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! 


KODI'S SAFETY RESPONSE TO COVID-19

We Focus on Safety for Your Raft Trip

We have added new procedures for our daily operations to put you at ease and make sure that we are doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of you, our guests and staff:

  • When booking, please let us know if you would like to reserve your own boat, keeping your group to just your travel companions. We understand that you may prefer to maintain additional social distancing measures and we will accommodate to the best of our ability so long as it does not compromise your safety on the river.
  • Please be prepared to cover your face on the bus or van ride. Face coverings will be available for a nominal fee. You are welcome to bring your own. Your guide will not be able to hold onto it for you while you are on the river.
  • Implementation of a digital waiver system so you can sign pre-trip documents before you arrive. Don't worry, if you forget we will also have tablets available for you as well and the option for you to use your own mobile device. A link to your waiver is found in your confirmation email.
  • Installation of new hand sanitizing stations throughout all of our facilities as well on buses and vans. We want you to feel like you can freshen up on the go.
  • Disinfect and clean KODI transportation. We have enough buses and vans to rotate them out of service each day to make sure your ride is fresh and clean before it is put back into service between trips. You will also be offered sanitizer before getting into a KODI vehicle.
  • Wiping down restrooms, door handles and booking counters between trip departures in addition to regular scheduled cleaning and maintenance.
  • As always, we continue to sanitize all of our gear after use including wet suits, helmets, PFD's (lifejackets!), splash jackets and river booties. Remember you are always welcome to wear your own rain jacket or shoes on the river as long as they lace or strap around the ankle (no crocs or flip flops).
  • Also, know that your raft and paddles have been properly cleaned before you use them on your trip!

*We are learning each day. Our efforts are self-implemented and like many of you, we are charting new territory. We will do our very best to make sure we are working to stay on top of new health and safety regulations as they apply to our operations in the coming weeks.

 


An interview with Chas Branson – KODI raft guide extraordinaire!

Meet Chas, the Kodi’s Rafting Manager, Raft Guide, Kayaker, Guide Trainer, and all-around go-to dude! Chas is a 12-year raft guide and is about the most experienced, and the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. We had the opportunity to catch up with Chas before the season gets flowing and ask him a few questions. So when you see him at the outpost you can say hello and ask him about his many adventures. 

Q. Chaz, do you guide anywhere beyond the rivers here in the Colorado mountains? 

A. I have guided in South America - Colombia specifically, for a few years, during Colorado winters and before that, I wintered in Australia. South of the equator, I also guided in New Zealand. All are beautiful places and challenging with exciting whitewater. I make a lot of great connections through friends in the whitewater community and that helps me decide where to go next. Check out this photo of me kayaking over a Maruia Falls in New Zealand – totally exhilarating! 

Q. What is your favorite river you’ve rafted?

A. My favorite is actually in Australia where the rivers are the most challenging. The Tully Gorge near Cannes in Northeast Queensland is specifically my favorite, with beautiful scenery and great whitewater. In Colombia, I like the Rio Calderas and Rio Verde Rivers. I am not a fluent Spanish speaker, and I learned a lot being in Colombia!

Q. What else do you to during the Colorado winter season?

A. I am an avid snowboarder typically snowboarding at Breckenridge, which was obviously cut short this season. I used to manage a ski shop, Black Tie Ski Rentals in Breckenridge and love the resort. In mid-September I head to Gauley Fest in Summersville, West Virginia, which is a whitewater festival for raft guides and kayakers – wouldn’t miss it!

Q. What drew you to rafting as a career?

A. I grew up in Ashville, North Carolina and there is a lot of whitewater rafting there. I always remember rafting there as a kid. My mother bought me a PFD and a helmet when I was a kid and I’ve been hooked ever since! We drove by the local outpost everyday, and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to become a raft guide. As soon as I finished high school, I was applying for a job as a guide. I’ve thanked my Mother by taking her rafting around the world, including Australia. 

Q. Any interesting people you’ve taken rafting? 

A. Sure! I’ve taken lots of famous and successful people rafting including people like Emma Watson, Sara Blakely’s husband and his buddies, the Denver Nuggets’ head coach, well their entire coaching staff actually. Broncos players, Nuggets players, Internet figures, actors. The interesting thing is that these folks know they are out of their element and can let loose and have a great time. 

Q. What do you love about being a raft guide the most?

A. I really enjoy guiding people for their first time on a raft and getting them hooked on being on the river. But even more so it’s the phenomenal lifestyle, it’s literally a ticket to the world. In these beautiful places, everything goes away when you’re on the river. It’s the best way to live and I enjoy the whole lifestyle, including everyone involved in it. You don’t get to take money with you when you’re dead.

Q. Last question for you – what is your favorite part of guiding with Kodi Rafting?

A. Oh, the best aspect is definitely the people here, the family. After working with different raft companies throughout the world, the staff here keeps coming back for 5 and 6 years in a row. We live together during the winter, becoming friends and family and going through everything together. I wouldn’t want to raft and work with anyone else – Amy and Dave are great!

You can reach out to Chas if you have any questions for him or are interested in
becoming a raft guide at Chas@whitewatercolorado.com.

 


Adventures in Clear Creek Rafting and Beyond

No matter what your whitewater rafting skill or experience level is, we are here to help you have your best adventure at our Idaho Springs location which is just a short 30 minute drive west from Denver. From mid-May through August, we offer 1/3 day beginner trips, 1/2 day intermediate trips, and 1/2 day advanced trips that start in the historic mining town of Idaho Springs. Not only is Idaho Springs a hop, skip, and a jump from Denver, but the stretch of water we raft, Clear Creek Canyon, has some of the best rafting in Colorado. It is fast paced with very little flat water, which gives you and your family or friends continuous excitement and not much down time on the water. You also get to enjoy the lush mountainous Colorado lanscape on either side of the river as you raft down the water, leaving you breathless!

Clear Creek County is comprised of 75% public land which allows for so many choices of exciting outdoor activities. Highest on this list is Colorado’s whitewater rafting, so no matter if you’re on family vacation, just making a stop from Denver, or are with a bunch of friends, rafting clear creek with KODI Rafting is a must! We recommend calling ahead to make a reservation, so we can accommodate your group or booking online. You can also spend the entire day adventuring when you pair a class II-IV rafting trip with Kodi’s Saddle Paddle and horseback ride through the Rockies after getting off the water. Find the best adventure for you by giving us a call at our Clear Creek Canyon location at (877) 747- RAFT. Great fun rafting down Clear Creek. Whitewater rafting surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. Photo courtesy of Kodi Rafting.

Exploring the Golden History of Clear Creek Canyon

Idaho Springs is a popular spot for people to stop on I-70 to take in the town’s historic mining appeal. The first gold strike took place in Idaho Springs in the mid 1800’s where nearly 3 million dollars’ worth of gold ore came through the Argo Tunnel, and a massive gold vein was discovered at the Phoenix Mine. You can explore both the mine and Argo Tunnel and learn interesting history, and even pan for gold.

If human-powered adventures are more your thing and you want to explore the mountains, take your pick! Pike National Forest, Roosevelt National Forest, James Peak Wilderness, and Mount Evans Wilderness are all found in the Clear Creek area. These forests give way to trout fishing, incredible camping locations, and picturesque views while hiking. A popular and relatively easy hike is St. Mary’s glacier (~1.5 miles roundtrip) boasts some of the most spectacular views and is both dog and family friendly. A more challenging hike is Chief Mountain Trail (~5 miles) and in the summer you won’t want to miss the fields of wildflowers here. Anglers looking to catch rainbow and cutthroat trout will find the best fishing in Colorado’s Clear Creek headwaters, and we suggest checking out Echo Lake for more fishing hot spots. Only 20 miles west of Denver, you don’t need to travel far to immerse yourself in Colorado’s beautiful mountains.
Gorgeous Colorado day for an alpine hike with friends and family. Hike up to St. Mary’s Glacier. Photo courtesy of Trent Milliard.

Where to Call Home for the Night (or weekend!)

There are several great options for camping around the area – from campgrounds, RV parks, KOA’s and tent camp spots. Check here for more details specific to Clear Creek County and choose the right camping experience for your group! 

Sometimes after a day on the river, you’d prefer to stay in a cozy cabin, quaint bed and breakfast, or an inn so you can kick back and relax. Dumont, Georgetown, and Idaho Springs have a plethora of places to stay so let Clear Creek County be your base for relaxation! Check out lodging options here.

Spa Time – In the Wild! 

Idaho Springs is an ideal pull-off spot for the curious because it is home to geothermal caves with hot mineral baths and large hot spring swimming pools for major relaxation time! For ~$20 you can relax in the somewhat funky Indian Hot Spring caves, or enjoy their mineral water pool. These therapeutic baths are said to improve circulation, alleviate pain, relieve stress, and soothe your skin. It is truly a mind, body, and spirit enriching experience when you visit Indian Hot Springs. You can also choose to stay the night there by calling 303-989-6666 to make a reservation.

Foodie’s Haven 

From quick bites to sit downs along the river, Clear Creek County has some hidden gems. Who doesn’t love a good BBQ or pizza spot? Smokin’s Yards is a local’s favorite with some of the most tasty burnt ends around. Beau Joe’s boasts top quality Colorado style pie and we agree! If you love beer as much we do, be certain to make a stop at Westbound & Down which won the Mid-Size Brewpub Award of the Year in 2019, or the tasty Tommy Knockers which is the original microbrewery of Idaho Springs crafting award-winning ales and lagers. We highly recommend the jalapeño poppers! 

Blending adventure and quality at Westbound & Down. Different beers on tap. Photo courtesy of Westbound & Down.

Mountain High Views

Colorado is home to fifty-four 14,000 ft mountains (or 14ers as we like to call them) and one where you can drive nearly the entire way to the top is Mt. Evans. This 14,240 ft mountain is located near Idaho Springs and is the highest paved road in the Northern Hemisphere allowing for unbeatable 360 degree views (and most likely a herd of mountain goats!). Please note the ride to the top has no guardrails, so be cautious when driving. Afternoon thunderstorms can be dangerous. As a general rule, you want to be off the summit and coming down by noon if you make the short hike to the very top summit. 

14,240 ft up, you’ve reached the Summit of Mount Evans. Mountain goats enjoy living at a higher elevation. Photo courtesy of Steve Boice.

Family Trips

Our last recommendation for an awesome experience in Clear Creek County is to take a ride on the historic Georgetown Loop train. Although Georgetown is a small town today, the town was a historic mining center during the late 19th century, acquiring the nickname the ‘Silver Queen of Colorado’. While exploring the mines and being surrounded by Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Georgetown Loop creates a fascinating feeling of stepping back in time to when the railroad was fully functioning, and mining was a way of life.

We love rafting the rapids of Clear Creek because there’s a constant rush of excitement and minimal flat water which provides for a huge day of fun! Mixed with the historic mining feel of the county and beauty of the mountains, Idaho Springs is the perfect backdrop to an exciting day. The endless adventures, yummy dining spots, and relaxing hot springs of the area create a lasting memory to an incredible summer spent in Colorado. 

Historic mining experience when riding the Georgetown Loop Train. Hop on the train! Photo courtesy of Georgetown Loop Rail Road.


The Joys of Rafting With Groups

Life is better with friends and the Kodi Rafting family always enjoys hosting so many awesome groups every Spring and Summer on their whitewater river adventures. If you’re planning a summer weekend or longer Colorado mountain trip for your group, now is the time to start booking the details. Our team is ready to help you choose the best river trip for the ages, physical ability, and experience of your gang. So give us a call today and let us help you choose the experience you’ll never forget! 

Bachelor/Bachelorette Weekends

Wedding party trends are to book a special weekend away to get your bridesmaids and groomsmen together to bond and get focused on your big day. Vegas is one choice, but if your wedding party is more the outdoor, adventurous type, a Colorado mountain weekend complete with ziplining, horseback riding, and of course whitewater rafting will bond the group together more than time at a roulette table. And photos of your wedding party going through the rapids will be a memory that will bring smiles to everyone’s face and tales of that one groomsman who took a swim. For a full 7 hours of adventure, choose our most popular combination of a morning of ziplining paired with an afternoon of rafting Colorado’s favorite whitewater, the Browns Canyon National Monument. Lunch is even included, so your gang just needs to show up for a day of adventure and laughs. 

Weddings

If your wedding is being held in the Colorado mountains this Spring or Summer, some of your guests may be looking for a great adventure while the wedding party is getting coiffed up. Choose a morning or afternoon whitewater river trip and provide that option to your guests if they are traveling all this way to be part of your special day, especially if they have never visited Colorado in the summertime. An intermediate trip gives you more options for those who are not as adventurous, and both sides of the family will start to build memories around the bride and groom that will provide stories over the buffet table. Class III rapids offer fun for everyone! 

Reunions

Family reunions, fraternity bros or sorority sisters, girls’ or guys’ weekends, and class reunions are groups we get the privilege of hosting each season. The Colorado mountains offer so many fun experiences to build a memorable weekend, so if you are the overall organizer or just in charge of activities and entertainment, try blending whitewater rafting with mountain climbing (like one of the Collegiate Peaks), a mountain festival like the Frisco BBQ Challenge or Buena Vista’s Bike Fest, and one of several area hot springs. Check out our blog on great things to do in the Buena Vista area for more ideas, or this article about the 10 steps to family reunion success!

Scout & 4H Troops, School Groups, and Sports Teams

We love hosting scout and 4H troops, school clubs and classes from grade school through college, and sports teams from around the world who come to build connections; learn about the rivers, history, and flora and fauna from our knowledgeable raft guides; and build connections through whitewater river rafting, ziplining, horseback adventures, and whizzing down Vail pass on a bike. With study ahead of time, learning along the way, and perhaps an essay assignment, students earn badges and class credit as a team, and get the opportunity to experience the Colorado mountains in a way they may never get to do with their families. Lifelong friendships are built when a boat full of kids are working together to maneuver their raft through the rapids and get to know each other’s strengths through team building. Every summer we host numerous baseball teams who are in Colorado for baseball and softball tournaments (such as the Triple Crown Baseball Tournament) and their coaches tell us how much the rapport built on the river translates to trust, communication, and positive vibes on the field. 

Family Trips

A family trip to the Colorado mountains from around the world, throughout the United States, or right here in Colorado creates memories that last a lifetime and will be the stuff that your family will talk about for decades. A framed photo of your gang mastering the whitewater on your wall is sure to bring smiles and good vibes throughout the years. For kids as young as 7 or Grandparents who are more tentative, we offer first river rafting experiences such as a float experience as great beginner trips that will get them splashing through the river with giggles and smiles. Or step up to intermediate trips for teens and stronger paddlers, who go BIG with class III-IV rapids that add technical elements and more thrill and excitement. These are designed for your teens and 20-somethings 16 and older. 

Church, Adventure, and Community Groups 

Whether you are in charge of planning outings for your church congregation, youth groups, Meetup groups, newcomers group, or neighborhood you’ll be the hero by planning a fantastic whitewater day on the river! Perhaps include some serene devotional or bible study time for your church group near the river, plan a celebration of life or memoriam, or create something more oriented to getting to know one another. Planning well ahead and getting the word out early makes your organizing a breeze. Choose a date, a full or half day river adventure, or combine the rafting with horseback riding, biking, or ziplining for an adventure filled day. Or if your group likes to brave class III rapids in the morning and enjoy a hot springs soak in the afternoon, our highly popular half day adventure/half day soak gives your group that “ahhhh” in their day. Send out a link to our FAQ’s so your group members can research on their own, then organize transportation or carpools to arrive at one of our 6 outposts in the morning and your job is done! 

Corporate and Business Retreats

We all know rapport and trust in the workplace where we spend so many waking hours is important to a happy life. Whether your employees are from across the globe or a cubicle away, time recreating away from the meeting room, equipment, and screens is invaluable to building a productive work environment. Combine a little team training with a half day raft trip, or dinner on the town with a full day of adventure on horses, bikes, and whitewater to really pull your team together. It’s fun for your front of house staff to get to know the back office/kitchen staff in an environment that is not pressure-filled and includes nature and the elements. Memories and stories over the water cooler will last for years! 

For all your groups from 2 to 200, and ages 7 to 80, Kodi Rafting is here to help you get organized, geared up, and booked for a fantastic adventure your group will love. Click here to send us your group information or call us to talk about what would be your ideal adventure at 877-747-7238. We love to help!


collegiate peaks scenic overlook

Your Perfect Weekend Exploring Buena Vista, Colorado

Just a couple hours’ drive from Denver, but a world away, lies one of our favorite little towns of Buena Vista, Colorado. The whitewater rafting capital of Colorado (BV as it’s known by locals), boasts three sections of the Arkansas River we love to raft including Big Bend, Browns Canyon, and the Numbers. Browns Canyon is one of our nation’s newest national monuments, designated by President Obama in February of 2015.

Read more river history in our 2-part series about Brown’s Canyon.
Part I  |  Part II  |  Brown's Canyon Official Website

Rafting and Adventures

First, make your reservation for your rafting adventure with Kodi Rafting. You’ll want to lock down your reservation for a half-day, full-day, or half-day rafting with ziplining, horseback riding or cycling adventure so you can fill in your other perfect weekend activities around the best activity in the valley. We especially like the zip and raft … zipline through the trees in the morning and raft the Arkansas during the warmest part of the afternoon. Want more insight? Call our specialists to pinpoint what will work best for your group at 877-747-RAFT (7238).

 

Camping and Lodging

Now that rafting is booked, where to stay? We love camping, and Buena Vista offers numerous campgrounds from a KOA to dispersed camping and everything in between. Camping Information

Not into sleeping outdoors? One of our favorite rustic lodges is right on the banks of the Arkansas River on 23 tree-covered acres, just one mile from downtown Buena Vista. The highly-rated Buena Vista Riverside Lodge at 30000 County Road 371 offers just 5 rustic-chic rooms, some with whirlpool tubs, which are great after a day on the river. This is the definition of local modern rustic Colorado with a communal game area, a fireplace with amazing views, and a complimentary house-made full breakfast daily from 8-9 AM.

 

Family friendly lodging in the Buena Vista valley with wildlife
Elk wanter through the valley. Photo courtesy of Buena Vista Riverside Lodge.

Sightseeing

Since the views in the BV valley at 8,000 feet are epic and surrounded by 14’ers (14,000+ foot peaks), we love to stop at the collegiate peaks scenic overlook. It’s a landmark pull over on Highway 24, ideal to take some great pictures, and marvel at the majesty of Mt. Princeton and the whole mountain range.

Another fun drive is along the Arkansas River, turning at the put-in for the Numbers section of the river. Cross over the river and drive south along the narrow road. You are very likely to see wildlife, and the stone tunnels will remind you of Road Runner and Wile E Coyote. This is classic Colorado, we hope they never “improve” this road.

 

Quenching Your Hunger and Thirst

We have our favorites and although small, Buena Vista has some fun little places to get a drink and fill the belly! 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.

Another local business focuses on craft brews and layers in the colorful tavern with food and draft beer at its two BV locations. Eddyline Brewery brews and cans their beer right on-site at the taproom location at 102 Linderman Avenue in the center of town. Their second location restaurant is at 926 South Main Street right along the Arkansas River and across from the Buena Vista Whitewater Park – which is an awesome place to watch some of the best kayakers practicing their skills in the new South Main Neighborhood development. Great eats include wood-fired pizzas, burgers, wild game sausage, and delicious salads.

great dining and beer in the Buena Vista valley
Colorful dining room, local art and the best brews in the valley. Photo courtesy of Eddyline Brewery.

 

In the mood for a marg? Try dinner at Casa Sanchez 3 at 314 Charles Street. Their guacamole is terrific, and pair perfectly with the natural margaritas mixed with actual lime juice. The pork dish is perfect to share and the shrimp tacos are a delicious, healthy alternative.

We also love the Simple Eatery at 402 E Main Street. They offer fresh ingredients, locally prepared and earned a coveted #1 restaurant rating on Trip Advisor. Try the beef stroganoff or chicken club sandwich or the bison ravioli with the sage cream sauce. Save room for the carrot-coconut cake! This is an “order at the counter” scene but don’t let that put you off, it gives the staff more time to prepare fresh food to order. Simple Eatery is co-located with spoon it up frozen yogurt and artisan bakery, so you know these folks are into food! They also have a patio for those nice days when you want to be outside.

Kick-Back Experiences

In the summer, we adore the funky little drive-in movie theater in the shadows of Mt. Princeton. The Comanche Drive-In plays first-run films in the middle of a field making for a great throwback experience. Just 3 miles west of BV on Highway 306, they are one of only 8 drive-in theaters remaining in Colorado (and one of only about 300 in the US), and notably at the highest elevation. Thinking back to those grainy films of the ’70s? Not the Comanche – they upgraded to new digital projection in August of 2018 and offer 4k digital clarity along with sound piped in through your car radio or your own portable through FM radio. Of course, popcorn and concessions are for sale – they take cash only, so be prepared! Get up to date film information on their Facebook page.

Our last recommendation for the truly perfect weekend in Buena Vista is to soak in our local hot springs for a soothing, healing, and massively relaxing experience. We love the Mt Princeton Hot Springs with their odorless hot springs bubbling out of the ground at 140F degrees. Open year-round, there are numerous choices spread around the manicured grounds of the resort. For a $25 day pass to the hot springs, you can choose from the relaxation pool, cascading hot springs, or the truly unique chalk creek hot springs where you dig down into the rocks to encourage the hot bubbles of healing to reach your body. Their full spa offers massage, facials, body treatments, and more pampering than you may have enjoyed in years. The resort also has 5 different lodges for accommodations … and is a favorite destination for everything from family reunions to weddings and bachelorette weekends.

Chalk Creek Hot Springs at the base of Mt Princeton
Chalk Creek Hot Springs, image courtesy of Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort

Buena Vista adventures, experiences, and views are things movies, stories, and memories are made of. I was lucky enough to attend camp at the base of Mt Princeton when I was a kid and my experiences whitewater rafting, horseback riding, and hiking were memories I’ll never forget. It’s what brings visitors back time and again to this very special little Colorado valley.


A Colorado Summer Bucket List

It’s never too early to start planning what you’ll do next summer, and if you plan (or want to be) in Colorado, here’s our definitive list (in no particular order) of 10 must-see and must-do Colorado attractions and activities.

Climb Some Sand Dunes

To be in Colorado and surrounded by high sand dunes is pretty mind-blowing. Add in some sandboarding or a float down Medano Creek, and you’ll begin to think you’re in another world altogether.

Summit a Fourteener

Colorado is famous for its mountains, most notably its 58 14,000-footers. Make a goal of summitting at least one this summer. Buena Vista in the Arkansas River Valley is a great base camp because it's surrounded by the largest concentration of fourteeners in Colorado.

Experience an Ancient Culture

Climb underground into an ancient kiva in southern Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park, home to thousands of ancient archeological sites and cliff dwellings. This historically fascinating, must-see park dates back to year 600 to 1300. Stay in nearby Dolores and take a three-day Dolores raft trip with KODI.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre provides a unique natural landscape and live music all rolled into one. The park is centered around the incredible red rock formations for which it gets its name, and out of which the world-famous amphitheatre was built. Walk around the stage, explore trails throughout the park, and catch world-class musicians at night.

