swim. Signals overcome the lack of communication due to the loud nature of white water rapids.

Kayakers can assist by shore based rescue utilizing a rope or “throw bag” which is a great way to assist a swimmer to shore.

In extremely rare occasions a kayaker is able to exit their kayak and get into a raft. This scenario is so rare we have never performed it while white water rafting but the option is viable and is another measure where kayak support is a wise accompaniment on your white water rafting adventure.

Our kayakers have helped both tow barge and guide a raft from within their kayak to shore or through a rapid. Although not common it has been done a few times.

While water rafting it is always possible you could flip your raft over. We call this “group swim time”. It is always avoided and fairly infrequent while rafting but just like driving at some point accidents can and do occur. In this scenario a kayaker assists swimmers and the guide if necessary. Flipping is rare but again, realistically, it can happen.

One of the biggest perks about our kayak support team is that they are also photographers and during high water on our Royal Gorge
Rafting trips we employ multiple kayakers so we can have a kayaker be dedicated support and the other kayaker behind the lens focusing on your adventure! Our photos are by far and away the best service on the Arkansas River as your kayaker shoots multiple rafting locations and captures images only a kayaker can. Other offerings in comparison seem menial in service and can cost up to twice the price. We are proud that the service we provide is by far and away the best available anywhere and we get to create what might be the best job in the state Colorado.

White Water kayak support team can provide a critical service in emergency scenario management too.

So where it is possible to compare a Colorado White Water Rafting outfitter by price or high gloss. We suggest you look deeper into value and the culture of the company before your weigh the price.

When choosing a Colorado Rafting company we suggest Royal Gorge Rafting of course as we put our heart and soul into what we do. If you are looking beyond Royal Gorge Rafting or maybe you are looking to raft another river that we don’t service we would suggest looking at our
AROA partners or give us a call and we can steer you in a good direction. But when you are looking in the Royal Gorge Region: Our professional river guides and our kayak support team is ready!

3 Essential Stops on a Colorado Road Trip


If you are on vacation in the Denver region or you are just looking for quality summer fun. Head south for a summer road trip, there are so many things to see and do. There is no need to travel out of the state if you live in Colorado for vacation when there are so many sights and adventures to be had right here! A road trip is a great way for families and friends to bond while saving money and still having a great vacation. And there are many places that offer Colorado vacation packages to help you have a blast along the way. So here is your list of 3 essential stops for your road trip south of Denver.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: Located in Colorado Springs, this zoo is unique in many ways. Even if you have been to the Denver Zoo many times, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will still impress you. Because it is located on the mountainside, the habitats are lush and more natural. Entrance to the museum also includes entrance to the Will Rogers Shrine, which provides stunning views of the city below from 8,136 feet up.

Manitou Springs: Manitou Springs is a quaint town just to the west of Colorado Springs. It is lined with unique shops and restaurants that are fun to explore. Manitou Springs gets is name from the mineral springs that are natural there. While you are walking through town you can drink from several mineral spring fountains.

The Royal Gorge: The Royal Gorge is a spectacular gorge just a while farther south on the interstate via Hwy 115 to Hwy 50. It is best known for the Royal Gorge suspension bridge that spans across the Royal Gorge. You won’t want to miss the amazing Colorado white water rafting trip on the Arkansas River rafting 1000 feet below the Royal Gorge bridge and catch Colorado’s best zip line tours. People travel from all over the world to raft these sections of the Arkansas River so you won't want to miss it. See our Royal Gorge Rafting and Zip Line Vacation Packages.

These are just a few ideas of places to stop on a road trip from Denver heading down south. Take advantage of the wild Colorado outdoors and rich history of the region. For more information on Colorado White Water Rafting and zip line tours in the Royal Gorge region, contact us at Royal Gorge Rafting & Zip Line Tours today. Call: 719 275 7238