FAQs

Anyone can go rafting, though we have a few rules about where they go. Unfortunately, kiddos under 30 lbs aren’t allowed on commercial raft trips – they’re too small for the required life jackets and aren’t able to self-rescue in the event they fall out of the raft. Kiddos under 50 pounds aren’t allowed to raft through the Shoshone Rapids. Beyond that, we don’t recommend that you go rafting if you’re pregnant, in ill health, suffer from heart disease, or are anti-fun. We offer trips suitable for all abilities and comfort levels, and the last thing we want to do is put you in a situation you’re uncomfortable with. In official lawyer-speak:  Participants must be able to understand and follow instructions given by guides. Participants must be able to fit into our life jackets and be in good health. If you are pregnant, have a history of heart trouble, or have other medical concerns, please consult your doctor before participating. As with any outdoor adventure experience, some inherent risk is involved. You will need to sign an Assumption of Risk Waiver before your trip.

We will not allow persons impaired by alcohol or drugs to participate in any of our trips. No refund will be provided.

We start our season in May and run trips thru September. If you want to experience big water, we recommend rafting in early to mid-June. However, you should know that the Forest Service closes Shoshone to commercial rafters once the river flows more than 6000 CFS (cubic feet per second). We also impose age and ability restrictions at certain water levels when we are operating below that commercial cutoff.

July and August bring plenty of heat and the water temperature also warms up, which makes taking advantage of those opportunities to hop out of the raft all that more welcome. Mid-day trips tend to be the busiest. The morning trips tend to be the least busy and offer the most stable weather. Late afternoon trips are less busy as well, still plenty hot out, and the lower light sheds some of the intensity of the mid-day UV. It’s not unusual to experience a late-afternoon passing thunderstorm during monsoon season in late-July and early-August. But fortunately, the bit of rain can feel rather refreshing and the storms tend to blow over pretty quick.

September weather is often ideal. There’s also fewer people you’re sharing the river with and the wildlife tends to be more active during this period of the season.

The water temperature varies as the snow melts. The average temperature ranges from 48°F to 70°F.

Colorado has a standard rating for whitewater rapids. These vary depending on fluctuating water levels.
Class I – Easy. No significant waves or obstacles.
Class II – Novice. Playful riffles, regular waves, clear passages, and wide channels.
Class III – Intermediate. Moderately difficult rapids with larger irregular waves, and narrow channels. Avoidance of obstacles is required.
Class IV – Difficult. Intense, powerful rapids requiring precise maneuvering, in turbulent waters.
Class V – Extremely difficult. Continuous rapids. Large waves and holes with a steep gradient.

At Defiance, the Beginner and Beginner + designations are trips with Class I and II stretches. Intermediate and Intermediate + are trips with Class III and IV stretches of whitewater.

Depends on who’s going rafting and what kind of experience you’re looking for. Class I/II rapids are great for families with young children or those who want a more relaxing time on the river. Class II/III trips are perfect for those looking for a blend of action and relaxation. Class III/IV are for true adventure seekers. Whether you are interested in the most popular Glenwood Canyon half-day rafting trip, our mellow and scenic half-day float, our full-day rafting trip, or any of our other awesome Colorado rafting trips, our staff is skilled at helping you choose the best river adventure.

Safety is tops. We only use the highest quality equipment and our staff is fully trained to State of Colorado outfitter and guide standards, including CPR, First Aid, and swiftwater rescue techniques. That said, as with any outdoor adventure experience, some inherent risk is involved.

A swimsuit or lightweight shorts and a shirt work best. Avoid cotton – it doesn’t dry well. For your safety, bare feet and flip-flops are not allowed. Footwear must tie or strap securely on the heels of your feet. We provide complimentary splash jackets, wetsuits, and neoprene booties if you’re concerned about getting too cold. We also suggest wearing a hat, sunglasses with a cord, sunscreen, and bringing water. Please leave your towels and change of clothes in your vehicle for after the trip.

You can, so long as you’re ok with it getting wet or sinking to the bottom of the river. But don’t worry if that does happen; we have professional photographers perfectly positioned to capture the look on your face when we punch through the rapids.

Sure do! If you don’t mind being on a trip with other people but would prefer to have only your party on a guided raft, Defiance does offer private raft pricing on our Glenwood Canyon Half-Day and our Scenic Canyon Half-Day trips.

Additionally, Defiance offers customizable Private Rafting Trips from two to six hours. We also offer inflatable kayaks (duckies) on our Full Day trips and separate guided Kayak Tours.

We offer discounts on groups of eight or more people. Please call 970-404-3022 for details.

Reservations are highly recommended. However, we are happy to make last-minute bookings as space allows. If it’s within 24 hours before you’d like to go rafting, call us at  970-404-3022.

We require payment at the time of your reservation to guarantee your space. Reservations made more than seven days before your experience can be secured with a 50% deposit, with the balance being collected the day of your experience. Payment can also be split among parties within a reservation. This can be done when booking your experience online or by calling our office. Group reservation policies differ; please call our office.

We have a 48-hour cancellation policy. If you cancel outside of 48 hours before your scheduled trip time, you will receive a full refund. Cancellations within 48 hours of your scheduled trip time are subject to a partial refund. No refunds–for any reason–will be provided for cancellations inside of 24 hours before your scheduled trip time. Group cancellation policies differ; please call our office or email info@raftdefiance.com for additional information.

Please arrive at least 45 minutes before your trip time. Before participating, you will need to check in at the Boathouse, confirm signature of our Assumption of Risk and Liability Waiver, and grab any trip essentials. Our professional staff will fit you with a lifejacket and then provide a safety briefing before heading to the river.

We don’t let the rain keep us from having fun. Heck, we’ve rafted in the snow a few times. That was chilly. We do offer complimentary splash gear in the event weather conditions warrant an extra layer of protection.

Our guides work hard to provide you with a memorable experience. While gratuities are not expected, they are appreciated!

While steps are taken to ensure your whitewater rafting experience matches expectations, we operate in a varied environment free of tracks and pre-determined outcomes. For most participants, that’s a big part of the appeal. But everyone has a role during your river rafting experience at Defiance. Please take a moment and review our participant responsibilities.