Raft the Upper Colorado River for a Geography Lesson with Kodi

If you’re looking for a fun and informative outdoor activity, then consider rafting the Upper Colorado River (nicknamed the Upper C). Not only will you get to experience one of the most beautiful stretches of river in the country, but you’ll also learn about its history with a splash of adventure. Kodi’s experienced raft guides know everything there is to know about this region and are happy to share it with you. Continue to read our blog below for some facts about the Colorado River and what you should expect while rafting the Upper C with us!

A little history of the Colorado River

The Colorado River is one of the great rivers of North America. It rises in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, and flows southwest through Colorado Plateau country for about 2,330 miles (3,745 kilometers) before emptying into the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico. Its drainage basin covers some 337,000 square miles (869,000 square kilometers). The year-over-year average flow of Upper C is about 956 cubic feet per second.

The upper section of the river flows through a series of canyons in the Rocky Mountains. The largest tributary is the Green River, which joins the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam. Other important tributaries are the Gunnison and San Juan rivers. Most of the water in the upper river is used for irrigation and domestic purposes. In 1976 the United States and Mexico signed a treaty that guarantees a certain amount of water to Mexico from the Colorado River.

The headwater of the Colorado River is located high in the Rocky Mountains. The main stem of the river begins where the Grand and Eagle rivers converge near Granby, Colorado. From there, it flows northwestward through Rocky Mountain National Park before turning southwestward towards its final destination. Along its journey, it receives water from several large tributaries, including the Blue River, which originates in Silverthorne, Colorado. It also passes through several major US states including Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, before emptying into the Gulf of California. Despite its long journey, the Colorado River is only about 12 feet (3.7 meters) deep on average and rarely more than 50 feet (15 meters) deep at its deepest point.

Did you know that Colorado and Hawaii are the only two US states that have no rivers flowing into the state from other places, only rivers flowing out? All other US states have at least one river flowing in from a neighboring state. Colorado’s rivers all flow into the Gulf of Mexico, while Hawaii’s rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean. The fact that Colorado and Hawaii are the only two states with this distinction is pretty amazing. Who would have thought that such a small thing would make them so unique?

What to expect while rafting with Kodi on the Upper C

Rafting the Upper C is a great way to spend a day in the Colorado sun. We put-in at Pumphouse Campground, but where we take-out depends on if you are joining us for an overnight trip, half-day trip, or full-day trip. This section of the river is full of mellow Class II and Class III waves that provide enough excitement to keep things interesting, but not so large that you’ll be constantly hanging on for dear life.

The first class lll rapid is called The Eye of the Needle and it’s a great test of rafting skills. After The Eye of the Needle Rapid, the river flows into a wide flat open area that continues for about five miles of calm class ll rapids for a nice mellow ride.

Next, we approach the second Class lll rapid called Yarmony. Yarmony is known for its strong currents and large waves that are about half a mile long. One of the best parts of this rapid is that it starts with a long wave train… If you don’t know what this is… think ULTIMATE FUN or a succession of similar waves at equal intervals. But don’t worry, things calm down after that. Just be sure to watch out for the favorite hot springs on the river left, and you’ll be rafting the Upper C like a pro in no time with the help of our expert guides!

Get a taste of Colorado’s history on your next rafting trip with Kodi Rafting Company. Our experienced guides will take you through the dramatic scenery of the Upper Colorado River, while sharing stories of the area’s colorful past. Whether you’re a first-time rafter or an experienced adventurer, our trips are sure to excite and inspire you. So join us for a journey down America’s “forgotten river”!


Horseback Riding in the Rocky Mountains

Ride on a saddle, then ride on a whitewater river raft, all in one day! One of the most extraordinary experiences you can have on your Colorado vacation is the intimacy and connection with nature by getting up close and personal with a beautiful horse. While horseback riding through Colorado’s unique landscapes, you can’t resist feeling closer to nature and Colorado’s storied history. 

Did you know that horseback riding began as far back as 6000 BC? Of course at this time it wasn’t for the pleasure of seeing Colorado’s unbelievable landscape. Horses were used for war, hunting for food, and as a critical mode of transportation. Here at Kodi Rafting, we have a deep connection with Colorado’s history of horseback riding, and we look forward to you experiencing it for yourself on your next saddle paddle trip! 

Are you a first-time horseback rider? 

As a novice rider, or a person with pretty basic experience with horses, you can try to understand horseback lingo and the associated equipment; so let’s dive deep into bovine terminology. 

What is a horseback riding path called?

  • The path or trail you ride a horse on has many names and they are… Bridle path, bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, bridle road, and horse trail. 

How about a saddle? 

  • A saddle is nearly always constructed of leather and placed on the back of the horse for the rider to sit on and gain stability. Saddles will make it much easier for you as the rider to safely and effectively guide and control your horse. 

What is a stirrup?

  • A stirrup is a ring that is attached to the saddle. The point of a stirrup is to hold the rider’s foot securely while riding the horse. You can even stand up on a stirrup when the horse gallops and you don’t want your body to bounce as much during the ride.

What does it mean when a horse is broken-in? 

  • A broke-in horse is now safe to ride, it is no longer unbroke or wild and untamed. You may also hear the terms green broke and dead broke. 

What is a Foal? 

  • A foal is a female or male horse that is under the age of one which has not yet been weaned from its mother. The foal is not to be confused with in foal, which means a pregnant mare, or female horse.

