Participant Responsibility

Participant Responsibility

Be prepared and understand the risks.

Whitewater rafting is a participant-driven activity that involves risks to the participant. Although Defiance Rafting takes precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, we cannot be responsible for personal injury and lost/damaged articles. We require that you acknowledge and understand these risks by listening to a safety briefing before your raft trip and reading and signing an assumption of risk and liability release before departure.

Defiance Rafting offers many experiences with varying degrees of difficulty and associated risk. Please, make sure you choose a trip within your and your group’s 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.

The high water season in Colorado is typically late May through early to mid-June. Although, this can differ depending on the 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 deciding on your experience. 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 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 water levels.


River and rapid classifications are another great way to determine a suitable river trip for your group. Remember that classifications 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 classes of rapids. The class of a rapid or river can change at different water levels. The water temperature, the air temperature, the remoteness of the river, and the difficulty of a rescue can 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 is 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 any questions, please, email us or call 970-404-3022. 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 can make all the difference. If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry; Defiance Rafting provides complimentary cold-weather gear.

Participant Code of Conduct

At Defiance, we like to live by the general creed that we take what we do seriously but never ourselves. We are an inclusive brand that aims to insulate those participating in one of our experiences from the everyday stressors of life. Accordingly, unkind and disruptive behaviors have no home at Defiance. Or, as an older brother once said: “Don’t be dumb.”