First, as a disclaimer, I have been in the employ of Timberline Tours for summer rafting seasons since 1994. I worked full time as a raft guide, safety kayaker, guide trainer, trip leader and operations manager until 2007. I am now a part time raft guide and safety kayaker for Timberline Tours on an on-call basis.
To my knowledge, Timberline started running commercial rafting trips on Gore Creek in 1991 or so. I understand that these trips were pioneered by the senior staff and owners of Timberline Tours/Eagle River Whitewater; Billy Mattison, Craig Poff, Dan Burks, Chris Reeder, Darryl Bangert (many years prior to his involvement with Sage Outdoor Adventures) and many others. I personally guided and safety kayaked over two dozen trips in each the 1994 and 1995 seasons, and several dozen more since then.
In regards to wtrgrl and chop217's statements about not seeing Timberline trips on Gore Creek, it has always been common practice at Timberline and most rafting outfitters to offer the "best" option to the rafting guest in regards to river and or section of river to be run on any given day. There are several factors that go into determining "best". A few of these factors are: difficulty and quality of rapids, length of trip, access at put in and take out, water levels, manmade and natural hazards. Most of these factors are not constant. Water levels change, affecting the quality and difficulty of rapids. Hazards such as low bridges, pipes, game fences and trees/strainers in the river may be there one season and gone or different the next season. Private/public property issues and construction projects can have an impact on access at put ins and takeouts. Most importantly, all of these factors must meet the expectations and be within the ability of the rafting guests, in order to run as fun and safe of a trip as possible. (Of course, when dealing with natural environments, no one can eliminate 100% of the hazards. There is always a certain level of risk involved in all river trips).
Timberline has offered trips on the lower section of Gore Creek as a class IV/"advanced" whitewater rafting trip. Traditionally, the trips put in at Ford Park. In the nineties, the most often used takeout was below River Run on the Eagle. Therefore, the trip included Dowd Chute rapid on the Eagle. At the appropriate water levels, this section offers the most excitement for someone looking for a class IV trip. However, this section involves negotiating several manmade hazards. Portaging the pipes and navigating the game fence at the west end of Intermountain, has been challenging at times since the construction of the recreation path. Also, until last season, there was a large tree on the upstream right side of the railroad trestle at the confluence of Gore Creek and the Eagle, making passage in a raft nearly impossible. To end the trip at Steven's Park at the east end of Intermountain shortens the overall trip. Putting in at the East Vail exit below Pitkin Creek adds a few miles of mostly class II+ water. Historically, the window of optimum water levels for both the lower Gore Creek section and Dowd Chute on the Eagle to be run in the same trip has been very short, averaging 2 weeks during an average runoff. In 2002, Gore Creek did not have enough water for raft trips at all.
Timberline Tours currently offers (and has offered for over 20 years) 1/2 day class IV rafting trips on local sections of rivers. Depending on some or all of the factors listed above, that trip may be run on Gore Creek (possibly combined with Dowd Chute), the Eagle River from Minturn to Avon (through Dowd Chute), or the Eagle River from below Dowd Chute to Edwards (including the Edwards mile). Timberline does not offer class II - III trips on Gore Creek as a standard option. However, I am fairly certain that a custom/private trip on the class II - III sections can be arranged.
Feel free to go to Vail River Rafting and Jeep Tours | Timberline Tours
or call 1-800-831-1414 to find out more about trips on "ANY" other "sections of river" offered.
And feel free to compare your options and generate your own impressions by contacting any of Vail area rafting companies:
Lakota Guides: Home | Lakota Guides, Whitewater River Rafting near Vail and Aspen Colorado
Nova Guides: Rafting | White Water Rafters | Colorado Activities | Nova Guides Near Vail
Sage Outdoor Adventures: Sage Home
Now the admins will probably have to move this to the Commercial Posts forum.