I was asked to change rein.

  • When asked to change rein while riding a horse, this simply means to change the direction you and the horse are heading. Don’t worry, you’ll learn this before you take off down the path! 

Don’t forget to keep your Heels Down.

  • This is one thing you’ll often hear as you are riding. You may think… Ok, I will jam my heels down into the stirrup, but this is wrong. Instead, let your weight drop into your heels rather than onto the ball of your foot and into the stirrup. If you are a skier or snowboarder, think about your center of gravity. 

Open your chest.

  • This means you are slumping and you need to change your posture just as your momma taught you to “sit up straight!” When slumped over you become less balanced and flexible, which means you are less able to follow your horse’s movements and puts your body into a position that is less comfortable and you become more prone to discomfort.

Now that you understand the lingo… Let’s jump into some tips for first-time riders! 

  • Wear the proper attire… Don’t worry, we have you covered! Your stable master will provide you a helmet, but please be sure to wear proper western riding attire. Jeans and boots are best, but if you don’t have boots you can wear your tennis shoes and long pants. Even hiking pants and boots will work fine.
  • Ride relaxed and go slow. It is super important for your safety and the horse’s safety that you always stay in control of your horse. Being relaxed and trying to connect with your horse is a great way to really enjoy the ride.
  • Remember a horse is a living creature and it can sense your fear or lack of confidence in yourself. So when approaching the horse, mounting the horse, and riding the horse, always stay confident in yourself! You are in charge, not the horse. 
  • Proper posture is important. Focus on not slouching and staying balanced; This will help your horse be comfortable, mentally and physically.
  • Remember to look where you want to go. If you are looking to the left or the right, your horse will go that way, so keep looking at your point of direction, just sneaking a glance at the scenery, almost like the way you drive a car.

Ok, you may be thinking… Why would I need to see Colorado from the seat of a saddle? The main answer is why not when you can do them both in one day through Kodi Rafting and our partner Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Stables!  Horses have always played a large part in Colorado’s history, so on your vacation be sure to fully immerse yourself in all that the beautiful state of Colorado has to offer! 

For more information on horseback riding in the Rockies, be sure to check out our blog here. To sign up for your saddle paddle adventure in Buena Vista and Nathrop, click here. Ohhh, and don’t forget when you sign up for our saddle paddle package you will save money while experiencing the two most popular summer activities in Colorado. 

We look forward to taking you on your next adventure of a lifetime, both on land and water! Saddle up and forward paddle!


The Iconic Keystone Resort: A Great Place for Your Vacation

There’s time to squeeze in a family vacation this year!  Whether you’re up for fun in the summer sun or letting things cool down, there’s one place that’s perfect year-round. Keystone Resort located in the Rocky Mountains has something for everyone. Warm weather lovers and winter cold weather fans will both enjoy their time here. But a word of warning. Once you experience your time at Keystone, you’ll want to experience it all for every season. Here are the best things to do no matter what time of year you prefer.

Summer Means Happy Times and Bright Sunshine

First up on the list are the Keystone Resort summer activities but don’t let that fool you. Some of these are amazing in the wintertime as well. It all depends on how much you love the weather from one season to the next! Summer activities at the top of Dercum Mountain are available Wednesday through Sunday. So planning ahead will set your trip up for success. And always keep on the lookout for the many concerts and live shows happening.

Self Care

Mountain Top Yoga

Heading to the resort to gain a little Shanti (peace)? Visiting in July and August? You’re in luck because there’s no need to do it in your room alone. Head to the top of Dercum Mountain to practice with their certified Yoga instructors. Take in the awe-inspiring view of 10 miles worth of mountain range after riding the gondola to your Yoga site. What better place to relieve stress, and improve muscle strength than the Rockies? Remember to plan ahead and make reservations as these spots fill up fast. And children are welcome to come along as well!

 

Spa and Salon

It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting for a white water rafting trip or a little R&R. The spa and salon treatments are amazing! Let the scenery outside jumpstart the dopamine while you receive a detoxifying scrub. Or snag a Nuface Cellular Lift Facial to soften the skin and strengthen the muscles. This is one of Keystone Resort’s year-round luxuries and one only offered when you stay as a Keystone guest. Talk about the star treatment!

Let’s Get Physical… Activity That Is

Lakeside Village

Planning a trip between June and September? Love water-based activities with the family? Then Lakeside Village is the place to check out. It sports a 5-acre mountain lake with a bike path that runs through the resort. You’re going to run out of daylight before all the activities. Take the kids out in a kayak or canoe. Or share a romantic standup paddleboard ride with your significant other. And when you’re done with the water and bike trail,  there are yard games like Giant Jenga and Cornhole to jump in on. Finish up the day lounging in one of the free hammocks with a cocktail in hand – and you’ve completed one rewarding vacation day.

Keystone Stables

The June through September crowd has a great time at the Keystone Stables. They offer both horse and wagon riding, depending on your preference. These are guided of course so no need to master horseback riding before you arrive! You’ll explore the scenic Soda Creek Valley while your guide provides a history lesson. Complete your ride with a wagon dinner. And stop for drinks at the original Keystone homestead. If the kids want to see some horses and forego the ride, you’re in luck. It’s free to visit, snap some photos, and they’re available year round!

