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Rafting the wild Arkansas River


Article and photo by Michelle Post

I love river rafting. I was first introduced to it in Texas. Every Memorial Day holiday a group from my husband’s work would raft the Guadalupe River. Some years we just floated and others we rode the rapids. Regardless of the conditions, it was always fun. So, when we moved to Colorado in 2001, one of the first things we checked into was river rafting. And, oh boy howdy, do we have rafting in Colorado!

The Arkansas River is the gem of Colorado whitewater, a rafting destination that brings in river enthusiasts from around the world.

– Travel journalist, author and entrepreneur Tim Wenger

We headed south to the Arkansas River, for it is said to be the nation’s most popular whitewater river. There are other amazing places to raft in Colorado; however, this has been the only river I have rafted so far and multiple times. We have “put in” from Cañon City and Buena Vista. And both entry points offer an amazing river adventure.

River rafting needs to be taken seriously, as the conditions of the river are dependent on the water received during the year. A river could be running slower due to less water or running faster due to receiving a lot of water. Do not underestimate the river and the conditions. Rafting season starts in May and ends in August. Therefore, the water levels are different during this 4-month period, which means the river runs differently. I found this cool site to see how fast the Arkansas River is running, www.arkansasriveroutfitters.org/water-report/.

Rafting the Arkansas is an awesome experience; however, you need to be prepared. Do your research. Read reviews of the different rafting companies. Find out the details on what is required: age restrictions, health conditions, know your abilities and that of your group, what to wear, how to prepare, learn the lingo of rafting, the best time to raft for your abilities, pay attention to the safety briefing and always listen to your rafting guide. He/she knows the river, so listen to them and do what they say, when they say it.

There are many different river rafting companies to choose from, so do your research and read the reviews. I encourage you to make sure the company you choose offers several different rafting packages that fit your abilities. I guarantee you there is a trip for every ability and you will always have fun.

For a great site of all the wonderful places to raft in Colorado, visit www.coloradorafting.net.

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