For generations, a prominent highlight of cherished childhood memories included the family vacation. According to research, however, Americans are vacationing less, thanks in part to increasing workloads and demanding careers.
Whitewater rafting, float trips, and stand-up paddleboarding have become increasingly popular among families who want rewarding experiences that don’t require a lot of travel or time. These activities are especially attractive to residents of Colorado who live amid one of the nation’s most scenic and exciting river systems.
According to Brandon Slate, Adventure Specialist at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, Colorado offers an incredible diversity of river-centric outdoor recreation for people of every skill level.
“Colorado plays host to some celebrated rivers that offer endless opportunity for rafting and float trips,” said Brandon. “Whether you’re looking for an easy-going, beginner-friendly experience with young children or non-stop thrills in an elevated mountain environment, it’s easy to book something, get some basic lessons and enjoy some exhilarating fun out on the water.”
While there are numerous options available, a few especially popular areas regularly attract locals and vacationers from out of state.
Brown’s Canyon is a popular destination for beginner and intermediate white-water rafters. This section of the Arkansas River offers scenic and remote sections with classic whitewater and stunning views of the picturesque natural landscape.
For advanced rafters, the Numbers section of the Arkansas River offers tight lines and steep drops as you navigate through this quintessential stretch of Colorado whitewater. You can also make this run using an inflatable kayak, which provides pulse-pounding speed and greater maneuverability.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly rafting or float trip, the river around Salida provides a calm, peaceful respite that winds through the gorgeous mountain-filled valley. It’s a great stretch of the Arkansas River for families who want to make memories with an introductory experience on milder water.
The river also offers several sections with calm waters well-suited for stand-up paddleboarding, including the Salida River run. You can also hone your skills at peaceful Trout Creek Reservoir before enjoying a guided tour down the Arkansas River while enjoying stunning vistas of the Sawatch Mountain Range.
These popular areas represent just a fraction of the many outdoor recreational opportunities available in Colorado. Unlike hiking and biking, however, river-based recreation requires friends and families to work together to achieve an exhilarating common goal.
According to Brandon, this provides a great opportunity for individuals and families to strengthen their bonds while turning new experiences into lasting memories.
“Research has shown that experiential family vacations elicit strong emotional responses in children,” said Brandon. “When families work together on rafting trips and other outdoor adventures, they strengthen bonds and create memories that last a lifetime. Colorado provides an ideal environment for inspiring outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting, float trips and stand-up paddleboarding, which are all easy on the schedule and wallet.”
In addition to elevating family vacations, white water rafting trips make great team-building activities for organizations that want to strengthen company culture. Fun, immersive and inspiring, these activities force co-workers to communicate, work together and trust one another amid an invigorating environment that’s far superior to the average corporate retreat.
If you’re new to rafting or stand-up paddleboarding, it’s a good idea to book a trip through a rafting tour company. In addition to ensuring a safer, more seamless adventure, a good provider will offer quick, informative courses taught by certified instructors. They also help you get the most from your experience amid some of Colorado’s most breathtaking areas.
While seasoned white water rafters often prefer more challenging areas that test their skills, beginners, families and intermediate rafters and paddleboarders are well-advised to schedule their adventure with a reputable tour provider.
About Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center is the state’s premier outpost for non-motorized, year-round outdoor adventures in and around the legendary Rocky Mountains. In addition to providing professional instruction and certification courses, RMOC offers guided adventures including kayaking, rafting, stand-up paddleboarding, mountain climbing and so much more. RMOC also participates in several conservation programs that help to protect our natural resources and minimize our impact on Colorado’s stunning natural environment.