In high water, many consider this river to be the most difficult commercially run trip in the United States. Thirteen thousand to fourteen thousand-foot peaks rise from the banks of the river as you face continuous sections of whitewater that leave your arms shaking from the continuous paddling. Cascades and waterfalls pour into the river as you tackle over one hundred classes II, III, IV and V rapids in 26 miles. As the high water of spring recedes, the river settles down a bit and becomes suitable for those looking for a great wilderness trip with lots of technical whitewater, but not quite the intensity of high-water runoff in June. The age limit drops to 14 when accompanied by a parent or guardian in July and early August. The ability to walk around the class V rapids at more moderate water levels allows a larger spectrum of river enthusiasts to experience this magical trip.
Our 1-day guests only have one regret: missing out on our spectacular, deluxe, private camp and the thrilling rafting of day 2. An established camp, complete with kitchen tent, pot belly wood burning stove, bathroom teepee, camp tables and chairs, hammocks, horseshoes, games, campfire pit, and occasionally a visit from the area’s bear, followed by another spectacular day of whitewater is not to be missed! Any of the trip options is complete when you board the famous Narrow Gauge Railroad, overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment, for your shuttle out of Colorado's most imposing canyon.
From the south and west, head North on Hwy. 550 past Albertson’s Grocery on left, through the intersection of 9th Street. Go another block then get into the middle turn lane (on the left is a long brown building). Turn immediately after the brown building and the large sign that says "Animas City Rock" and the smaller "Mild to Wild Rafting" sign. It is an alley way, and as you turn down, (before the large "Wine Merchant and Nature's Oasis" sign) you will see rafting buses. Our reservation/check-in office and retail store is located in the back of the long brown building. Our boat barn is located on the river.
When coming from the north, follow Hwy 550 through town and at 14th street and Burger King, veer to the right (do not go straight down to the historic district and Main Avenue). Follow Hwy 550 (also known as Camino del Rio) a few blocks past the fire station (set back from road a bit), "Back Country Experience" and "Nature’s Oasis" (a natural food grocery store in the King Center. Immediately after the "Wine Merchant and Nature's Oasis" sign and parking lot, turn right down the alley way. As you turn down (before the large "King Center" sign) you will see our rafting buses. Our reservation/check-in office and retail store is located in the back of the long brown building. Our boat barn is located on the river.
The Evening Prior to all Upper Animas Trips:
6:00 P.M. or Earlier Meet at River Office for Orientation Trip. Dress to Get Wet for On-River Trip! Finish final Arrangements in Office including signing of Waivers. Bring Overnight gear.
6:15 Get Fitted for Wetsuits, Life jacket, Helmet, Splash jacket, Wetsuit Boots. Participate in Safety Lecture and Instruction.
6:30 Practice Trip on Rafts in River - Learn and Practice Safety Techniques.
7:10 You Are on your Own for the Evening. Rest Up!
The Upper Animas Day 1:
8:15 A.M. Meet at Boat Barn.
8:30 Shuttle Departs for Silverton from Boat Barn.
9:30 Arrive Silverton. Rig Rafts and Prepare for Launch.
10:45 Warm-up "Animas Gorge" Rapid - Continuous Class III Rapids.
11:15 "Snow Shed Rapid"- Class IV, Get Wet!
11:45 Continuous Class III Rapids - Catch your Breath!
12:15 Hungry yet? Chow Lunch!
1:15 Scout "Ten Mile Rapid" - Class V – Run it - WOW!
1:45 More Continuous Class III Rapids, Whew!
2:15 Scout "No Name Rapid" - Class V Run - Yikes!
2:45 Continuous Fun - Class III and IV Rapids. Hang-On!
The Upper Animas 2 Day Trip and Day 3 of the 3-Day Trip
7:00 A.M. Coffee is Ready. Smells Great from your Cozy Tent!
8:00 Hearty Cowboy Breakfast.
9:00 Break Down Camp.
10:00 Hike and Explore this Beautiful Scenery!
11:30 Launch on Continuous Class III Rapids - Get Ready!
12:15 Scout "Broken Bridge Rapid" - Class V - Holy Cow!
12:30 More Continuous Class III Rapids...Yippee!
1:15 Hungry again?.…. Fresh and Filling Deli Lunch.
2:15 More Rock’ in Rolling Class III Rapids.
3:00 "Tank Creep Rapid" - Class IV-Scout and run!
3:30 "The Narrows"- Class IV- Steep Drop…or was that a Waterfall!
4:00 Take-out at Tacoma. De-rig Boats for Train.
4:50 Load Train for Durango. Reflect upon your Awesome.
Adventure through Colorado's Most Imposing Canyon!
6:45 Arrive Durango.
Note: Above itineraries are approximate. Trips vary depending on water flow. The second day of the 2-day trip can also be done as a 1-day trip providing an advanced intermediate trip, at medium to low water levels. Board the train at 7:30am from Durango; Arrive in Needleton at 10:30; Prepare Boats and Launch at 11:30 with above 2-Day Itinerary.
The Upper Animas Second Day of 3 Day Trip (Exploration Day!)
7:30 A.M. Wake up in Paradise, Smell Fresh Coffee Brewing in the Kitchen Tent.
8:30 Enjoy no holds barred breakfast;
9:00 Head-out for a Hike or Secret Fishing Hole;
12:00 Lunch and Game of Horseshoes;
1:00 Nap under stately Pine Tree as you Soak the View and Swing in Hammock or Relax on your Cot;
2:00 Hike to an Old Miner’s Cabin or to another Hot Fishing Spot;
5:00 Enjoy Appetizers and Beer/Wine (What Could the Guides be Creating in the Tent Kitchen that Smells so Good?);
6:00 Savor Every Bite of the Fresh and Fabulous Meal;
7:00 Share Stories of the Day’s Discoveries around the Campfire and under the Infinite Stars, amidst the 14,000 Foot Peaks.
What to bring: Wetsuits and wetsuit boots are required and wool, fleece and synthetic jackets and socks are recommended. We recommend you arrive at the trip’s designated meeting location with a swimsuit under your clothes. You can then slide the wetsuit over your swimsuit. Overnight trips require camping equipment (tent, 10 degree sleeping bag, pad or cot if desired – high quality rentals available) and personal gear (warm camp clothes, extra fleece jacket, rain gear, bug spray, toiletries, extra socks, warm jacket, hiking boots/shoes, warm hat, gloves…). Don’t forget your waterproof camera, eye glass straps, water bottle, sun glasses, sunscreen, lip balm and a sun hat as well as your sense of humor & adventure!
1 Day - $240.00;
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USA Colorado Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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