Classifications of Rapids for Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

Our whitewater rafting guests often ask us questions about river water depth, the kind of rapids they’ll be rafting through, and what the whole class system means as they prepare for their first or even 50th rafting adventure with us.  So we thought we’d bring some clarity to the question and give you an overview of rapids classifications for whitewater river rafting … and provide some expertise on the topic.

Factors in Rapids Classifications

Rapids and the classifications of whitewater vary due to different circumstances: water levels can be high or low depending on the amount of snowmelt and vary as weather conditions change. Our beautiful snowcapped Rocky Mountain peaks melt and flow into Colorado streams, rivers, and reservoirs starting in earnest in May, which is the start of the spring runoff. The start of rafting season usually kicks off in the middle of May as the weather warms up, and tends to max out the highest water flow throughout Colorado depending on altitude and distance from the deepest snow pack. In general, spring snowmelt brings higher water and higher levels of difficulty while running our rivers primarily because the water runs fast and furious, forcing quick decisions as river features change. Water levels fluctuate dramatically throughout the summer and our guides can even see differing conditions between a morning run and an afternoon trip when water levels are in a high state of flux.

What are Rapids Classifications?

Rapids themselves are graded on a class system starting at 1 and progressing to 6.  The higher up the scale they go, the more difficult and the more consequential the stretch of water will be. As an example, there are many variables that can change, either upgrading or downgrading the classification of a rapid. Rapid variables include water levels, objects, under

cut rocks, and strainers (like a log jam). Certain features within a river naturally are more difficult and make it more challenging to navigate. For example, Brown’s Canyon is less difficult to navigate than the Numbers section of the Arkansas River. This is why it’s so great to have an experienced raft guide to help you experience Colorado’s most beautiful areas safely. This, as well as having a great day of fun on the water, is what you experience when rafting with Kodi Rafting. Let’s explore the difference between each classification of whitewater in even more detail than is outlined on our website’s rapids classification page.

Class I is flat, easy moving current. Minimal moves, minimal difficulty. The most difficulty you experience on this level of river is navigating around bends and avoiding shallows, perhaps pulling into eddies. Think of this as a leisurely float down a river. Class I is about staying with the current and literally going with the flow.

Class II is moving current with slightly more difficulty and has specific moves that your raft guide needs to make in order to navigate the river efficiently. The difference between class I and II is the necessity to maneuver around objects or shallow sections. Class II is a moderate river trip and great for families. A bit more adventure and splashing without high anxiety. Join Kodi for class II trips on the Upper Colorado, Blue River, or Clear Creek for 1/2 day or full day trips.

Class III is a moderately difficult section of river, with slightly higher consequences, and with more difficult moves to be made by your raft guide. There is typically faster moving current than class I and class II, and there can be objects and things to avoid along your path. Some of these potential objects could impede your raft, or even flip you over if not navigated around properly. Class II, & III trips are your typical family trips with somewhat older or more adventurous family members. If you’d like to experience a higher level of family excitement, book our Arkansas 1/2 day or full day trip with Kodi at our Buena Vista location, or the Clear Creek Canyon trip departing from Idaho Springs to enjoy class III rapids.

Class IV is a difficult stretch of river. A class IV section has fun, fast and technical rapids. Standing waves, big rocks, turbulent water, and difficult features are all things you will find on Class IV river runs. These rapids are active: multiple objects, multiple variables and multiple moves involved in order to navigate safely. The Numbers of the Arkansas River, and Clear Creek are examples of exciting options Kodi offers to raft this kind of trip, for a high level of excitement and challenge.

Class V is for experts only. This is the most challenging level for a commercially rafted trip. Class V includes lots of maneuvering, with fast consequential moves. Teamwork, communication, coordination, and strong paddling are needed to safely navigate Class V sections of whitewater. These rapids can have large drops, violent currents, and extremely steep gradients – and loads of excitement!

Class VI is extraordinarily difficult or non-runnable sections of river. Rafters face extreme imminent danger. Think cliff drops, big rocks, and scary aspects of challenge. Class VI level rapids are never run commercially, and are often walked around by rafters to avoid them.

So whatever level of challenge, splashes, and excitement you desire, Kodi Rafting can deliver. From calm float trips to expert runs to go big, give us a call to book the rafting adventure that suits your family, group, or yourself!

Call to book your whitewater adventure with us today at 877-747-RAFT or book online here. 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!


Quick and Easy Guidelines to Buying Your First Raft

Colorado summers are marked by hundreds of rafts floating down the Centennial State’s rivers and for good reason. Rafting is super fun and a wonderful way to spend the day outdoors with family and friends.

If you’ve caught the rafting bug and are thinking about purchasing your own raft, here are some quick and easy guidelines to help you make the right choice.

  1. The larger the boat, the more people and gear it can carry.
  2. The smaller the boat, the more nimble and maneuverable it will probably be and the more exciting the ride in whitewater. Just don’t overload a small boat, because that will affect its maneuverability.
  3. A 12-13-foot raft is comfortable for a maximum of five-six people and a 14-15-footer will work well for up to seven or eight people. For two people, stick to a 12-foot or smaller raft.
  4. For multiday trips for two people, figure on at least a 13-foot raft. For three or four people, you’re looking at a 14-15-foot raft.
  5. A paddleboat means every one of the raft paddles and participates. With an oar boat, one person is in charge of maneuvering the raft.
  6. The wider the boat, the more stable it will be in whitewater. A narrower boat can fit through tighter rocky stretches.
  7. The distance between the side tubes of a raft determines the size of the cooler or dry box that will fit inside.
  8. A wider raft doesn’t necessarily have more interior room. If the boat has larger diameter tubes, that eats into this space.
  9. Have more questions? Contact KODI Rafting. Our rafting guides and experts can help you choose the raft that’s right for you.

