A well-worn trail leads us a mile and about 1000 vertical feet to the bottom of the Gorge where our boats and cool green water await us. After a brief safety orientation, we're off! There is no time to warm up as we launch right into Chukar Rapid, our first Class III drop.
After "Grand Finale" rapid, we quietly and reverently float the last bit of black walled canyon known as the "Hall of the River King" before we pop out into the bright and wide-open sandstone walled valley where the North Fork of the Gunnison joins the river, and our trip concludes.
8:15 am: You will meet your guides at the Gunnison River Pleasure Park where they will check you in and give you a pre-trip briefing. The guides will be available to help pack your river clothing in a watertight day bag. Remember, everything you bring you will be carrying downhill about a mile from the end of the road down to the river. Our guides will be happy to carry extra items to lighten the load. If a member of your group is not capable of carrying a bag, we will be happy to carry it for you.
9:00 am: We will pick up a driver and take a scenic trip to the river via the challenging Chukar road, nearly a four-wheel drive road; we pass through a moonscape of clay hills leading the edge of the canyon. We will drop about ½ ways down from the rim toward the river. A mile from the river, the road becomes too treacherous to pass.
10:00 am: At the trailhead, we will unload our equipment and hike about a mile down the Chukar trail to the river, dropping about 1000 vertical feet as we go. This is a beautiful and easy walk, making you feel a true departure from the world of phones, highways, and responsibilities.
10:30 am: At the bottom, you will find the rafts that were packed in by horses and the guides the day before. After a breather and change of clothes into your river gear, the guides will outfit you in a Coast Guard approved life jacket. Your trip leader will give you a comprehensive orientation and safety talk with plenty of time for questions. You will have the confidence needed to handle anything that comes up during the trip. We also bring along the inflatable kayak or “ducky”. Paddled with a two bladed kayak paddle, the optional “ducky” allows you to take on the rapids individually. We have both one-person and two-person “duckies” available on our trips.
10:45 am: Your trip leader will give you a comprehensive orientation and safety talk with plenty of time for questions. You will have the confidence needed to handle anything that comes up during the trip. The guides will finish rigging safety gear and lunch into the boats and we will be on our way! Our first rapid of the day, the Class III Chukar Rapid, begins only a few feet downstream of where we launch. This rapid with its tight entrance and wave filled drop is typical of several more rapids on our first day. The scenery is fantastic with sheer canyon walls reaching straight up from the river’s edge. Black granite and gneiss rock walls gives the canyon a severe and ancient look, but the cool and frolicking water creates a playful path through this magical canyon.
12:30 pm: A well-deserved lunch breaks gives you time to stretch your legs and take in the unique scenery. Enjoy some tasty hors d’oeuvres while the guides prepare a hearty deli-style lunch.
1:30 pm: After you have filled your belly, more rapids are on the way. Upper and Lower pucker and the popular Buttermilk will thrill even the seasoned rafter. The Gorge’s walls get narrower and steeper and the rapids increase in intensity. The famous Boulder Garden is a great warm-up for the continuous Class III- IV rapids of S-Turn, Squeeze, the Drops, Cable and Grand Finale.
2:00 pm: If there is time, we may stop at the Smith Fork, a warm water tributary of the Gunnison that provides a beautiful hike up to a quaint waterfall that is possible to swim into.
5:00 pm: We will arrive at the Gunnison River Pleasure Park at the confluence of the Gunnison and the North Fork Rivers. Your car, a dry change of clothes and a cold drink or ice cream await you at the riverside bar and restaurant. It’s time to unpack your bags and say good-bye to new found friends and reflect on this rapid-filled wilderness canyon trip. You may also choose to remember your trip with a T-shirt, hat or pair of shorts. There is no better way to spend a day!
Adult Price - $255;
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USA Colorado Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting