Colorado Fall Aspen Views

As summer fades, our wildflowers wither, the air cools, and sunlight dims earlier and earlier- winter is coming! But before we can hit the slopes, fall ‘leaf peeping’ is something you don’t want to miss. 

Something magical happens to our aspen trees as they prepare to shed their leaves for the winter. The most awe-inspiring change of color occurs and the aspen trees turn a shimmering gold. With numerous aspen forests all over the state of Colorado, viewing the gold is endless. With different elevation throughout the state, the color change varies depending on the area you’re visiting. Each area has a different ‘peak’ of when the aspens reach their brightest, so if you want to experience the gorgeous views, be mindful that the further south and lower altitude you go, the later in the season the trees will change. 

Typically, we will start to see colors change in early September and depending on where you are, you can still see colors through mid- October. Take a drive, go on a hike, ride your bike, or even go by horse back to immerse yourself in the most magical time of the year. We’ve rounded up our favorite places throughout the state to see the most brilliant groves of aspens for your viewing pleasure. You absolutely won’t want to miss out on this display of nature’s regeneration, so take a look at the best spots for leaf peeping.

Kebler Pass near Crested Butte

Kebler Pass is home to one of the largest aspen groves in the world. What this means for you is a surreal experience for fall, as giant clusters of orange, yellow, and gold shine gleam amidst the surrounding mountain peaks. If you opt to drive Kebler Pass, it’s about 2-4 hours’ drive, not counting the dozens of times you’ll stop your car and get out to snap some pictures. Start in the town of Crested Butte and once you drive over the whole pass, you’ll descend into the friendly little town of Paonia.

Million Dollar Highway, Silverton to Ouray

Million Dollar Highway 550 is part of the San Juan Skyway loop in the southern part of Colorado and is 23 miles in length starting in Silverton and ending in Ouray. The autumn colors feel like the Million Dollar Highway earned its name by the sea of golden aspens it winds through. This is truly a bucket list destination, even more so when it’s experiencing peak aspen colors. Situated among Colorado’s steepest all-around mountain range, the Million Dollar Highway will reward you with jaw dropping vistas around every corner.

Boreas Pass in Breckenridge

This 22-mile scenic drive starts in Como and ends in the historic town of Breckenridge. Along the drive you’ll reach the summit around 12,000 feet with the road lined with clusters of aspen trees. Pull over often along your journey and lace up your hiking boots to set your course along the Baker’s Tank Trail, or the Aspen Alley Trails to see the fall splendor on foot. Once you get closer to Breckenridge, admiring the ski slopes from the road is a magnificent sight with the golden trees in the foreground. End your trip by heading into town for a cold brew or to walk and shop Breckenridge’s Main Street.

Independence Pass near Twin Lakes

Start in the small town of Twin Lakes for a truly unforgettable experience of driving Independence Pass which delivers you to the lovely town of Aspen. Leaf peeping is out of this world on this particular route, which is widely known as being a Colorado classic. Expect twisting roads, steep drop-offs, and unbe-leaf-able views! Be sure to stop at the Continental Divide summit, a towering 12,095 feet above sea level for panoramic 360 degree views. Bring a jacket, it gets cool up there!

Maroon Bells in Aspen

Talk about an amazing backdrop! The Maroon Bells sit behind the clear blue waters of Maroon Lake and are covered in aspen groves. What better place to see the epic change of aspen trees than in Aspen? The road up to the Bells is about 10 miles and is a treat in and of itself as it winds up a stunning aspen tree-lined valley. Even opting for hiking or biking up the whole way is amazing if you want to get closer to the trees. The Maroon Bells are said to be the most photographed mountains in North America and with the color change, this particular location for leaf peepers just can’t be beat.  

Leaf peeping is one of the most exciting and aesthetically pleasing activities Colorado has to offer. Our change in colors is quick, and each area’s ‘peak’ only lasts for about a week or two, so pick your route and timing to hit the road and immerse yourself in the magic of the Rocky Mountains in the fall! For more ideas on beautiful places to leaf peep, check out our other blog post, The 5 Best Spots to see the Golden Aspens in the Colorado Rockies.


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! 

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!


Dillon, CO- The Ideal Place for Adventure

Dillon Colorado is a little town packed with a lot of fun- the perfect place for a weekend filled with adventures. Nestled in the rocky mountains and lush forests of Summit County, Dillon is popular in both summer and winter and is known for the giant Reservoir, Lake Dillon, which sits between Dillon and Frisco. From local breweries, delicious restaurants, endless outdoor adventures, and live music at the outdoor amphitheater, Dillon has something awesome to offer everyone, no matter what time of year it is.

Recreation

In the winter, Dillon is an ideal location for visitors as it is pretty centrally located between five world-renowned ski resorts, so you can take your pick! Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper, and Loveland all have family terrain as well as great tree skiing and more advanced runs. If you’re not keen on skiing, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other ways to enjoy the mountains in the snow.

Whether you’ve been on a snowmobile or not, there are a few great companies throughout the county that will take you on a guided tour throughout the mountains of Summit County. The mountains combine with lofty altitudes to create a tremendous snowpack that is ideal for snowmobiling. Keystone Snowmobiling Tours and Rentals (only a few miles from Dillon) offer an adventurous high country escape, with an endless supply of powder-filled bowls and meadows to explore. Give them a call at 970-455-4040 to make reservations in advance.

The Ice Castles are a winter favorite, and another fun adventure. The castles are built by using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists and you can see them from January to March. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, and more. Visit their site to get your tickets in advance. 

In the summer time, Dillon has many biking trails, but the most popular is the 18 mile loop around Lake Dillon which starts at the Dillon Amphitheater and ends at the Frisco Marina. We highly recommend doing this loop- the views are outstanding and you have plenty of opportunities to observe wildlife along the way! Rent a bike for the day and maybe even pack a lunch for a picnic- there are so much great places along the trail that you can stop to catch your breathe and enjoy the sights.

Lake Dillon is the world’s highest deep-water marina, so it doesn’t quite warm up enough for people to swim in it, but plenty of people still enjoy pontooning, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and sailing on the lake on a hot Colorado day. We recommend giving Dillon Marina a call for rentals or you can check out their website here.

Food

The Town of Dillon has three really great breweries that you shouldn’t miss out on. Dillon Dam has amazing lagers and ales, a warm family friendly atmosphere, and a tasty menu. Pug Ryan’s Brewery has a nice mix of all different kinds of brews, and yummy $10 burgers and beers for happy hour. If you enjoy craft beers, then Baker’s Brewery is your best bet with a classic pub entree menu.

It’s hard to pick a favorite because Dillon has tons of great food options, but one of our favorite lunch spots in Dillon has to be Arapahoe Cafe. They were named the best restaurant in town! Their sandwiches are delicious and they make some really good BBQ too. On a beautiful Colorado-blue sky day, grab a seat on their patio and enjoy the mountain views and the background of Lake Dillon.

Entertainment

In the warmer months, enjoy an outdoor concert at the Dillon Amphitheater- you won’t be disappointed! Bringing in local artists and even big headliners, Dillon Amphitheater opens up to a grassy field on the shoreline of Lake Dillon where you can bring a blanket and sit and enjoy or stand in front of the stage up close to the music. The Dillon Amphitheater is inspired by their scenically spectacular lakeside venue over-looking the majestic Rocky Mountains. Stay tuned for the summer line-up.

Accommodation

A new hotel is being built in Dillon and should be completed by the end of winter 2021. The Pad will be repurposing one-trip shipping containers and it will have 30 rooms and around 101 beds with private higher-end suites but also dorm-style bunks which will be inside the shipping containers. The hotel will have rooftop and patio bars, common spaces, a hot tub, lobby, event space and is supposed to be finished by the end of winter 2021, when it will look like any other small boutique hotel. Check out their progress.

There’s no doubt that people flock to the mountains of Summit County in the winter to ski and enjoy other fun adventures in the snow, and in the summer when the wildflowers are vibrant and full, the great outdoors are where outdoor enthusiasts want to be. Staying in Dillon is one of the best little towns in Summit County to truly experience it all. Try one or all of the above mentioned adventures, restaurants, and experiences, and you’ll be able to capture a love for the winter and the summer in Summit County in a heartbeat!


Your Rafting Photos for Sentimental Gifts this Holiday Season

The Covid 19 worldwide pandemic has certainly impacted all our lives, and brought into focus the gift of time with family and friends. With the holidays right around the corner, you’re sure to be on the hunt for perfect gifts to surprise the special people on your list. There’s no better way to remember adventures with family and friends than making use of your rafting photos as personalized gifts! Capture the excitement you felt while navigating the river on your rafting trips as you create a unique gift that is sure to be a highlight of the holiday season. From Holiday cards, to t-shirts for the next family getaway, or even a personalized mug for dad, you can highlight your past whitewater adventures in so many ways! Buy your whitewater rafting photos today to get ahead on your holiday shopping!

Include Your Photos in Holiday Traditions

Use your whitewater rafting photos to spread holiday cheer! Share your memories and adventures from the year by including the photos on your Holiday cards! Sending these cards will connect friends and family near and far as well as be a beautiful way to remember amazing memories exploring the rivers of Colorado with Kodi Rafting. You can add a sentimental touch by creating customized gift tags, wrapping paper, stamps, or gift labels that will make for a special moment before the gift is even unwrapped. 

Want even more personalized holiday magic? Turn your rafting photo into an ornament that will be a warm memory every year when it is hung on the tree during your seasonal celebrations. Including your rafting photo and date in your family’s favorite holiday traditions makes for a perfect reminder of the year’s memories.

Highlight your photos on Items for the Home

Another perfect way to mark the holidays and create a sentimental gift is to put your rafting photo on an item for your or your loved one’s home! Include your rafting photos in a calendar that will fill next year with memories. Start each day off right for your friends and family as they sip coffee from a personalized mug highlighted by smiling faces and roaring waters. Gift a custom blanket so your family member can cozy up under it at the end of the day comforted by the memory of time with friends and family. Or even put together a photo book that documents your travels and can serve as an accent to the coffee table!

A custom throw pillow adds a splash of decor and fun to a couch or chair while also showcasing your adventurous spirit. Order raft photo magnets to put a smile on the face of your gift recipient and bring a smile whenever that special someone opens their fridge. Or, create a custom candle that will bring light and warmth into the home of your family or friends. 

Want something to do with the family after all the presents have all been unwrapped? Gift a puzzle to work on together that, once completed, will reveal your looks of excitement as you go through the rapids! Personalized stickers can also be fun for children and adults alike as you decorate water bottles, notebooks, laptops, skateboards, or anything else you wish to personalize! Of course, you can always gift a beautifully framed photo or canvas print that will grace your loved one’s walls or shelves. Regardless of what home-enhancing gift you decide to customize with your rafting photos, these ideas will surely be a perfect way to relive past adventures. 

Rafting Photos As Fashion Statements

Turn your photos into a fashion statement or accessory! Unwrapping a gift that the recipient gets to wear and remember your whitewater rafting adventures is sure to make for a memorable gift. Plus, a custom t-shirt or hoodie can be the perfect accessory for a future family reunion or get together with friends! 

Carry whitewater memories with you with a personalized tote bag! From grocery shopping to the bookstore, or even just as a bag for going around town, having a custom tote will mean your memories travel with you or your loved one wherever they go. A personalized phone case can also serve as a daily reminder of your travels in the Colorado Rockies and even start conversations about your whitewater rafting experiences!

Transform your rafting photos into a cloth facemask. Help loved ones stay safe by gifting them a personalized facemask that will serve as a reminder of great memories made while adventuring in the mountains. No matter how you decide to accessorize with your rafting memories, this gift will be sure to bring a smile to your loved one’s face (even from under a mask!) and become a conversation starter to whoever they interact with. 

Transforming your rafting photos into a personalized gift for yourself, your family, and friends will definitely add magic to this holiday season. From a fashion statement to a home staple,, any way you pull in your photos will serve as a wonderful reminder of your trips down Colorado rivers!


Kremmling, Colorado: A Haven for Outdoor Adventure in the Rockies

Nestled where the Blue River and Colorado River intersect, Kremmling is a haven for outdoor adventure and small-town charm in the Colorado Rockies. Whether you are looking for an exciting day maneuvering the rapids of the Upper Colorado on a Kodi whitewater raft trip, a scenic hike, or a tasty bite to eat at a local spot, you’re sure to find something that will bring you back to this Rocky Mountain town time and time again.

Get Out On the Hiking Trail

Lace-up your boots for a hiking expedition! For an easy-going out and back trail, try Windy Ridge which will lead you to a lake and is also friendly for four-legged friends. For more of a challenge, take a hike along the 2.8-mile Gore Canyon trail. Along the way, you can enjoy the scenery of the breathtaking canyon and even bring along camping gear for a night spent on BLM land for a small fee. Looking for a longer trip? Try the Silver Creek Trail in Arapaho National Forest. The main highlight of this 12-mile trail are wildflowers that can be spotted along the journey. No matter the difficulty level, a hike in the Rockies is always a great way to spend the day.

Enjoy the Views on a Scenic Drive

The Trough Road, which is part of the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic & Historic Byway, sits right outside of Kremmling offering breathtaking views. Driving along the route, you will encounter winding turns and stunning scenery including both the Colorado and Blue Rivers. Make sure to stop and take in the view from Inspiration Point for views of the Gore Canyon where you might even spot a raft floating by! 

Spend Your Day on the Water

With two major rivers and a nearby reservoir within easy access, Kremmling is a hotspot for water recreation! Rent a boat or launch your own onto Wolford Reservoir where you can fish, water ski, knee-board, stand-up paddleboard, or simply enjoy being on the water. Looking for more adventure? Take a whitewater rafting trip along the Upper Colorado. Choose either a half or full-day raft trip that offers gorgeous scenery and mild waters perfect for families. Want to try navigating the river on your own? Book a duckie trip or add one to your rafting expedition to paddle on your own while still having the support of a nearby guide. Keep an eye out for local flora and fauna along the way and you may even catch sight of evidence of prehistoric creatures that once called the area home!

Take a Soak in the Hot Springs

After a day of rafting on the river or a nice long hike, ease sore muscles with a soak in the Hot Sulphur Springs. Take your pick of 21 mineral pools, all heated to temperatures ranging from 95º to 112ºF from nature’s power from underground hot springs. Looking for even more relaxation? Book a massage to truly treat yourself to a day of relaxation. 

For more of an adventurous day, you can hike a mile down to the Radium Hot Springs pools found along the Colorado River just a short drive outside of Kremmling. This experience offers scenic views while you sit in the natural pools. You can often find entertainment and friends along the way in the passing raft trips and cliff jumpers who dive into the chillier waters of the river. Whether you find a hot spring at the end of a hike or in a resort setting, a hot spring soak is the perfect way to replenish tired muscles and lift spirits after a great mountain adventure. 

Grab a Bite to Eat at a Local Hotspot

A day of hiking, rafting, fishing, or relaxing in a hot spring will surely work up your appetite. After a day of adventure, be sure to head into town to grab a bite to eat at a local dining hot spot! Stop into the Grand Old West for homestyle cooking like chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes and gravy while you sit in a charming rustic setting. Other nearby eateries include Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant, the Moose Cafe, and Big Shooter Coffee which is the perfect place to grab a coffee, pastry, and even an ice cream cone!

Whether you are seeking a whitewater raft trip, a scenic hiking trail, or a calm getaway to enjoy hot springs, the Kremmling area offers something for everyone! Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and explore the charm of small-town life in the mountains by finding a quiet hiking trail, fishing in a reservoir, or grabbing a bit from a local restaurant. No matter how you decide to spend your time in this Rocky Mountain gem, you are sure to make memories you will never forget!


The 5 Best Spots to see the Golden Aspens in the Colorado Rockies

When the weather cools off in the Rocky Mountains, a certain kind of magic steps in. The aspen trees display vibrant yellows, golds, and reds on their leaves creating incredible scenery and views that are swoon-worthy. Meanwhile, the summer crowds empty out, leaving behind a charming, slower-paced feeling in mountain towns from Breckenridge, to Frisco, and Buena Vista. Take your pick of scenic drives where you can make a pit stop to see a historic ghost town, pull over at a hiking trailhead, or take a soak in a hot spring near Kremmling. Whether you are looking for incredible views, hiking trails, or ride a horse, these are the best places to get a glimpse of the annual aspen spectacle in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Be sure and bring your camera or smartphone to get some great photos that might be perfect for your holiday cards.

1. Cottonwood Pass

Take the scenic pass along the Continental Divide to see the stunning fall scenery! Reaching an altitude of 12,126 feet, this pass is the highest in altitude on the Continental Divide and offers incredible 360-degree views. This route passes through both Almont, a quintessential mountain town, and Buena Vista, which is a hub for whitewater rafting since the Arkansas River flows right through town. Or, find hiking trails, camping areas, mountain biking rides, and relaxation in the Mount Princeton and Cottonwood hot springs along the way of this scenic pass!

2. Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

Take in the views of the changing leaves from the summit of one of the eight fourteeners (There are 52 peaks exceeding 14,00 feet within the state) that can be found in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Filled with mountains named after some of the country’s most prestigious universities, this is the perfect place to enjoy the changing seasons while exploring a hiking trail and maybe even knocking a fourteener off your Colorado bucket list! After you reach the summit and make it back to your campground, grab a celebratory pint at a local brewery in Buena Vista, which sits less than 30 miles away from this hiking haven!

3. Independence Pass

Boasting 32 miles of stunning scenery, Independence Pass is one of the best drives for getting a glimpse of the breathtaking fall foliage and Roaring Fork River. Sitting just outside of Aspen and a short drive from Buena Vista, this pass can be accessed near top destinations for leisure and outdoor adventure in the Centennial State. For a challenge, you can pedal your bike to the top of the pass that reaches an altitude of 12,095 feet and coast all the way down. Or, find more fall-spirited fun at the Independence Ghost Town where you can take a self-guided tour of the 1800's gold mining town that still features the remnants of stables, a general store, and a cabin.

4. Boreas Pass

Starting in the historic railroad town of Como, this 22-mile scenic drive winds you through the Rockies and down into Summit County. Along the hour-long drive, you reach a summit of 11,481 feet and enjoy views of the aspen trees that can be found along the sides of the road. Pull over, lace up your hiking boots to set your course along the Baker’s Tank Trail, or the Aspen Alley Trails to see the fall splendor on foot. When you reach the end of your scenic excursion, you won’t want to miss exploring the dining and shopping hotspots of popular tourist towns like Breckenridge and Frisco. Stroll down Main Street in either of these charming mountain towns to browse quaint local shops, breweries, and delicious eateries! 

5. Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway

Follow this breathtaking drive along the Colorado River! This route will also lead you past Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, and Lake Granby, offering plenty of opportunities for fishing and getting out on the water along the way. For a day of relaxation, make a pit stop to soak and enjoy the natural hot springs outside of Kremmling that can be found on the banks of the Colorado River or indulge at the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa.

No matter if your ideal fall activity involves a scenic drive, a hiking expedition, or a ride through the forest on horseback, getting into Colorado’s Rockies to see the changing leaves is a memory worth making! Once the leaves begin to change, the aspens only hold onto this magic for a couple of weeks, so pick your route and hit the road to get a glimpse of this Rocky Mountain spectacle!


