5 Tips to Make the Most of Your River Adventure

As the temperatures warm and snow begins to melt, Grand County prepares for another season of whitewater rafting and kayaking. Colorado whitewater rafting can be a fun adventure for the whole family. Waters range from mellow currents to rushing rapids, but no matter what type of river adventure you choose, you'll want to make the most of your experience with these five helpful tips and tricks:

1. Wear Appropriate Gear

Getting wet is inevitable on any river adventure. Stay comfortable by wearing clothes made with fast-drying, synthetic fabrics - a swimsuit or shorts and tshirt work well. You'll also want to wear shoes or sandals with straps to ensure they stay secure on your feet. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunglasses, a hat or both. Lastly, always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or lifevest - if going on a guided rafting trip, PFDs are provided.

2. Pack Lightly

In addition to wearing the proper attire, keep your packing list to a minimum to avoid lost or damaged items. Pack bottled water, waterproof sunscreen and a waterproof disposable camera. If you decide to bring valuables such as your phone or wallet, make sure to store them in a waterproof bag.

3. Choose the Best Time to Raft

Consider everyone's skill level and ability before planning your next river rafting trip. Water levels and rapids change from month to month. At the beginning of the season, water levels are often the highest from fresh snowmelt. Expert rafters and thrill-seekers will want to plan their rafting or kayaking trip during May or June. In July and August, water levels are lower which make rafting more accessible for beginners or families with young children.

4. Use Proper Paddling Technique

For the best rafting or kayaking experience, knowing the proper paddling technique is important. When using a paddle, always hold onto the T-grip with one hand and half-way down the shaft with the other. Not only does holding the T-grip make paddling easier, but it prevents you from accidentally injuring others with the paddle.

While whitewater rafting, listen for paddling commands to stay in sync with the other members in your group. Try to keep the same paddle length and force for an efficient and smooth rafting trip.

5. Stay Safe

Stay safe on your next river adventure by reviewing the Safety Code of American Whitewater. Learn the classifications for river difficulty which is rated on an international scale ranging from Class I to Class VI. Beginners should stick to rivers rated Class I-III such as the upper Colorado headwaters. Plan your Colorado whitewater rafting trip with a knowledgeable local guide or know your limits on a self-guided trip. Before you head out, call a local outfitter or guide before to check the river conditions.

With miles of winding rivers and vast lakes, Grand County offers some of the best whitewater rafting in Colorado along with kayaking, boating and paddleboarding. Can't get enough of Grand County's lakes and rivers? Check out these five majestic things to do on our lakes!

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