Go Rafting

Navigate Colorado’s epic rivers by raft, led by a trusted guide. KODI Rafting offers gentle family floats and challenging white water excursions. You can craft a multi-day splash fest or simply join for a day of fun. See a different side of Colorado and enjoy some family bonding, too. Learn more about KODI's raft trips.

Go Ziplining

See a Colorado forest or canyon like never before. Zip through the trees and above a crevice at high speed for an adventure to last a lifetime. KODI offers zipline trips in the summer and winter. Book yours today.

Horseback Ride through the Rockies

Few activities embody the West like a good old-fashioned horseback ride through the Colorado mountains. Somehow, wildlife viewing, sightseeing, and simply enjoying the outdoors are just a little better when sitting astride a saddle. Learn more about KODI’s horseback riding trips.

See Crested Butte’s Wildflowers

When Colorado's wildflowers are in full bloom, there's no better place to see the sprawling fields of purple, yellow and red than in Crested Butte.  Crested Butte has several trail options that will give you amazing views of wildflowers and amazing mountain scenery surrounding the town. Getting to Crested Butte from Buena Vista is quick and easy. Just head over the newly paved Cottonwood Pass and you'll be there in a jiffy.

Soak in Some Hot Springs

Colorado is dotted with hot springs, from fancy resorts to hidden gems in the middle of a forest. In Buena Vista, there are two great hot springs to choose from. Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resorts offers an up-scale resort feel, while Cottonwood Hot Springs offers a down-to-earth, get lost in the woods feel. Take a dip and go rafting with KODI’s Paddle and Dip Adventure Package.

Hike to a Waterfall

Waterfalls are one of the best side effects of a Colorado hike. They might be tiny, wispy ones you happen by along a scenic trail, or they might be bigger destinations unto themselves. Popular Colorado waterfall include Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Fish Creek Falls in Steamboat Springs, Zapata Falls near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs.


Get to Know KODI's Raft Guides

We asked our raft guides a few fun questions so you would have a chance to know them a little better.

  1. Where was your first raft trip?
  2. What's your favorite river/rapid to paddle?
  3. What do you love most about being a raft guide?
  4. What do you do during the winter?
  5. Where's your favorite place to camp or play in Colorado?
  6. What was the biggest or most challenging river you've ever paddled?

Check out their answers below.

Mitch Hall

  1. My first-time rafting was day one of training with KODI two years ago.
  2. The numbers is still my favorite section of river. Every year I learn more about this technical section.
  3. The whitewater community is a tight-knit group that takes care of each other.
  4. In the winter I am a ski patroller at Eldora Mountain. I typically ski about seven days a week.
  5. Rocky Mountain National Park is my favorite place in Colorado. It's so big!
  6. The upper Gauley river is the hardest river I have ever been on. It's a tradition of mine every September.

Ben Darby

  1. Royal Gorge
  2. Tunnel Shoot on the middle fork of the American
  3. Being in Nature
  4. Plow Snow
  5. Buena Vista
  6. Yuba class 5 in California

Jay Chambers

  1. 1989 in Colorado on the way to Philmont Scout Ranch for a two-week backpacking trip, we stopped in Buena Vista and rafted Browns Canyon
  2. Being out on the water, enjoying the outdoors and introducing new people to the experience.
  3. Ski and snowboard instructor at Beaver Creek.
  4. Anywhere, really. We live in an amazingly beautiful part of the country.
  5. A tossup between the Grand Canyon and the Tully River in Queensland, Australia during flood season.

Dani Daugherty

  1. The Lehigh River in the Poconos in Pennsylvania (pretty mild comparing to what I do now lol)
  2.  The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
  3. Sharing with other people my love for the place I live in and the things I love to do on a daily basis
  4. Coach /teach snowboarding around Summit County & run an online CBD Oil Business
  5. Buena Vista, Colorado :)
  6.  The Upper Gauley in West Virginia