Why Should I Raft With Echo Canyon?

Echo Canyon River Expeditions was started in 1978 with the goal of providing the best possible river experience. The size of our company has grown substantially since those early days, but our team spirit, dedication, and attention to detail is still at its best. Safety is our primary concern. Our guides are devoted professionals who are interesting, intelligent, and fun to be with. They are experts in everything from rowing a rapid to sharing a good story. All guides go through an extensive training program and are First Aid and CPR certified. We are proud of the varied qualities our staff contributes to our company. The most innovative and top quality equipment is used and we only use self bailing rafts. We take pride in the fact that most of our guests have been with us before or were referred to us by someone who was — quality and satisfaction keeps bringing them back! Experience the “ECHO DIFFERENCE”. Learn more about why you should raft with us.

Which Trip Should We Choose?

First time paddlers and seasoned boaters alike will enjoy the class III whitewater of the Parkdale run also known as Bighorn Sheep Canyon of the Arkansas. Our half-day trip will encounter several major rapids; and once you start, the fun doesn’t end until you finish the trip. The full-day trip is action-packed with over 20 invigorating rapids. You’ll have ample time to relish the exquisite mountain scenery and enjoy our scrumptious riverside luncheon buffet (recommended minimum age is 6 years old).

For the experienced rafter wanting the ultimate in whitewater and outstanding scenery, the choice should be the Royal Gorge. The half-day trip is a thrill-a-minute expedition for those with previous paddling experience and on a tight schedule. The full-day trip is nationally known as being one of the Top 10 river runs in the U.S.A. Good physical conditioning as well as swimming ability is recommended for all trips through the Royal Gorge (recommended minimum age is 14-18 years old).

When considering which trip to choose, please consider the suggestions on our Guest Responsibility document to ensure a fun and memorable experience for your group.

We offer several multi-day combinations of our Arkansas River trips to provide overnight trips for all experience levels. The Royal Gorge & Numbers 2-day trip is the most extreme. The 2-day Bighorn Canyon & Browns Canyon is the mildest overnight trip. For several days of excellent whitewater, we suggest the Browns Canyon, Numbers, Royal Gorge 3-day trip.

When is the Best Time to Go?

There is no “best time” to go. However, there are seasonal differences that need to be considered when planning your trip. Our regular season runs from mid-April through mid-September. The Arkansas River typically reaches its peak sometime between mid-May and early July producing some of the best whitewater in Colorado. Remember. . . May and June tend to have cooler air temperatures and a chance for late afternoon showers. July through early September are the warm and sunny months with somewhat lower water levels. When the spring run-off is at its peak, some sections and/or rapids may be unrunnable. During these rare instances, we will accommodate your group on another section of the river. The majority of our overnight trips are run mid-May through early August depending upon water levels.

Do I Have to Know How to Swim?

No! Every person on the trip will be issued a U.S. Coast Guard approved Type V Personal Flotation Device, better known as a life jacket. These devices are designed to float your head above the surface of the water even if you do not know how to swim. It needs to be noted that on any raft trip, particularly our more advanced trips, having the ability to swim will greatly enhance your comfort zone as well as your ability to get out of the river in the event you should find yourself out of the raft. A detailed safety lecture of instructions is given before the rafts are launched. Swimming ability is strongly recommended on our more advanced river trips. Click here to read more about your responsibility as a guest to ensure a fun and memorable experience.

How Safe is it?

The charm and excitement of whitewater rafting is due in part to the unpredictable nature of the activity. The more challenging the rapid the more difficult it is to navigate successfully. Fluctuating water levels, weather and other variables are difficult to predict. Quality river trips depend largely on the skill and personality of the river guide. We carefully hand select our guides on that premise. All of our buses are equipped with radios to facilitate necessary communication. Our family of staff will contribute their knowledge and skills to ensure an enjoyable experience. We have safety protocol in place to address those instances that may present themselves. For your safety and ours, no alcohol or illegal drugs are permitted before or during the trip. Those who do not adhere to this very basic request will not be allowed to participate nor will a refund be available. We do our best to help you select a trip appropriate for your group, although you as the guest have certain responsibilities to ensure you have a fun and memorable experience.

What Equipment Does Echo Canyon Provide?

All necessary river equipment is provided for you. Echo Canyon River Expeditions adheres to the following policy when it comes to rafting equipment: nothing can replace top quality. All equipment is maintained and we replace equipment when we feel it is necessary. We ask that you come prepared with a waterproof rain jacket or windbreaker and a wool shirt or sweater. We also rent wetsuits, spray wear and river shoes which can contribute greatly to the enjoyment of your trip when weather is a consideration.

Do You Run Trips if it’s Raining?

Our river trips leave as scheduled, rain or shine. However, we reserve the right to cancel or shorten a trip due to extreme weather conditions if we feel it would be unsafe to continue.

How Much Are Wetsuit Rentals?

Shorts, bathing suit, and sneakers are proper attire, as most days are sunny and hot. We suggest you leave a change of clothes in your car as you WILL get wet! Items such as snacks, beverages, t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, shorts, eye-glass retainers, water-proof cameras and sunscreen are available at our shop. We also carry top of the line wetsuits that are well maintained to insure performance and cleanliness. Reservations are not required.

River Shoes Wetsuit Spray top
Half-day $5 $7 $5
Full-day $5 $10 $7

What About the Cuisine?