 

World Renowned Golfing

Like to golf? Keystone sports two world-class courses for you to enjoy. The River Course and the Ranch for a total of 36 beautiful holes in one of the most desirable golf locations. There are family programs to get the kids out on the course and lessons available for newbies. And guests of Keystone Lodge receive free golf on the day they arrive! These courses close in October when the snow starts flying, so planning ahead for tee time is a must.

The Color of Winter

During the winter season, the activities are as abundant as the snow. There’s magic for kids and adults alike on a Keystone winter trip. Both indoor and outdoor fun can be had with activities you won’t find anywhere else. Check out the top winter activities, bundle up, and come ready to make snowy memories!

Ice Skating

What’s winter without ice skating? There are plenty of opportunities for gliding around on the ice here! Zip around 5 acres of the largest outdoor rink in North America. Or Dercum Square offers another 7.000 square feet of ice to enjoy! Or just enjoy skating from the sidelines and the festive environments from either location. Weather can affect functioning so make sure to call ahead before arriving at the rinks.

 

Mountain Tours

Does traversing the snow-covered Rocky mountains sound out of your league?  Well, Keystone offers two fun ways to adventure. If everyone in your party is 15 years old or older, guides will take you on snowmobiles through the high country. No prior experience is needed. Bringing along a younger crowd? The snow cats are for you! Take a guided excursion through some of the best scenery in the mountains. Grab your passes early and stand by for winter weather!

 

Skiing and Tubing

What’s a trip to the Colorado Rockies without skiing or snow tubing? Keystone Ski school is a part of Vail Resorts and offers world-class instruction to all ages. So you can enjoy the best terrain around and have the kids skiing green slopes in a matter of hours! And of course if you’re an adept skier, Keystone’s 3,148 skiable acres, 20 lifts, and 128 runs truly offers something for every skier level.

Not wanting to take up the ski poles? Then scream your face off as you tube down the Mountaintop tubing hill. With a lift making constant round trips, you’ll spend hours racing down the slope while laughing and making memories the whole time.

 

Success In Life is What You Eat

No matter the season you choose to visit, food is a staple. Both Keystone Resort and the surrounding area have options galore. Kickapoo Tavern offers a great grill and bar with friendly staff. Snake River Saloon and Steakhouse delivers great live music. And Dos Locos Mexican Cantina has the best margaritas around! Want something fancier? Keystone Ranch offers beautiful views of the ski area and golf course, and Ski Tip is arguably the best restaurant in the county. The options are varied and many!

Summer. Winter. Pick a time and take your trip to the Colorado Rockies and visit the amazing Keystone Resort. 

If you’re looking for more summer activities, come visit us at Kodi Rafting for the best on-river experiences around. We’d love to see you and show you more of what Colorado offers! Enjoy your time and we can’t wait to see you soon!


Winter Events in Breckenridge and Summit County

While we take our winter break from whitewater rafting and enjoying Buena Vista’s Arkansas River Valley, winter has arrived in the mountains as we gear up for a new ski season, holiday tree lighting, Santa races, and an epic winter wonderland!

Since so many of our annual traditions were a washout in 2020 due to pandemic-postponed events, we’re expecting winter festivities to be in high demand this year with our favorite events making their triumphant comeback. All the events listed will of course be adhering to public health and safety regulations required for Colorado, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a great time and celebrate!

 

Ski season is upon us! Let’s face it – being in the mountains during winter is truly a special kind of lifestyle. We anxiously await ‘big dumps’ so we can pull out our skis and snowboards and get them waxed and tuned in anticipation of the resorts’ opening days. Although somewhat of a guesstimate of opening dates for a couple of these ski areas, we cannot wait to see our favorite resorts’ chairs turning. Here’s a breakdown of when we can expect to get the ski season started:

 

Keystone Ski Resort: opened October 22nd | Breckenridge Ski Resort: November 12th | Copper Mountain: November 16th | Loveland Ski Area: October 31st | Arapahoe Basin: opened October 17th

Ski season just wouldn’t be complete without an ode to Ullr. Who is that, you ask? Ullr is the Norwegian God of snow and Breckenridge visitors and locals gather to praise the Norse God of snow in hopes of a powder-filled ski season. Legend has it that if you party hard at Ullr Fest, we’ll be blessed with heaps of fresh snow. This unique festival includes a parade, world’s longest recorded Shotski, a massive fire fueled by dry, old Christmas trees and skis, as well as competitions and aerial tricks demonstrated by ski school instructors and local kids. Ullr Fest has always been about fun and partying…and Breckenridge surely knows how to hold a “killer party, dude.” Just ask any of the locals. This is a family-friendly event, (minus the Shotksi which requires a 21+ photo ID to participate). Grab your viking hat, join the local tradition, and enjoy the outdoor celebrations in high spirits for a snowy winter ahead. Ullr Fest will be happening December 8-December 12, 2021 in the Town of Breckenridge.

 

Ullr fest participants hold up skis and cups promoting snow-based and whitewater rafting activities
photo credit: @gobreck

 

photo credit: @gobreck

 

photo credit: @gobreck

What better way to get in the spirit of the holiday season than putting on a Santa costume and running down the streets of Breckenridge with hundreds of other people dressed up in Santa costumes? That’s right- it’s the beloved Santa Race which takes place on Main Street in downtown Breckenridge on December 4th. During this special annual event, you can expect to see the lighting of 250,000 LED holiday lights that will continue to sparkle and spread joy all winter long. Coupled with the tree lighting and Santa Race, you can also enjoy the holiday Dog Parade. Stay tuned for updates as we approach this event in Breckenridge at https://gobreck.com/event/lighting-breckenridge-race-santas and sign up in advance and get your race number.

 

 

Mark your calendars for this year’s annual winter Dew Tour held at Copper Mountain. December 16-19 Dew Tour will serve as a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Olympic qualifying event for men’s and women’s halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding and freeskiing competitions. Spectators are encouraged to watch the event unfold from the sidelines as the world’s best men and women snowboarders and freeskiers compete for spots to represent the United States at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China, February 4-22, 2022. Dew Tour is a fun event to see some seriously talented athletes do their thing right in our backyard. You don’t want to miss this!

 

If one thing is for sure, the stoke for the 2021/2022 winter season is already high. Of course summer in Summit County is amazing, but there is nothing quite like enjoying the mountains with a fresh layer of snow. With all of these fun community events coming up for the 2021 winter season, Summit County is where you want to be. From world-class ski resorts in your backyard, to dancing under the stars for Ullr, and bringing some Christmas cheer by wearing a Santa suit while running down the streets of Breckenridge, winter in the mountains is sure to be a blast.

 


The Majestic Arkansas River

We’re so lucky to call Colorado home not only for the endless beauty, but because we get to raft one of the longest and most magnificent rivers in the country - the beautiful Arkansas River. The Arkansas River runs through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, with the river’s source starting in our state of Colorado near Leadville, and dumping out into the Gulf of Mexico. The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River and is the sixth-longest river in the United States, making it one of America’s most popular rivers for adventure seekers and water enthusiasts alike. The Arkansas River runs as a steep, fast-flowing mountain river through the Rocky Mountains in it’s narrow valley dropping 4,600 feet in 120 miles- making it perfect for whitewater rafting.

So, what’s the major significance of this particular river? Millions of years ago, the Rocky Mountains formed the Sawatch Mountain Range and over time, rain and snow runoff from these mountains sculpted the rocks creating jagged peaks and sweeping valleys. This shaped the landscape all the way from the Colorado mountains to where it flows into the Mississippi River in Arkansas.

Once it was formed long ago, the Arkansas River played an important role in western population expansion. From 1819 to 1846, the Arkansas River was the official border between Spanish Mexico and the United States. It was only after the Mexican-American war that the Arkansas River was said to lie within the boundaries of the United States. There was also a brief gold rush along the river which attracted thousands of early explorers to look for gold in its waters, but it wasn’t long before the gold was exhausted and gold seekers moved on elsewhere.

While irrigation is still significant along the Arkansas River in eastern Colorado and western Kansas, water management has helped to keep the river flowing throughout the year. Managing the water levels enables white water rafting groups to enjoy this river responsibly during summer months. The Ark, as locals call it, gains momentum as it flows past some of the biggest mountains in Colorado, benefiting from their abundant snowmelt in the spring and summer and the tributaries that feed it. Water levels vary depending on the amount of snow and precipitation we receive each winter season which melts from the many mountains surrounding the river. Just imagine how much water comes down from some of our tallest peaks that are 14,000 ft tall! After snowmelt has run out, get it while the gettin’ is good because the Arkansas' raftable flows only happen during a specific time of the year, with that flow slowing by mid-August. Basically, Clear Creek Reservoir, which is 3-4 miles downstream of Granite pumps water into the Arkansas so that the water levels don’t go below a certain raftable level during our high peak summer months.

KODI Rafting’s Arkansas River raft trips range from mild, scenic floats to world famous class III to class IV whitewater. Our most popular Arkansas River trips take guests through the gorgeous Browns Canyon National Monument or through the raging rapids of the Numbers north of Buena Vista. The Arkansas River is ideal for families with young children, groups with mixed skill levels, and adventurous teens and adults. Choose your river trip here and contact us today for information and reservations online or give us a call at 970-668-1548, so we can help guide your plan for experiencing the waters of the Arkansas River!


The Beautiful Scenic Byway from Breckenridge to Buena Vista

We recognize that many of our guests who choose not to stay in Buena Vista, stay in Summit County instead, and we totally understand the appeal! Summit County, including Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne, Copper Mountain, and Keystone, has some amazing mountains to explore, endless fun activities, and it’s only about 60 miles from Buena Vista. In fact, about 60% of Kodi’s whitewater rafting guests stay in Summit County. It’s pretty easy to get from Breckenridge to Buena Vista and depending on if you’d like to take the more scenic route or not, you have a couple of options of how you can get to BV.

The more direct and quicker way is going to be taking highway 9 south to Fairplay from Summit County. Once you get to Fairplay, you’ll make a right turn onto US Hwy 285 South and stay on that road for about 34 miles. You’ll come upon some incredible views of the Collegiate Peaks which means you’re close to BV. You’ll reach a traffic light and then turn right heading towards Buena Vista on US-24 West. Drive through the darling town of BV and make note of all the delicious restaurants you’ll have to come back to after your rafting trip. BV has some of the tastiest locally-run restaurants you won’t want to miss! After about 5 miles you’ll make a left turn on Bear Trail into KODI Rafting’s parking lot and head into the front office to get signed in. This is the quickest way to get to BV from Summit County and is definitely a beautiful option as the road follows the Colorado River all the way to BV. There’s no doubt that you’ll see some beautiful sights on your drive!

If you have some more time to explore and are looking for even more incredible views to enjoy, you can also try the ‘scenic byway’ or ‘back way’ which goes through Leadville, a quirky and fun historic town in Colorado.

For this route, head north on Highway 9 through Frisco. Hop on I-70 West towards Copper Mountain and get off at Copper’s exit 195. As you’re driving from Frisco to Copper, take a look on the left side and note how many avalanche paths you can spot. Once you get off Copper’s exit be sure to look for mile marker 21 near Copper Mountain- we had a massive avalanche occur here and the tree and boulder debris field is interesting to see. We think Copper Mountain should get its own shout-out since it’s such a cool little mountain town. In the summer, enjoy their summer activities such as bungee jumping, go-karts, an alpine coaster, water bumper boats, and more.

Continue on CO-91 South towards Leadville. Keep your eyes to the left side of the road and check out the beautiful Mayflower Gulch as you pass by. Stop and grab a picture or even mark it on your maps to come back to later! This is one of the most picturesque hikes around, so if you have a chance to come back and hike it we highly recommend it! Along your way, you’ll also pass lots of old log cabins, cool old ranches, the Arkansas River headwaters, dirt roads, ranch animals, and mountain passes. It’s about 30 miles of driving on this road until you reach Leadville. If you have time, get out of your car and explore this historic little mining town. So much mining history and a museum are in Leadville with its handful of cute shops, nice restaurants, and epic views of the Collegiate Peaks in the background. Once you pass through Leadville, hop on to US-24 East and stay on this road for about 32 beautiful miles. By the time you’ve gone that far, you’ve reached Bear Trail and your destination of KODI Rafting is on your right.

Whichever way you’re planning on reaching us, we hope you take some time to really enjoy the amazing sights along the way! Colorado is such a beautiful place to explore and we hope you see the drive to us as an adventure, no matter if you’re staying in Summit County or even if you’re already in Buena Vista. Choose your river trip here and contact us today for information and reservations here online or give us a call at 970-668-1548, so we can help plan the highlight of your vacation!


Planning the Perfect Guys Trip

As life gets more complicated, it grows harder to stay in touch with our friends due to jobs, families, cross-country moves, you name it! So should you just give up and say, “I guess we’ll just see each other on social media from now on.”? No way! The answer is to plan an annual guy’s trip. It’s easy to create a habit, or ritual, of meeting up with your buddies in person every year.

Whether you’re trying to put together the best bachelor party in recorded history, you want some special one-on-one time with your sons, or you just want a memorable weekend with the college buds, we’re here to provide options for an awesome guys trip in the Buena Vista area.

 

Honestly, a getaway to Colorado just isn’t complete without a trip down the river. We’ve got you covered for that adventure! From class III trips involving some difficulty navigating objects (rocks!), to the class V thrill seeker/experts-only trip, you’re not going to want to skip out on the high adventure that whitewater rafting gives your group of guys. Join us for a rafting/zip-lining combo to double up the adventure. Enjoy two fun, quintessential Colorado activities in one easy, incredible day. Zip and Raft the Arkansas River starts at the Arkansas River Outpost for our 1/2 Day Browns Canyon raft trip—one of the world’s most popular whitewater rafting adventures! A whitewater rafting trip is a staple adventure when venturing to the mountains, and we’re here to help lead your guys on the experience of a lifetime.

 

After a day on the river, keep up the outdoor adventure by experiencing Colorado’s beauty in the summer with a camping trip. There are tons of options of where to camp, but to narrow it down to a few, here’s what we suggest: For those desiring an off-grid experience, dispersed camping on BLM land could be the perfect option for you. With few amenities and more immersion in the great outdoors, dispersed camping is definitely more of a rustic experience. Still pack light, but make sure to bring plenty of warm layers (it gets chilly at night even in the summer!), a sturdy tent with a rain fly, and ample water (including for washing up) for a trip to any of these dispersed campgrounds!

 

River rafting camping trips include a wilderness campsite with an erected tent and hanging hammock

For dispersed camping near a mountain lake, head to Baldwin Lake, Hancock Lakes, or Pomeroy Lakes. With high-altitude lakes and stunning views, these campgrounds are perfect for those who want to bring a fishing rod along or take a very cold water dip. Make sure to find a place to pitch your tent at least 100 ft from the lakeshores to protect the pristine alpine environment. It’s also super important to check the local guidelines for fire restrictions, you may be restricted to your camp stove. Know before you go!

As we mentioned, while you’re camping with your guys, fishing in any of the numerous bodies of water is a must do. Our lakes, rivers, and streams in Colorado are filled with loads of different fish species, with trout being the most prevalent. Some local fishing spots we recommend checking out near Buena Vista are the Arkansas River, Arthur Lake, Blue Lake, creek fishing, and high altitude lakes. The Arkansas River has gained national recognition for the quality of its fishing and the many aquatic insects which are the source of its consistent dry fly fishing. There are high elevation meadow segments, steep bouldered canyons, and miles of productive pocket water holding 1500-4000 trout per mile. For more info on fly fishing or to book a guided trip, check out Ark Anglers, a local BV company that is well respected in the industry.

