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FREQUENTLY ASKED
QUESTIONS

BEFORE YOUR RAFTING TRIP

What sets AAE apart from the rest?

Everything! This might sound like a bold statement, but we encourage you to do some research on other outfitters in the Arkansas River Valley and throughout the state of Colorado. As Colorado’s leaders in white water hospitality, we are dedicated to making sure that each of our guests feels welcome, wanted, and comfortable throughout their entire experience with us. From our highly trained professional staff, to our top-of-the-line equipment for your safety and comfort, and everything in-between we can show you the rapids of the mighty Arkansas River like no one else!

Is rafting safe?

As with any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks. Although safety cannot be guaranteed, the entire American Adventure Expeditions staff makes your safety their top priority and it shows!

Which trip is right for me?

When choosing a trip for you and your group, there are three primary factors to consider: your desired level of adventure, your desired trip duration, and the ages of your party members. Please feel free to call our friendly, helpful staff at 719-345-0340 and let us help you choose your perfect Colorado white water adventure.

Remember, when choosing your trip, please be realistic about everyone’s abilities and be sure to ask questions of our staff prior to booking. For other factors to consider when choosing your trip, please see our Rafter Responsibilities page.

Are reservations required?

Reservations are not required, but are highly recommended. We do accept walk-ins for all of our trips, based on availability.

How do I make a reservation?

You can book a rafting reservation online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or you can call 719.345.0340 and talk to one of our knowledgeable and friendly guest service representatives. They will be happy to answer any of your questions and can assist you in choosing your perfect Colorado rafting adventure.

What is the cancellation / trip change policy?

For groups of fewer than 10 guests:
Cancellations made more than 72 hours prior to the departure of the trip will receive a full refund. Any requested changes to a trip departure time, date, or river section made more than 72 hours prior to the originally scheduled departure will not result in any additional charges, but will be subject to availability.

Once you are within 72 hours of the scheduled trip departure, no changes may be made to trip departure time, date, or river section, and if you or anyone in your party needs to cancel for any reason, you will receive no refund.

For groups of 10 or more guests:
Cancellations made more than 1 week prior to the departure of the trip will receive a full refund. Any requested changes to a trip departure time, date, or river section made more than 1 week prior to the originally scheduled departure will not result in any additional charges, but will be subject to availability.

Once you are within 1 week of the scheduled trip departure, no changes may be made to trip departure time, date, or river section, and if you or anyone in your party needs to cancel for any reason, you will receive no refund.

It is your responsibility to be at your trip’s designated office at the scheduled check-in time. There are no exceptions to this policy so please remember to account for weather conditions, traffic, construction, etc.

We reserve the right to alter your scheduled trip without notice or allowance for refund. Please note that no refunds or credits will be given if your trip is altered in any way due to water levels.

Do you offer group discounts?

Of course, when it comes to rafting in Colorado, the more the merrier! We offer some of the best group discounts in the Arkansas River Valley!

Groups 10+ – 10% Discount
Groups 15+ – 15% Discount
Groups 20+ – 20% Discount

Please check out our Groups page for more information.

Are there any additional charges?

Yes, a 9.75% use and land access fee will be added to each trip. In addition, if you choose to book on-line, an additional 6% booking fee will be added to the total.

DURING YOUR RAFTING TRIP

When should I arrive?

Please arrive at your trip’s departure office at least 45 minutes prior to your scheduled white water rafting trip.

What should I wear?

Come prepared with a swimsuit and quick-drying shorts and sandals with a heel strap or tennis shoes you don’t mind getting wet. For cooler days, it’s a good idea to bring some extra layers, but be sure to avoid cotton as it will keep you cold and wet. We have modern and comfortable equipment (wetsuits, river shoes, and splash jackets) that are included at no extra charge.

Do I need to know how to swim?

All of our guests are fitted with Coast Guard approved Type V life jackets that are designed to keep you afloat in the event that you find your self out of the raft. However, swimmers are more comfortable in the water and having this skill greatly increases your ability to get out of the river if you find yourself in the water. The question you need to ask yourself is if the boat tips over or you fall out, will you be able to get yourself to shore or back to the boat without assistance? All rafters must be willing and able to participate in their own self-rescue.

What is the difference between a paddle boat and an oar boat?

In a paddle boat, everyone paddles! In an oar boat, the guide does all of the work. We offer both options, so if you have questions on which type of boat is best for your group, please ask! One of our helpful reservationists will help you choose the boat that is right for you.

How many people go in a raft?

The number of people per raft can vary from trip to trip. However, all of our rafts can comfortably accommodate seven guests and one guide.

What do the rapid ratings mean?

Rapids are rated on a scale from Class I through Class VI and are as follows:

Class I (Novice):

Moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.

Class I Colorado Rafting Trips:
Family Float

Class II (Beginner):

Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.

Class II Colorado Rafting Trips:
Family Float

Class III (Intermediate):

Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue can be easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.

Class III Colorado Rafting Trips:
Brown’s Canyon

Class IV (Advanced):

Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential.

Class IV Colorado Rafting Trips:
The Numbers

Class V (Expert):

Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts.

Class V Colorado Rafting Trips:
The Numbers

Class VI (Extreme):

These runs have almost never been attempted and often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. After a Class VI rapid has been run many times, its rating may be changed to a Class V rating.

Can I bring my camera?

If your camera is not waterproof, we do not recommend bringing it on the trip as it will get wet! However, reusable waterproof cameras are available for sale in our retail shop and are ideal for taking on rafting trips. Also, please keep in mind that Arkansas Valley Digital Imaging will be taking multiple shots of your raft during your trip, which will be available for viewing and purchase immediately following your trip.

What if the weather is bad?

Our trips leave as scheduled, rain or shine. In the event of extreme weather conditions, we do reserve the right to alter your trip.

Is lunch included?

A gourmet, riverside lunch is included on a few of our rafting adventures. On our Brown’s Canyon Full Day Trips, you’ll enjoy making your own ‘White Water Wrap’ with a garlic herb tortilla, local deli meats and cheeses, fresh greens, tomato, onion, bacon, avocado, along with dijon mustard, and chipotle mayo. We round out the meal with fresh, seasonal Colorado fruit, all-natural kettle potato chips, and fresh baked cookies. On our Numbers Full Day Trips and our Adventure packages, you’ll enjoy a hot-off-the-grill 1/3 lb burger from a local farm here in Salida on a fresh kaiser roll with all the fixings listed above, fruit, chips, and fresh baked cookies.

AFTER YOUR RAFTING TRIP

Are gratuities acceptable?

Yes. Gratuities for guides are acceptable and greatly appreciated. A typical gratuity can range from 10-20% of the cost of the experience and can be given in cash directly to the guide or left on a credit card in our retail shop.

Can we purchase souvenirs?

Absolutely! We have a beautiful first-class retail shop stocked with a wide variety of t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, snacks, drinks, etc as well as photos of you and your group on the river….come on in!

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