The Perfect Summer Weekend Exploring Frisco and Breckenridge

Summertime in the high country is full of adventure. From paddle boarding and kayaking on Dillon Reservoir, to hiking to one of Breckenridge’s breathtaking alpine lakes, to enjoying the quaintness of their historic mountain-town charm, summer in Summit County is unbeatable! And of course getting on the river for some whitewater rafting is always a must. Elevated at 9,097 feet, the town of Frisco offers constant adrenaline-pumping adventures among the wildflowers and scenic twists and turns of the captivating mountains. When visiting the area, Frisco and Breckenridge are definitely towns you won’t want to skip.

Frisco

The natural location of Frisco connects a mineral-rich canyon with a rolling river valley, and boasts towering peaks in every direction. Once a mining town and railroad stop, Frisco is nestled between Mount Royal and Dillon Reservoir with an incredibly charming Main Street, set in the 1800’s. Nestled between a few ski resorts and 14’ers, Frisco offers breathtaking mountain views, outdoor adventures, and quaint shops and restaurants to help you refuel for the next adventure. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in true local Colorado mountain town culture, Frisco is the perfect weekend getaway!



There’s lots to see and do in Frisco, so we’ve come up with a few ideas for the perfect mountain weekend. Start your first day in the mountains off right at The Butterhorn Bakery for delicious breakfast favorites, freshly-baked pastries, and lunch from 7:30 am until 2:30 pm with tent, patio, and indoor dining options.’

With some good food in your belly, be sure to get your whitewater rafting boat time booked at online here https://whitewatercolorado.com/book-now/ or give us a call at 877-747-RAFT.

Lace up your hiking boots and head up to Rainbow lake for a casual ~2 mile hike to take in the views and wildflowers along the way. For lunch and an award-winning brew, drop by Outer Range Brewing Co for top-notch IPA’s and tasty Thai Fried Chicken. If you’re a craft beer lover, Outer Range is a must! Head back to Frisco Main Street and stroll the shops – some of our favorite locally owned gems are Next Page, a bookstore with great Colorado books, gifts, and guide books, Foote’s Rest Sweet Shoppe which often has live music outside during the day for you to enjoy with some hand-churned ice cream, and Funky Trunk Boutique for resale clothes and accessories. Enjoy dinner at Grecco’s Pasteria and order a pizza with their unlimited topping choices or opt for the chicken parmesan – you won’t regret it! Retire for the night at the top-rated, family-owned Frisco Lodge which has been around since 1885. This bed and breakfast is located right on Main Street and has a hot tub and outdoor fireplace to end the day with some relaxation. Best of all, during summer 2020 Main Street just outside the door is closed to vehicle traffic, making the Frisco Pedestrian Promenade a perfect backdrop for people watching at a distance.



As every good morning starts with coffee, head to Bread + Salt bistro and grab a cup of local- brewed joe and unique Colorado-grown breakfast options. When you look at their menu but can’t decide what to order because the entire menu looks so good, you know you’re in the right spot! After fueling up, walk towards the east end of town, and you will run into the Frisco Marina. Rent a paddle board or kayak to explore the islands and coves of Dillon Reservoir for the day.

Looking to stay on land but still want to experience the lake? Try renting a bike to ride the 18 mile loop around the lake, although even riding just a part of the loop is worth it! Hard to believe, but there is actually an entire town under the reservoir that used to be home to 800 people back in the day. Denver Water needed to create a new dam which put ‘Old Dillon’ 250 feet under water. After a long day, you’re probably looking for a place to grab some yummy appetizers and maybe even a drink. Try the Island Grill located right at the marina – they have awesome food and great views of the reservoir. For a night cap, enjoy sunset at Sapphire Point for incredible mountain views.