 

From May to October, Colorado boasts some of the most exciting and picturesque off roading trails in the country. When you come out with your guys, renting ATVs, 4-wheelers, or a heavy-duty Jeep is another thrill you’ll want to add to the list of activities. We recommend giving BV Jeeps or NOVA Guides out of Camp Hale a call for trail recommendations and rentals for a half-day, full-day, or even a multi-day adventure. Exploring the Buena Vista area on a high powered machine gives way to some pretty special hidden places in the mountains you guys won’t want to miss!

 

After your days of packed adventures, head over to one of our favorite places in BV, Deerhammer Distillery located at 321 E Main Street. The cocktails are handcrafted and delicious. Deerhammer is known for the best Sloe Gin Fizz ever, and they distill single malts, bourbon, rye, limited run single barrel spirits including a clear whitewater whiskey that is infinitely drinkable. Get a cocktail, take the tour with said cocktail in hand, mingle with the raft guides and other colorful residents that frequent this local institution. And of course, take home a bottle with a couple of recipes to relive the experience at home after you enjoy their funky little patio. And the food truck on the patio is a great place for food too. The Distillery is definitely a fun place for you and the guys to hang! For other great food and beverage options, here is a recent article highlighting some of our favorites!

 

We’re looking forward to being the peak of a great adventure with the guys by showing you a great time on the river. We hope these other fun ideas will make for an unforgettable trip that you’ll want to make a yearly ritual. No matter what fun activities you plan, we know that a great guy getaway is going to offer activities that the whole group can get on board with, and it will give you the chance to interact with your fellow guys in a really fun atmosphere, so enjoy all the possibilities of a great outdoor adventure! Colorado will give you guys all of that and so much more because it’s such a special place and truly the perfect dude-centric getaway.

 


Fun Places to Eat in Buena Vista

Now that times are changing and our river community is opening up again, we’re especially excited to meet up with friends to enjoy some food out on the town! We’re so enthused about this summer season and we know you are too, so make sure you’re fueled up when you come on the river with us, in between activities (horseback riding, ziplining, biking, enjoying the hot springs, and of course white water rafting), or quench your hunger after you finish your day of whitewater rafting at these delicious spots around Buena Vista. One of the most common questions we get at the BV outpost is “Where do you like to eat around here?” So straight from the mouths of our guides, we’re sharing the inside scoop on some of their favorite places. This list is in no particular order, because each one is so delicious for different reasons and tastes!

  1. One of our favorites is the Deerhammer Distillery at 321 E Main Street. The cocktails are handcrafted and delicious. Deerhammer is known for the best Sloe Gin Fizz ever, and they distill single malts, bourbon, rye, limited run single barrel spirits including a clear whitewater whiskey that is infinitely drinkable. Get a cocktail, take the tour with said cocktail in hand, mingle with the raft guides and other colorful residents that frequent this local institution. And of course, take home a bottle with a couple of recipes to relive the experience at home after you enjoy their funky little patio. And the food truck on the patio is a great place for food too.
  1. A few doors down from Deerhammer is a gourmet hot dog food truck, owned by a former KODI raft guide Danny aka “Res-Q” named Fancy Weiner. Seattle Dog & the Jalapeño popper are out of this world hot dog combos. Support a local business and a super cool raft guide by grabbing one of the best weiners you’ll likely ever have! And of course pick up a Fancy Weiner shirt or something to take home and get a laugh from your friends.
  1. Buena Viking is a food truck located right off Main Street and every item will, without a doubt, make you want to come back for more because the flavors are simply delicious! Featuring elevated burgers, sandwiches and mouth watering sides, The Buena Viking is a favorite among KODI guides and once you make a stop there you’ll understand why!
  1. While we’re on the topic of raft guides who own food trucks, head to The Olive for a super tasty Mediterranean spot. If you’re looking for a healthy vegan and vegetarian place in town, this is the food truck for you! Gyros, falafels, and even gluten free options are all on the menu at the Olive. Support local, and buy delicious healthy Mediterranean food prepared with a lot of love.
  1. Casa Sanchez will satisfy your Mexican food cravings again and again! Located at 314 Charles Street, Casa Sanchez has an extensive menu of burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and pretty much any Mexican dish you could possibly be imagining. Big, healthy portions of food are paired with the perfect sized margaritas, making Casa Sanchez one of our guides’ favorite places in town!
  2. Open Thursday- Monday and located at 234 Highway 24S, Biggies Subs is best known for their steak and cheese hoagie- you gotta try it! They also serve reubens, gyros, salads, cold subs, and a wide selection of fried foods. Try one of their own creations The Biggie, The Stinger, or the Ham Stinger. The KODI team couldn’t stop raving about their sandwiches. Also on their menu, we recommend you try one of the Buena Vista locals favorites: The Green Chili Philly, Hot Roast Beef & Cheddar, or the Turkey, Bacon, Ranch Pita - yum!

Well, there you have it! Locals know best, so we’re sure you won’t be disappointed with any of these delicious options. With most cafes and restaurants fully opening up, feel free to grab lunch in town and bring it over to KODI’s picnic tables to enjoy by the river before, after, or in between your adventures. Whether you want to arrive early for your rafting trip or save it for after, you and your group are more than welcome to refuel at our picnic tables we have set up outside with one of the best views around and plenty of parking!

We’re so excited as this rafting season begins, and can’t wait to see you on the river! Choose your river trip here and contact us today for information and reservations online or call us at 970-668-1548 so we can help plan the highlight of your vacation!