Our riverside lunch includes a grilled steak, fresh green salad, potato salad, fresh fruit and cookies. Doubling as a chef at mealtime on multi-day river trips, our guides will amaze you with the tasty meals from the “riverside kitchen”. Fresh fruit, pancakes, juice, coffee, and English muffins with egg and meat dishes constitute a typical breakfast on multi-day trips. For dinner, we prepare tasty appetizers, hearty well-rounded meals and delicious desserts. You’ll leave the campfire feeling satisfied! The warm, friendly personalities of our guides rounds out every meal. Please advise us of any special dietary requirements you may have in advance and we will be happy to accommodate you.

What Should We Bring & How to Stay Warm?

“Hypothermia” or the loss of body heat, is the biggest cause of discomfort on river trips. Even in clear, 80 degree weather, the wrong combination of water, temperature, wind, and wet clothing can bring it on. Wool, “pile”, polypropylene, rain suits and wetsuits can insulate against hypothermia. If you own a wetsuit consider bringing it along. If not, we suggest renting our wetsuits. Cotton and/or acrylic clothing, ESPECIALLY BLUE JEANS or SWEATS, are NOT ACCEPTABLE because they hold cold moisture next to your skin. Those embarking on Multi-Day Trips should download a copy of our Overnight Checklist (PDF file).

What is the Difference Between a Paddle Boat and an Oar Boat?

If you are in good health and would like to participate, paddle rafting is the choice for you. Each person has a paddle in their hand and the guide will give instructions and commands of what to do. You will need to continue to paddle in the rapids. If you prefer to hold on and enjoy the ride and mountain scenery, the oar rigged raft is for you. It is recommended that children, age 12 and under, ride in an oar raft with a parent or legal guardian. All oar boats will have several paddles available so guests and children can participate if they choose while the guide controls the raft with his/her oars.

How Many People Go in a Raft?

Our 14 foot self-bailing rafts will accommodate 7-8 guests and 1 guide. At lower water levels we will usually take no more than six guests in a raft. When planning a trip for a group try to reserve in multiples of 7. For example; a group of 14 would be divided into 2 groups of 7 and placed in 2 rafts. On all days we attempt to fill our seats, so a group of 10 may be asked to split with 7 and 3, with the group of 7 in one raft and the 3 placed in a raft with 4 people from a different group. If you wish to guarantee your own exclusive raft with only members of you party you may purchase the additional spots in the raft. Discounts for this option may be available on certain days.

Will You Help Me Organize a Group?

If you have a group of 10 or more, you may qualify for our reduced group rates. Our helpful staff is available to answer any questions you have 7 days a week 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. during the heart of our season.

Can I Request a Guide?

Sure! Be sure and do so when you first make your reservation. We will do our best to honor your request; however, they are often requested by several people on the same day or may be working on another section of the river.

Are Gratuities Acceptable?

Yes. Although our staff is compensated for their services, as in any professional service, an exceptional job by any staff member may merit a gratuity. If you are booking for a group and wish to add a $5 to $7 per person auto gratuity our staff can assist you while making your reservation.

Can I Bring My Camera?

If you don’t want to get your camera wet, don’t take it on the river with you. Disposable 35mm film cameras are often available in our shop and they are ideal for capturing all the fun of your trip on film. Please keep in mind that Echo Canyon has a photo program capturing photos and video while you raft. These will be available to view and purchase immediately after your trip.

Can You Accommodate My Special Medical Condition?

Any medical condition or physical disability must be reported to Echo Canyon River Expeditions when you make your reservation as well as written on the Release of Liability and Acknowledgement of Risk form. Be sure to advise the Echo “trip leader” and your guide of your condition before the trip. Bring along any prescribed medication you may require. Please consult with your family physician for medical approval before your trip. We do NOT recommend whitewater rafting if you have any of the following conditions: heart or lung conditions, severe asthma, back problems, recent surgery, obesity or osteoporosis. Pregnant women are NOT allowed on any of our trips under any circumstance. If you suffer from anaphylaxis you will need to bring you epi-pen with you on the trip. Please ask one of our helpful reservationists for assistance as they may be able to direct you to a particular trip that is suitable.

What Methods of Payment do you Accept?

Echo Canyon River Expeditions accepts cash, cashier’s checks, travelers’ checks, money orders, Visa, Master Card, Discover, and American Express. We can accept personal checks ONLY if it is received in our office no less than 21 days before your trip departure date. Personal checks will not be accepted less than 21 days before your trip date.

Can I Purchase a Gift Certificate?

Yes! River trips make great gifts! Select a particular trip for the recipient or give a dollar value certificate and let them arrange the river trip and date to suit their schedule.

How do I Make a Reservation?

It’s EASY! Call 1-800-755-ECHO(3246) 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week during our season (April through August) and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the off season.

Are There Taxes?

There is no “tax” to raft but please be advised that land, water and access or user fees vary from river to river averaging 9.4%.

What are Echo Canyon’s Rafting Policies?

What are Echo Canyon’s Lodging Policies?

Do We Need to Sign a Release Form / Waiver?

Yes. Release Forms are required to be completed in advance for most activities reserved by Echo Canyon. Below is a complete list of release forms you may need to complete, depending on the activities you have reserved with us. If you have any questions about which forms are required, please contact our phone staff and we will assist you.