Frisco’s quaint charm is rooted in its location nestled in the mountains. Frisco is located at the north end of the Ten Mile Mountain Range which connects Frisco to Breckenridge. When looking at Frisco, the first mountain on the left is Mount Royal, the next peak is Mount Victoria, and then shoots up to Peak One of the Ten Mile Range. Continuing south, you can see the rest of the peaks in the Ten Mile Range, ending with Quandary Peak, the southernmost and highest point in the Range at 14,271 feet. The end of this mountain range puts you in Breckenridge.

Breckenridge

Breckenridge is home to the largest historic district in Colorado as its rich and colorful history is full of gold finds and mining exploration and adventures, brothels, saloons, booms, and busts. The town’s Gold Rush brought droves of settlers seeking their fortunes after a 13.5 pound gold nugget was discovered near Breckenridge in the 1800’s. Today, the town’s historic charm remains – in the backcountry you can find old mining tools and structures from back in the day. We recommend you download the AllTrails app which helps you to choose the perfect hiking trails for your interest and ability level. There are lots of trails to choose from in Breckenridge, so the app helps narrow down the best trail for you and your group. Grab some lunch on the patio at Kenosha or The Canteen after your hike – both have great sandwiches, salads, and yummy cocktails. The Breckenridge Distillery is a great place to spend the afternoon and experience their tasting room. The distillery has award-winning bourbon and other spirits, and outstanding food plus cool gifts to choose for friends and family back home! For lodging in Breckenridge, check out Gravity Haus, a new globally-conscious, modern hotel located in the heart of town. Wherever your adventure takes you when visiting Summit County, you’ll get a great feel of the local culture in the mountains.

Summit County adventure, weather, experiences, and views are truly magical. We’d love to see you stop by the KODI Rafting Summit County location in Breckenridge when you come into town. Our Blue River and Ten Mile Creek trips meet at our Frisco location most seasons. We hope you enjoy your time in beautiful Summit County and immerse yourself in true Colorado mountain culture!


What to Wear to Go Whitewater Rafting with KODI Rafting

You’ve booked your KODI Rafting trip, now the question is, what should you wear? If this is your first-time whitewater rafting, you probably have a lot of questions around proper clothing. It's important to dress appropriately when you’re getting on the river so that you keep warm and happy throughout your rafting trip! We will provide all of the rafting equipment that you’ll need for the day, but it’s important that you come prepared with proper clothing to wear on the river. We’ve come up with a list of must-haves for your upcoming rafting trip and where to buy these items locally.

Say No to Cotton

Make sure to check the weather before you leave to come on your trip. Just as with any activity, the time of year you choose to go rafting will impact how you should dress. Spring trips early in the season most likely will require heavier layers than a trip taken mid-summer when the sun is strong and hot. No matter the weather, avoid cotton, jeans, and long non-synthetic pants. Once cotton gets wet, it stays cold and gets heavy- not ideal for a day on the water. Depending on what trip you decide to do with KODI, it’s likely that you will get wet on the trip, so be sure to wear quick-drying shorts/top and/or a bathing suit under your clothes. If the forecast is sunny, it’s a good plan to have a synthetic shirt for sun protection and warmth. 

Proper Footwear is Important

Wearing sturdy footwear (no flip flops/crocs) is extremely important! Sturdy footwear can be sneakers, strapped sandals, or wetsuit booties that won’t fall off. Some of our favorite brands for good water shoes are Chaco, Teva, Keen, and Astral. When picking the right shoes, choose a pair that’s light-weight, moisture-wicking, and/or quick-drying. For those who might be worried about getting cold feet, consider investing in a pair of neoprene socks. NRS makes a great pair that is super thin but also warm. You wear them just like socks: put them under your river shoes and you’ll stay pretty warm. Grab yourself a pair at one of our favorite local shops in Buena Vista, CKS Main Street. These guys have tons of other gear available in store, and they also have great rafting shoe options. The Trailhead in Buena Vista also has great water shoe options, as does the local Outdoors & Mountain Market in Leadville.

