Customer Responsibility

Participant Responsibility

Be prepared and understand the risks.

Whitewater rafting is an adventure sport that involves risks to the participant. Although Defiance Rafting takes precautions to ensure an enjoyable experience, we cannot be responsible for personal injury and/or lost/damaged articles. We require that you acknowledge these risks by listening to a safety briefing prior to your raft trip, as well as reading and signing an assumption of risk and liability release prior to departure. You can review the liability release below. Defiance Rafting provides many experiences to choose from, offering varying degrees of difficulty. Please, make sure you choose a trip within your group’s personal limits, and keep all participants in mind. If you have any questions at all or would like a recommendation feel free to reach out with a call or via email. We believe informed decisions make the best decisions.

High water season in Colorado is typically early to mid-June, peaking around the summer solstice (mid-June). This can differ depending on weather and snowpack percentages. Water levels and weather can affect difficulty levels. For information about current water levels and weather conditions you can contact us at 970-404-3022.

Minimum ages are also available to assist in finding your comfort level. Our minimum ages are not mandatory; they are a guide for you to use when making a decision about the experience you are choosing. Factors going into recommending minimum ages include, but are not limited to, a person’s height, weight, physical ability, mental capability, and maturity levels. These factors, along with our years of experience serving hundreds of thousands of guests, have gone into setting minimum ages. These ages are a guide; it is up to the participants, and their guardians, to choose an adventure within their limits. Minimum age recommendations can change due to weather conditions and/or water levels.


River and rapid classifications is another great way to determine a suitable river trip for your group. Remember that classification can change with weather and water conditions.

  • Beginner = first timers, young children, family-oriented
  • Intermediate = aggressive first timers, teens
  • Advanced = experienced paddlers looking for an adventure
  • Expert = very experienced paddlers only

River Rapids Class Rating System

This is strictly a subjective scale. You can characterize a rapid by class or give a general class to a whole river even though it has several different classes of rapids within it. The class of a rapid or river can change at different water levels. The temperature of the water, the air temperature, the remoteness of the river, and the difficulty of a rescue can all influence a rapid’s class.

  • Class I – Easy. Small riffles. No significant waves or obstacles.
  • Class II – Novice. Moderate rapids with regular waves, small drops, clear passages and wide channels. Occasional maneuvering may be required.
  • Class III – Intermediate. Moderately difficult rapids with larger irregular waves, often narrow channels. Complex maneuvering to avoid obstacles required.
  • Class IV – Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids requiring precise maneuvering in fast, turbulent water. Complex channels with many significant obstacles to be avoided.
  • Class V – Expert. Extremely long violent or obstructed rapids, often following each other almost without interruption. Drops may have large, unavoidable waves and holes, or steep, congested chutes with difficult routes. Steep gradient.
  • Class VI – Unrunnable.

Classifications of river sections may change due to water levels.

For information to help you choose a trip, or for any questions you might have, please, e-mail us, or call 970-404-3022 and our experienced crew will be happy to assist you in putting together a river experience perfect for your group.

Cold weather gear is recommended and may be mandatory for some river adventures. Cold weather gear is not only for your comfort, but also for your safety. Because of cold water and rocky river bottoms, wetsuits, footwear and splash tops make all the difference. If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry; cold weather gear is available at basecamp at no charge.