Is Whitewater Rafting Dangerous?

Whitewater rafting is the ultimate in fun adventure. But like all outdoor activities, these wet and wild river trips involve an element of inherent risk. For those booking a rafting trip, isn’t it great to know rafting is actually far safer than many other outdoor sports? In fact, the most common rafting injury is either a sunburn or something that happens on land, especially when getting into and out of a boat.

Nonetheless, the media loves to sensationalize adventure accidents, and whitewater rafting is no exception. But in reality, the chances of being a statistic are actually very small.

River Valley, a New Zealand-based outfitter, crunched US and New Zealand data and found that fatal injuries averaged 1 per year since the beginnings of the rafting industry. Another study that used distance traveled on a raft as its base unit of comparison estimated that it was up to 100 times more dangerous to travel in a car on any given distance than what it was to be on a raft.

The reality is, like any outdoor activity, whitewater rafting is never going to be 100% safe. However, there are a few simple things you can do to help keep yourself safe once you have decided to go rafting.

  • Choose a river appropriate for your physical fitness.
  • Be honest with yourself about your physical limitations.
  • Listen carefully to your guides. Do your best to follow their instructions.
  • Make sure you wear helmets and life jackets at all times while on the water.

Here at KODI Rafting, safety is our #1 priority with FUN a close second. As a KODI Rafting guest, your safety is by far our #1 concern. Training in a dynamic environment such as the river is crucial to who we are and the experiences we offer. Our training staff has over 50 years of combined experience that they have passed along to all of our river guides. KODI also incorporates Swiftwater Rescue training into our continuing guide education – which is something very few rafting outfitters are able to do. We have the privilege of offering these courses through Sawatch Rescue, owned and operated by one of our founding KODI Family members.


How Do You Want to Get Down the River?

It’s no secret. Those of us at KODI love spending time on the river. It’s why we do what we do after all. However, with so many different ways to get down the river, each one of us has a boat (or board) we prefer. With KODI, you can have the opportunity to experience several different methods for ripping the rapids or floating over smooth waves. Not sure what we mean? Check out the following list of different ways to get down the river. Then call us, and let us know what you’re interested in trying.

Paddle Boat

A paddle boat (raft) is propelled by paddles. That is to say, everyone on the boat—guide included—uses the same tool.

In a paddle boat, you have the opportunity to become a large part of the river rafting experience because it's up to you and your comrades to guide the boat in the right direction. Your guide is there to assist you, telling you when to paddle and steering from the rear, but you and the rest of the folks in the boat play a very important role in safely navigating the river.

Oar Boat

While everyone participates in a paddle boat, an oar boat is powered by a single person utilizing two 9-10-foot-long oars positioned off of either side of the boat, allowing passengers to relax, lay back, and enjoy the ride.

For slow, flat-water stretches, there is nothing more relaxing than riding along on an oar boat.

Duckie

Duckies are the more popular name for inflatable sit-on-top kayaks. These boats are fairly stable, relatively easy to paddle, and lots of fun. Paddlers sit either cross-legged or with their legs outstretched on the inflated floor chamber while leaning against an inflatable backrest.

Whitewater Kayak

Whitewater kayaks are molded in a semi-rigid, high impact plastic, usually polyethylene. Careful construction ensures the boat remains structurally sound when subjected to fast-moving water.

Whitewater kayaks range from 4 to 10 feet. There are two types of whitewater kayaks: play boats and creek boats. Play boats are shorter for high maneuverability and are used for performing tricks. Creek boats are longer and are more often used for large rivers where their extra stability and speed may be necessary to get through rapids.

Stand Up Paddleboard

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddleboarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves across a lake or down a river's rapids.


KODI's Tips for Rafting with Kids

Are you looking for a new way to experience the outdoors with your family? If you haven't tried whitewater rafting, what are you waiting for? Rafting is a great activity for adults and children of all ages.

If you want to ride the rapids with your kids, here are some of KODI’s top tips for making your family rafting adventure a great success.

Be Prepared

When going whitewater rafting with children, it’s up to the parent to make sure the child is educated on safety protocols and proper etiquette.

Talk to your child about what to expect. Kids have wild imaginations, and they may be envisioning a scary, big water trip, when in fact, you have a mellow float planned. The same can be said in reverse. If you expect to hit rapids, let your child know.

It’s also up to the parent to have everything a child may need to have a comfortable rafting experience, such as snacks, water bottles, a towel, a change of clothes, and sunscreen.

Pick the Right Trip

Most raft companies, like KODI, offer family-friendly trips that run on milder stretches of water. These floats may even be able to accommodate babies and toddlers, given how fast a river is currently running.

With babies and toddlers, a river section without rapids, or with very small Class I rapids and riffles, is ideal. Elementary-aged kids and older can probably handle Class II and III rapids. The important thing is that they will listen and follow directions and they know what to do if they are ejected from the raft and end up in the river.

Older kids might be ready for bigger rapids, so talk to your booking agent and ask them what is most appropriate.

Always Put Safety First

Everyone needs to wear a PFD when on the boat or playing in the river—even good swimmers. Kids under the age of six or seven should wear a PFD in camp, too. Take swimming lessons. The better the swimmer, the better they will handle a spill into the river.

Stay Warm

Cold water can be a risk even on warm days. Have dry clothes, towels, and rain jackets in a dry bag. Kids get cold quickly in a boat since they aren’t moving around much.

Want to book a Colorado raft trip for your family? Contact KODI Rafting today, we’ll help you choose the perfect trip for you and your kids.


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