Leave the roads; take the trails. – Pythagoras.

Here in Colorado, we love the great outdoors because it gives us the ability to enjoy the beauty and solitude of nature. Whether you’re hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, or kayaking down the river, it’s crucial to enjoy these recreational activities with a “leave no trace” mentality. You might be thinking… Why leave no trace? The answer is simple: we want to keep the great outdoors clean, the wildlife wild, and our fellow humans safe.


To fully protect beautiful Colorado and the Colorado rivers, let’s first start with understanding the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, and then we can learn how to put them in place. 

What are the seven principles of Leave No Trace Principles of River Rafting?

Principle 1: Plan ahead and prepare. 

  • Planning ahead makes your outdoor boating adventure safer for you and the outdoors. Don’t be the group that is unprepared and has a miserable time or is in danger due to your lack of proper equipment and planning. Here at Kodi, we do the planning for you… from clothing like helmets and wetsuits to drinking water for your whitewater rafting day trip. To better prepare for your raft trip please read our article on what to wear to go whitewater rafting

Principle 2: Travel and camp on durable surfaces

  • Be a low-impact camper and adventurer when exploring the outdoors. Rafting leaves less trace than normal outdoor activity because traveling down the river on a raft technically leaves no trace. However, our trace starts when we step on land or allow anything from our raft to fall into the river. When at the put in and take out please keep this in mind. When hiking or exploring, stay on the trails and when camping, try to choose big enough campsites for your whole group, therefore you will not have to damage the terrain surrounding your camp. 

Principle 3: Dispose of waste properly 

  • Kodi lives by the motto… We leave the outdoors better than we found it in order to keep our “Good River Karma”. This means we pick up all trash that isn’t from our group, and we encourage our adventurous whitewater rafting clients to do the same! Things you shouldn’t leave behind are trash, gear, food (yes, even banana peels), and human waste. Just remember to pack it in and pack it ALL out. 

Principle 4: Leave what you find

  • Leave what you find means just what you think it means… Don’t take that “cool” rock. Don’t dig a trench for your tent. Don’t construct lean-tos. Don’t cut down a tree to burn as your firewood. Certainly don’t pick wildflowers (they need to go to seed and regenerate for next season!) Your initials are cute but please don’t carve them into a tree! Always remember to minimize our alterations to the outdoors, so everyone can enjoy the beauty without seeing you were there before! 

Principle 5: Minimize campfire impact 

  • One of the best parts of camping is enjoying stories around a campfire with your friends and loved ones. Whether you like to sit around the campfire and tell scary stories, drink a cold one, or roast some marshmallows into s’mores, we want to do it in a minimal impact way. For more information and tips on minimizing your campfire impact, go here.

Principle 6: Respect wildlife

  • Seeing wildlife while rafting down the Arkansas, Clear Creek, Blue, and Colorado rivers is common and we love to enjoy these majestic animals from a distance, however wildlife is easily scared by loud noises, and quick movements. Respecting wildlife is simple… Please never disturb or feed the wildlife. You are encouraged to enjoy the wildlife from a distance so they do not become scared and feel forced to leave. And any human food can mess with their systems and in the case of bears even get them killed if they become too comfortable around people and campsites. Don’t be that forest visitor. 

Principle 7: Be considerate of others 

  • You are not the only one who loves to take advantage of the Rocky Mountain outdoors, so remember to be kind and considerate to your outdoor neighbors! Often we are sharing the rivers with our fellow raft companies’ guides and clients, so please respect them. When boating the Arkansas River, Colorado River, or any river, you will raft through many private properties, so do remember to respect the private property you’re boating through. 


For more about the 7 principles of “leave no trace”, kindly go here.

Join us at Kodi and live by the Leave No Trace Principles of Whitewater River Rafting to reduce our paddlers’ footprint. We leave what we find, we take photographs and epic memories but nothing else; so book your summer rafting trip or call us at (877) 747-RAFT and we can practice minimum impact on our outdoors together while having a blast!