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Royal Gorge Whitewater Rafting
Rapids Rating: III-IV+
Min. Age: 16

Royal Gorge is one of Colorado's premier whitewater rafting trips!

Experience Colorado’s Royal Gorge, a challenging whitewater adventure for paddling enthusiasts!

This Royal Gorge rafting adventure is a full day of exciting, challenging, and physically demanding whitewater. In the shadows of the 1000 foot walls of the Royal Gorge lies 18 exciting miles of Arkansas River whitewater rafting. This Royal Gorge full day trip requires the guide team and paddle crews to work closely together to navigate Class III-IV+ rapids.

Lunch is included on the river. Check-in time can vary depending on where your group is coming from, but typically groups coming from Colorado Springs and Denver meet at Pinnacle Rock (the put-in location near Canon City). Other groups coming from Buena Vista can shuttle with Noah’s Ark to and from the Royal Gorge.

Full Day Trip
4-5 Hours
Adults $187
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Meeting Place

Noah's Ark Whitewater Rafting
Co. Buena Vista, Colorado
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Group Size & Discount

Min. 1, Max. 500
Discount for groups 10 or more.
Please call for group discounts.

Check-in Time

8 AM May - August
8:45 AM June - July


Half Day - 10mi
Full Day - 16mi

Trip Meal

Half Day - Not Included
Full Day - Included

Experience & Equipment

No experience required
Rafting Equipment List (PDF)


We had an amazing time on our trip with Caleb as our guide! It was very clear that the Noah's Ark team had the most experience as we saw other groups struggle through rapids that we had no problem with. We enjoyed our conversation with our guide, the lovely scenery and a perfect day for rafting. Highly recommend Noah's Ark!!

This was our first whitewater rafting trip. We had 3 kids from 6-13. Avery was our guide and did an amazing job getting us down the river. The experience was way better than we had imagined! Everyone loved it. Would absolutely go again. Thanks to Avery for a most memorable trip!

We had an amazing rafting trip this summer! Noah’s Ark was outstanding across the board. They were professional and it was obvious safety is a priority for them. But they were also personable and engaging. Our guide made an effort to get to know us. She was also very knowledgeable about the river and the area in general. She made sure we saw unique rock formations and interesting things. I highly recommend and would definitely use again.

Ok thrill seekers, this one’s for you! If you’ve ever wanted to try whitewater river rafting then “Noah’s Ark” is here to make that dream a reality for you. A little more than a hour South of Breckenridge you’ll find @noahsarkrafting based in Buena Vista along the Arkansas River. Although our adventure traveled along Class 1-3 rapids, they also offer tours including Class 4 rapids 😳. The entire staff was prepared, supportive, and professional.

We had an awesome time rafting Brown's Canyon! Joel our rafting guide was a laid back experienced professional, who was easy to get along with. He did an excellent job at guiding and instructing us through the rapids we encountered along our way. We would highly recommend this guiding service to anyone who wants to have an awesome time on the Arkansas River. The whole staff at Noah's ark were very courteous and friendly. We will definitely be visiting again on our next trip to the Buena Vista area!


High water levels in excess of 3,000 CFS can occur in June (and July for 2019) as a result of above average snowfall in the mountains. The Arkansas River is fed by snowmelt, and especially in early season is extremely cold. Higher water levels and cold temperatures can increase the risks to participants, and, specifically those with health concerns or heart problems. Cold water can add additional stress to the body, and, should you fall in, you may be required to swim aggressively to shore or to another boat – a situation that creates extreme physiologic stress.

When higher water levels occur, guests should discuss age restrictions, trip conditions, and trip selection with the Noah’s Ark Reservations Staff. If you have health concerns and specifically heart problems, we recommend talking with your physician prior to the rafting trip.

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.

Noah’s takes the training and preparation of our staff very seriously. One of our company’s highest priorities is teach and training because we desire to provide you with excellence and extraordinary customer service. We incorporate the highest standards of development in all of our training programs.

Noah’s Ark is also one of the few outfitters that conducts in-depth training sessions with our staff in their returning seasons. All Noah’s Ark staff training meets or exceeds the State of Colorado requirements, the US Forest Service requirements, and industry standards in the following areas:

  • River Guide Training
  • Rock Climbing Guide Training
  • Mountaineering Guide Training
  • Adventure Park Training
  • Trip Leader Training
  • Leadership Development Training
  • Guide Instructor Training
  • Swift Water Rescue Training
  • First Aid & CPR Training & Certification

What does all of this mean? It means that we care about our guests, and we are committed to providing the best outdoor experience available. We believe our preparation and attention to detail will provide you with an unforgettable experience.

Yes, each raft will have a guide.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Chart for more information.

The largest Type V life jacket approved by the Coast Guard allows for a 52″ chest. This is what we provide.

Please refer to the Rapid Classification Chart for this information.

Helmets are required on all whitewater rafting trips.

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 all 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. We may increase the minimum age during peak run-off season.

Noah’s Ark has strict policies in place for each section of water on the Arkansas River. If the water exceeds, or drops below a certain level (measured in CFS), Noah’s Ark may find it necessary to move a trip to another section or cancel a trip entirely.

Scroll Table
Rafting TripsMilesCheck-in TimeRapids RatingMeals IncludedMin. AgeBest for FamiliesAdult PriceYouth Price
Browns Canyon Half Day108:00 AM & 12:45 PMIII to III+None6Yes$106$96
Browns Canyon Full Day168:00 AM May & Aug
8:45 AM June & July
III to IV16Yes$156$146
Narrows Full Day138:00 AMIII to IV114No$155N/A
Numbers Half Day68:00 AM & 12:45 PMIV to IV+None16No$125N/A
Numbers Full Day198:00 AMIV to IV+116No$175N/A
Royal Gorge Full Day188:00 AMIV to IV+116No$180N/A
Browns Canyon Overnight1611:45 AMIII to IV36Yes$450$425
Narrows Overnight Trip298:00 AMIII to IV414No$495N/A