FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Please call or email with any additional questions or trip inquiries.
Is rafting safe?
No. There are risks in any outdoor activity, whether you are rafting, backpacking, rock climbing, or playing on the Browns Canyon Adventure Park. These risks are at the core of the experience and provide the excitement and adventure associated with the activity. Our guides undergo rigorous training that meets & exceeds state requirements. This includes learning principles of risk management and decision making that lead to MINIMIZING, but never completely eliminating, risk. If you would like to learn more about our guide selection and training, please click here
Will my raft have a guide?
Yes, each raft will have a guide.
Do I need to know how to swim?
While knowing how to swim is not required, it is definitely recommended. Noah's Ark will provide you with a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket that is designed to keep you afloat in the water. Having the ability to swim will increase your comfort level and will also enable you to more quickly get out of the river if you happen to find yourself out of the raft and in the water. We will give you a pre-trip safety talk in which you will be instructed on protecting yourself in the water by identifying and evading hazards in the river and taught how or when to maneuver back to the raft or get to shore. In addition, you will be instructed in self-rescue techniques where swimming skills are important. *If you are rafting the Royal Gorge or the Numbers (bigger water), you are required to have Class III rafting experience and are expected to know how to handle yourself in the water.
What is the difference between an oar boat, combination boat, and paddle boat?
In an oar boat
, the guide will do ALL the work from the center of the boat using his/her oars. Oar boats are ideal for families as well as those looking to just relax, hang out, and enjoy the scenery. An oar boat becomes a combo boat
when up to 4 paddles are added for those in the group who would like to paddle during the trip. Being in a paddle boat
requires a commitment to paddle the entire length of the trip. The guide steers from the back of the boat, calling out commands to the paddlers who provide the necessary momentum to move the boat down the river. There is less opportunity to hold on in a paddle boat, as you will need to be prepared to paddle through the rapids. The minimum age for a paddle boat is 16, or 14 with previous class III rafting experience; other restrictions may apply depending on the section of river and water level.
Your trip leader will work with you to select the right type of boat(s) for your group.
How many people fit in a raft?
An oar boat can hold up to 8 people plus the guide, while a paddle boat can hold up to 7 plus the guide. If you are in a group requiring more than 1 raft your trip leader will work with you to appropriately divide the group into boats.
What should I wear?
Wear quick drying materials, like swimsuits, swim trunks, Underarmour, nylon or synthetic fabrics. Basically, quick-drying athletic clothing is appropriate. Do not wear cotton, as this will keep you cold when it gets wet. No Crocs or Flip-Flops. Wear old tennis shoes or sandals that are made for river activity, with a strong back strap around the ankle, or you may rent water boots at our front desk, along with other rental gear. Sunscreen is highly recommended, and sunglasses with a strap.
Do we need to rent wetsuits?
Wetsuits are available for rent. Some people like to rent wetsuits because they may keep you warmer when in contact with water. Water is colder in the spring, early summer, as well as during "high water" when it is running faster and does not have as much time to warm up. Wetsuits can also help keep you warmer during inclement weather, which is both common and unpredictable in Colorado during the summer months. Wetsuits guard against the potential shock associated with cold water immersion. If you are concerned about getting cold on your trip for any reason, we recommend that you rent a wetsuit for your personal comfort. Wetsuits are advised any time the water levels are above 2800 CFS in the Royal Gorge and 900 CFS in the Numbers. Please refer to the Rentals Comparison Chart
for more information.
What is the largest life jacket you provide?
The largest Type V life jacket approved by the Coast Guard allows for a 52" chest. This is what we provide.
How are rapids classified?
Please refer to the Rapid Classification Chart
for this information.
Are helmets required?
Helmets are required on Browns Canyon, the Narrows, the Numbers, and the Royal Gorge.
Why is the minimum age 6 years old?
There are many issues that come into play in determining the minimum age for whitewater rafting. Two important considerations are the size and maturity level of the child: US Coast Guard approved Type V life jackets do not come in sizes to fit small children; the ability of the child to not panic, to understand instructions and to self rescue if they are thrown from the boat is essential. Based on the risk, the water, and the type of gear, we have established that the minimum age for the Browns Canyon section of the river is 6 years old.
What is the class of rock climbing?
The climbs that we offer are rated between 5.6 and 5.8 on the standard North American Rating System (Yosemite Decimal System). These climbs are great for both beginners and those who have climbed before. Our guides will place you on a climb that is appropriate for your experience level.
How high is the rock climb and rappel?
At our primary rock climbing site, Bob's Rock, you will rappel approximately 75 feet and climb to a height of approximately 65 feet.
What does everyone else do while the others are rock climbing?
We can provide two or three different climbs and up to five rappelling stations to keep as many people in your group participating at once as possible. The size of your group will dictate how many systems we set up. While not participating, guests are invited to encourage others climbing or take time to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery. Our guides can help by leading initiative games with those waiting for a climb or rappel.
What is the weight of an average pack?
Our guides will work to adequately distribute to your group the weight of food and community gear, depending on the size of each participant. An "average" pack might weigh 30-40 pounds, but will vary depending on the size of each individual.
Do we move our camp every day or stay in the same place?
On the majority of our trips you will move camp each night. This will depend on your specific route and the difficulty level you have requested for your wilderness backpacking trip. Easier routes may include two nights where you stay in the same place. You may also keep camp in the same place to set up for a peak climb, or if you want a considerable amount of time for fishing. When you book your trip, we will make sure to understand your expectations and group's ability so that we can assign an appropriate route.
Are we guaranteed a peak climb?
Peak climbs can never be guaranteed due to factors out of our control such as inclement weather or the condition of the group. Our guides will do everything possible to help you accomplish this goal, but are trained to recognize when it is appropriate to turn around given the safety and well being of the group.
What do I need to bring?
Please refer to Equipment Lists
Do my children need to read, understand and sign the release form?
Yes, everyone going on the trip must read, understand, and sign the release form.
Can I make an alteration or amendment to my release form?
No changes or alterations are allowed to the release. Any release that we receive that has been altered, changed or is not signed by the proper parties will prohibit that guest or child from participating in the activity or going on any trip. No refunds will be given if the release form has been altered, changed or not sign.
Is it appropriate to tip my guide?
Tipping is industry standard. If you have received exceptional customer service and recognize your guide’s hard work in providing you with a quality, professional experience, $5-7.00 per guest is typical for a half-day trip; 10-20% is recommended for all-day or multi-day trips. Tips are always greatly appreciated, but never expected.
Do we have to pay user fees on our trip if we are tax exempt?
Yes. These charges are not a "tax" but a user fee assessed by the agency that governs the public land on which we operate. The Arkansas River fee goes to the Colorado State Parks, the Gunnison River fee to the Bureau of Land Management, and fees associated with rock climbing, hiking and backpacking go to the United States Forest Service.
What happens if the weather is bad?
With the exception of rock climbing, we will continue with all trips in the case of inclement weather, taking all necessary precautions given the weather conditions (i.e. rain, hail, wind, lightning). A rock climb will be canceled if it is raining, and unfortunately we are not able to refund the trip if it can't be rescheduled.