KODI Rafting Gift Shop

Of course, you can grab additional items at our gift shop. KODI’s gift shop has a great selection of fun t-shirts, hats, souvenirs, and most importantly - sunglass retainer straps. Having the security of a sunglass retainer strap eliminates the likelihood of losing your sunglasses right off your head and into the water, never to be seen again. We can’t recommend grabbing one of these for your rafting trip strongly enough!

Melanzana: A Local’s Favorite

A Colorado staple clothing item that is 100% hand-made and loved by rafting and outdoor enthusiasts alike can be found in Leadville at one of our favorite local stores, Melanzana. A small group of locals started Melanzana back in ’94 and it has since exploded in popularity. Melanzana makes unique hoodies, beanies, dresses, and more. They have a few different fabrics, but a lot of Melanzana lovers go for their Micro Grid fabric, which is a super-soft lightweight fleece with a grid of open channels for maximum comfort and breathability. Micro-Grid fabrics are great for rafting season as it is fast-drying and pretty sweet!

Melanzana prides itself on their commitment to putting “quality, soul, and authenticity before quantity” so their 20-person team of skilled sewers carefully puts all the materials together, making each one unique. When they’ve made a new batch of products, you better pick one or two up quickly because they sell out fast! Their website shows current stock status, so you know what items they have currently available. Melanzana has just one rad store and it’s located in Leadville between our Frisco and Buena Vista outposts. Typically, the only way to get a Melanzana is to visit their store. However, this summer their store will remain closed due to pandemic restrictions, so if you would like to get a Melly, you’ll have to enter their lottery system. Read more about the lottery system here  www.melanzana.com/lottery

Bring a Change of Clothes

Melly’s are nice and warm and great to wear after your rafting trip with us. You probably don’t want to drive home in wet clothes, so plan to bring a set of dry clothes, socks, and shoes so you can change in the likely event you get wet. Bringing a towel and a bag for your wet clothes is very helpful too! If you think you might want to bring something small in the raft, consider bringing a dry bag if absolutely needed. Please note that we will be leaving most personal items locked in your vehicle. On most rivers, there is a photo company providing digital photos of you going through rapids, so don’t even worry about bringing your phone on your rafting trip. 

KODI Rafting also offers wetsuits, booties, and splash tops. Wetsuits are farmer johns and splash tops are heavy-duty rain jackets designed for the river perfect for cooler days. On our full-day trips, wetsuits rent for $10, booties for $5, and splash tops for $5. You can also rent the full set for $17, which is a great investment for being comfortable. On half-day trips, wetsuits rent for $5, splash tops for $3, and booties for $3. The full set goes for $10.

What does KODI Rafting provide for me that I do not need to bring?

  • Helmet
  • Paddle
  • PFD life jacket - required

KODI’s guides make your safety their number one priority, so each of these items have been cleaned and checked thoroughly and regularly to ensure the best possible experience for our guests!

  No matter what your whitewater rafting skill or experience level is, we are here to help you have the best adventure, and that includes dressing appropriately. A properly planned outfit will make all the difference while on your white water rafting adventure with us. Knowing what to wear is important, so here’s a checklist of the best product in each category for what you might want to have:

___ Quick-drying shorts/top - Prana is a great brand for men & women that can double as hiking clothes

___ Synthetic shirt for sun protection & warmth - The North Face offers sun protective, light-weight shirts

___ Water shoes - Teva is a sturdy and durable brand for excellent water shoes

___ Sunglasses

___ Sunglasses retainer - consider buying local, and buy this item at our shop!

___ Sunscreen - we offer choices at our shop

___ Sweatshirt or Melanzana - Made in Leadville, if you want incredibly comfy outerwear and would like to dress like a local!

___ Drinking water (we will also provide you with water if needed), ideally a reusable water bottle with a carabiner to hook onto the boat to avoid one-use plastic bottle waste

Give us a call if you have more questions about what to wear for your rafting trip at 877-747-RAFT. See you on the river!