Camping Near Buena Vista

Camping is the quintessential way to get the full Rocky Mountain experience! Whether your idea of camping is in a picturesque and remote campsite, a site with all of the amenities, or in the comfort of an RV, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy camping near Buena Vista. And with plenty of outdoor adventure to be found in Buena Vista, there’s no better place to pitch a tent or park your camper! 

Dispersed Camping on BLM Land Near Buena Vista 

For those desiring an off-grid experience, dispersed camping on BLM land (meaning land owned by the Bureau of Land Management) could be the perfect option for you. With few amenities and more immersion in the great outdoors, dispersed camping is definitely more of a rustic experience. Still pack light, but make sure to bring plenty of warm layers, a sturdy tent, and ample water (including for washing up) for a trip to any of these dispersed campgrounds!

For dispersed camping near a mountain lake, head to Baldwin Lake, Hancock Lakes, or Pomeroy Lakes. With high-altitude lakes and stunning views, these campgrounds are perfect for those who want to bring a fishing rod along or take a very cold water dip. Make sure to find a place to pitch your tent at least 100 ft from the lakeshores to protect the pristine environment.

Browns Creek Trail also offers dispersed camping and has the added benefit of restrooms, which can be an important consideration. The Colorado Trail #1776 and Fourmile Travel Management Area also offer dispersed camping as well as space for activities like hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Explore the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness as you hike the North Cottonwood Trail. This trail extends for 4.3 miles and leads to Kroenke Lake. Campers can park along the road to North Cottonwood Trail which is perfect for camping to get an early start on this beautiful trail. 

Buena Vista Campgrounds with all the Bells and Whistles

If you desire amenities while you camp or plan to bring an RV along, you can check out these paid camping sites. Campsites allow the convenience of on-site showers, restrooms, and more as well as the relief of having a saved spot when you book your reservation in advance. There’s no wandering around in the woods looking for a site when you reserve a campsite! 

The Arkansas River Rim Campground & R.V. Park offers tent sites, recreational vehicle sites, and camper cabins for nightly and weekly rates. This campground features amenities including restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, on-site river access, WiFi, and even ice and firewood available for purchase. 

For creekfront camping, head to the Chalk Creek Campground & RV Park. With both tent sites and space for R.V.s, this campsite offers access to Chalk Creek, a playground, games, and an on-site store stocked with all campground necessities! For even more comfort, you can book a cabin that comes complete with a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen.

Book a tent site, R.V. site, cabin, or a yurt at Arrowhead Point Campground & Cabins. Amenities like a pavilion, playground, sand volleyball court, badminton court, horseshoe pits, restrooms, laundry facilities, and even an espresso bar will make sure that you never run out of fun and entertainment while camping! 

Group and raft guide maneuvering bumpy river rapids on an advanced whitewater rafting adventure

Things to Do

Between nights sleeping in your tent or in your RV, explore the stunning natural scenery that awaits in Buena Vista! From hiking, horseback riding, and of course white water rafting, you can’t beat an opportunity to get a true Rocky Mountain experience. 

For hikers who want to gain some serious altitude, the Collegiate Peaks can be found outside of Buena Vista and feature a handful of 14’ers named after Ivy League Universities like Mt. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Oxford. These trails are challenging, with serious elevation gains and varying conditions. Make sure you know the skill level and equipment you will need to have a safe day on these hiking trails.  

For a less strenuous hiking day, throw on your hikers and enjoy a trek along the 2.6-mile Lost Lake Trail which is an out-and-back style trail that is dog-friendly. Or, hike along Cottonwood Pass’s 3.1-mile trail that is also dog-friendly and offers plenty of stunning views. No matter what hiking trail you pick, exploring the natural scenery and keeping an eye out for wildlife and wildflowers! Just remember the Leave No Trace ethos and pack out what you pack in.

You can also hop into the saddle and enjoy the Rocky Mountains on horseback. Kodi features 2-hour horseback riding trips and a saddle-paddle experience that combines horseback riding with a white water rafting excursion. You don’t want to miss the experience to be in the Rockies like a true cowboy! And of course, you can’t experience a summer in the Rockies without a white water rafting trip! Take a full-day or half-day trip through Browns Canyon National Monument, navigate through the thrilling rapids on a Numbers trip, or, for the most advanced rafters, get on a full-day or half-day Pine Creek raft adventure including two class IV rapids like Triple Drop. With trips for all adventure levels and through stunning scenery, there’s really no better way to spend a day or overnight than on a Buena Vista river rafting trip!


Hiking the Collegiate Peaks in Buena Vista

The mountains of Colorado give way to some of the most impressive hiking trails in the United States. Getting outside on a trail and getting your body moving under the warm Colorado sun is so enjoyable! From shorter hikes with minimal elevation gain, to the more challenging and longer hikes that lead up to the tallest peaks in Colorado, there are amazing hiking options for every type of hiker. If you enjoy hiking and want a great challenge, we highly recommend hiking a 14er. Out here in Colorado, the accomplishment of hiking to the peak of a 14,000 ft mountain, or as us locals say “14er” is like obtaining a badge of honor. We arguably have a total of 54-14ers in Colorado and once you get a taste of summiting one of them, you’ll be hooked! There are quite a few people who try to complete hiking all of them, which is an incredible accomplishment. If your goal is to hike them all in your lifetime, or you just want to get the first one under your belt, there are loads of important things to keep in mind and ways to prepare for your hike to the summit.

