Need advice for Arkansas River family trip - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-03-2008   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Need advice for Arkansas River family trip

We are thinking about doing a family (group of 4) whitewater trip to Colorado mid July. My wife is not much into camping so I was thinking about doing the "Wilderness Aware" 2 or 3 day Arkansas River trip. I guess you stay in a bed and breakfast each night. Seems kind of high at $270 per person per day but maybe that is the going rate. We've been on a couple whitewater trips but just short half day runs. Kids are 15 and 17 so I figure a class III-IV run would be about right for us without getting my wife to scared.

Has anyone used Wilderness Aware and if so how was the experience?
Colorado Inn to Inn Rafting | Wilderness Aware

Are there more economical options were you still stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast? We are in California and open to suggestions over here too.

Thanks for any advice or tips.

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Old 06-03-2008   #2
 
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For the difference in money I think I will convince my wife to camp 1 or 2 nights. So now I am trying to decide between 3 days with Arkansas River Tours for $1036 for family of 4:
Colorado White Water Rafting Tours - Arkansas River, Bighorn Canyon, Royal Gorge

or 2 days with Highside Adventure Tours for $944 that goes through the Narrows and Browns Canyon:
Rafting Colorado whitewater river raft tours

Any input about these tour companies would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2008   #3
 
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Most of the people that read these forums own their own kayaks or rafts, so responses may be slow. I have not used any of those companies in the way you ask about.

The closest I came was when some friends rafted 1/2 day Browns trip with Wilderness Aware Rafting and when I asked if I could tag along with my kayak they wanted $25. F#^& them. I just drove to the put-in and tagged along side my buddies anyway and hitched a ride at the take-out. (BTW, if a kayak takes out at their take-out, they want money for that too. F#^& them. Other companies have had no problem and welcomed the "free" safety kayaker floating along the trip.

anyway, back at the farm.....

The prices you quote don't seem that high if it includes the hotel stays and a meal or three. If you were to just camp and run the sections in seperate day trips, it would probably be more money in the long run over 3 days. If it's that much money for 2 days, then you are probably better off doing the seperate trips thing.

Royal Gorge, Numbers, Browns, Parkdale. Those are the sections that offer the best exciting rides, in that order. The water level should be back down by mid-July that the Raft Companies will get back on the Royal Gorge, (less than 3400 cfs). Not sure about Numbers cut-off.

Everything else is sort of boring in the eyes of a older teenager or young adult, according to my four siblings and parents who have all rafted all these sections several times; one having been a raft guide. If the water is low, even Parkdale will be boring. ALL Bighornsheep canyon above Parkdale is pretty mellow floating snooze fest with only the occational short class III-minus rapid. Just warning ya there.

I guess you allready picked up my opinion of Wilderness Aware Rafting.... I say go with (just about) anyone else. A smaller company will feel less like a "cattle drive."
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Old 06-03-2008   #4
 
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Check out Lakota:

Whitewater Rafting on the Arkansas River, Colorado.
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Old 06-03-2008   #5
 
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I used to guide on the ark and Wilderness Aware does the most on river over nighters. I think you should go for the wilderness experience and camp on river. You will be very well taken care of and the camping is super cushy with amazing food. They bring everything and cook for you. If you chose the bed and breakfast route, you might as well get your own hotels and just do day trips on different sections, then you can chose whatever company you want. River Runners has a lot of experienced guides you could request (Dan K. is a very informative guy who would love to spend a couple days with you and your family). Have fun!
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Originally Posted by PilotSmith View Post
We are thinking about doing a family (group of 4) whitewater trip to Colorado mid July. My wife is not much into camping so I was thinking about doing the "Wilderness Aware" 2 or 3 day Arkansas River trip. I guess you stay in a bed and breakfast each night. Seems kind of high at $270 per person per day but maybe that is the going rate. We've been on a couple whitewater trips but just short half day runs. Kids are 15 and 17 so I figure a class III-IV run would be about right for us without getting my wife to scared.

Has anyone used Wilderness Aware and if so how was the experience?
Colorado Inn to Inn Rafting | Wilderness Aware

Are there more economical options were you still stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast? We are in California and open to suggestions over here too.

Thanks for any advice or tips.
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Old 06-04-2008   #6
 
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I think I have her convinced now for the 2 day trip with river camping as that only requires "roughing it" one night. The princes likes her comfy bed... So now it is up to selecting which one to go with.
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Old 06-04-2008   #7
EZ
 
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I think the Browns Canyon section would be the best camping for you. The Royal Gorge / Big Horn Sheep Canyon is likely going to be across the river from a US Highway and not wilderness at all. Browns Canyon has much more of a wilderness character and once you are at camp for the afternoon/evening you won't see many other folks. Don't get me wrong, during the day there will be a ton of other rafters, but not during camping hours. Doing the Browns Canyon section puts you around Buena Vista which has much better Bed and Breakfast and Hot Springs options.

Performance Tours runs great trips with great guides. I am also familiar with Dan at River Runners and he is truly a legend. Whichever outfitter you choose, be sure to specify that you want experienced guides.

Have fun!
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Old 06-05-2008   #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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I agree with Ed's opinion of WA, but they do run the most overnight trips on the Ark. That said, I'd stay away from HAT. ART is a great company, but I'd stay away from the Bighorn Sheep area for an overnight trip. Make sure your 2 day trip runs the Narrows and Browns Canyon for a longer trip. Some companies do a two day trip that's just Browns Canyon. That's too short for an overnight trip. It looks like River Runners and WA are the companies that run the Narrows and Browns. I'd check with River Runners first. WA is a competent company, they just rub fellow boaters the wrong way with their attitude. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-05-2008   #9
 
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Lakota does Narrows/Browns, and runs much smaller trips than the big cattle car guys like RR or WA. Real food too.
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Old 06-05-2008   #10
 
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The camping at ART is nice and quiet, away from the road. The canyon walls surrounding their base are super-sweet. Also the Royal Gorge is waaaay more fun for teenagers and parents alike than Browns ever will be.....

Disclaimer: I guide for ART so my opinion is biased. But if you don't believe me 100% ask around, Cotopaxi is a beautiful place even if its not the "wilderness experience" that Brown's can provide after 6 PM and before 10AM.....If you decide to go with us....Ask for Zach W. I'll hook you up with a great weekend of paddling!

--Zach
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