The Sawatch mountain range in Buena Vista includes a group of 14,000 ft mountains called the Collegiate Peaks which are some of the tallest mountains in the Rocky Mountains. The Collegiate Peaks are named after Ivy League Universities and are among the highest concentration of 14,000 foot peaks in the United States. Mt. Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Oxford, and Belford are some of the most impressive and stunning peaks in the area and are sought out by avid hikers that crave to see the jaw-dropping views from the top. OK well, Belford isn’t a University, but it’s still part of the range!

When choosing which 14er you want to summit, it’s very important to plan and study your route. Having a strong understanding of what your chosen route looks like on a map helps prepare you for different parts of the trail. 14ers.com is a great site that has current information on trail conditions, elevation gain, length of each hike, printable maps, and even includes comments from hikers that have done each hike with their reviews. All Trails is a great app to use as well, but be sure to download the route and trail prior to getting started so there is no chance that you’ll lose the map because of lost cell service when you’re on the trail.

Always be prepared for changing weather. Depending on where you live, you are most likely going to experience a drastic change in elevation when coming to Colorado. A change in elevation means a definite change in temperature and weather. You could get lucky at the base of the trail with warm weather, but we can promise you the temps at the top are not nearly as warm. Make sure you are prepared with synthetic layers in your backpack to keep you dry. We highly recommend wearing something like a Melanzana to protect you from the weather. Check out some awesome layers that we recommend here.

Temperature fluctuation isn’t the only factor when considering weather- thunderstorms and lighting often occur in the summertime. It’s not uncommon for the day to start off with blue skies, but in a matter of minutes, that blue sky can turn very dark and ominous. Be mindful that if a thunderstorm comes along when you are hiking above treeline, you will be sticking out like a literal lightning rod. Keep an eye on the sky during your summit – be smart and head back to the trail head if the sky looks threatening. The mountain will be there for your ascent another day.

Wear appropriate clothing. Close toed shoes with ankle support is the best kind of shoe you can wear. Merrell and Columbia have great hiking boot options that will provide support and comfort as you make your trek to the mountain top. Although not required, it’s helpful to hike with trekking poles to maintain balance and they provide that extra push when climbing up steep terrain and are helpful when navigating across rubble and loose rocks, or even snow fields. Black Diamond makes durable trekking poles that we recommend.

Once you start hiking above treeline, you lose all shade to protect you from the sun’s intense rays. We recommend wearing a hat with a wide brim to protect your face, and definitely wear sunscreen even if there are clouds. Remember, you are gaining elevation, and essentially getting closer to the sun with very little atmosphere to filter those rays.

Bring a first aid kit. It’s always good to be prepared! Summiting a 14,000 ft mountain is challenging, and you wouldn’t want to be in a bad situation without any sort of aid. From blisters to a headache to a twisted ankle, you want to be prepared for anything. 

Start early! When we say early, we mean start before the sun even comes up. You don’t want to be on the summit after noon, as that is when weather often changes quickly and it’s essential to be off a high summit at that time. If you’re planning on hiking a 14er that’s far from where you are staying, think about camping at the trailhead so you can be sure to get up and get started before the sun rises. Make sure to check trail rules about this as each trail is different and may or may not allow camping at the base. This is where planning ahead comes into play!

Eat a nutritious breakfast. You will be expending a lot of energy on this hike. This is a perfect time to consume complex carbs along with protein and fats to give your body as many nutrients as you can. Stop along the way to refuel and indulge in snacks. Bringing snacks on the hike up is a key element that will ensure that the energy you are exerting is being restored by nutrition. Ensuring that the group you’re hiking with is feeling good, staying hydrated, and refueling with snacks is a great way to ensure your whole group is in good shape to finish the hike. Here are some of our favorite snack options

Stay well hydrated. Try to drink a liter of water before even starting your hike. As a rule of thumb, you should be drinking 1 liter for every 2 hours of hiking. If this is your first attempt at bagging a 14er, it will probably take you 3-6 hours to complete your hike. We recommend bringing 2-3 liters in a bladder such as a Camelback. Don’t expect to re-fill your water bottle along the route, there are parasites in the streams that will make you sick if you don’t treat it before drinking. You can bring water filtration along (a good idea in any case) but don’t count on it as some routes can be dry.

The last thing we suggest when hiking a 14er, is to push past your mental limitations!. We’ll admit it – the first part of the hike is going to be challenging. It’s going to be steep and your mind might focus on the larger goal. Take it one step at a time, you CAN do it, and it will get easier if you push yourself. Encourage your hiking buddies when they’re feeling defeated, and you’ll feel inspired to keep trekking as well. Choosing your hiking partners wisely is also important – those that are rational, prepared, experienced, and upbeat are the best!

Enjoy reaching the summit- you’re on top of the world! Give yourself some time to enjoy the views, and take lots of photos. Locals sometimes like to bring a sign that has the name of the 14er on it with it’s elevation so you can snap a photo at the top with a proud smile showing which mountain you successfully summited – just be sure to pack it out with you, as you do with everything you take on the mountain. Leave no trace is the motto. 

We hope this guide to hiking a 14er helps get you prepared for a fun, exciting, and tremendous achievement. If you’re planning on visiting Buena Vista and have a knack for hiking, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to summit one of the beautiful Collegiate Peaks. The views will last a lifetime. Happy hiking!