Why Pagosa Outside?
When we started out more than a decade ago, we had pretty modest goals. We just wanted to be able to take guests on a rafting trip that we would be proud to take our own friends and family on. We wanted to develop a sense of family within a renewed company. We wanted to develop a boating community in the town where we grew up and where one didn’t exist before. We wanted to create jobs that paid passionate and skilled people what they were worth and would give them a place where they would want to come back to summer after summer. We wanted to share the magic of floating on a free-flowing mountain river because we knew that once people have done it, they are forever changed.
This meant figuring out how to keep all the nitty-gritty details from detracting from the experience. This meant that we couldn’t have ratty old boats and worn out life jackets. We couldn’t be bullied by an accountant who would want us to squeeze profit out of every dollar. We knew that we would need to avoid the large group sheep herd experience. We would need fellow guides that we would feel good about sending Grandma with. Our vehicles would need to be comfortable, reliable and wouldn’t break down. We would need to develop trip logistics that wouldn’t waste people’s time – driving… waiting… and having to show up an hour early for check-in. And we would have to do it at prices that were fair, reasonable and without the “gotcha” fees, taxes and upgrades so that people like us could feel good about spending their hard earned dollars.
To do this we needed to develop a work environment where everyone felt proud, appreciated, and ready to take ownership in the entire experience. And we would have to do it with the financial backing of a transient raft guide that had been living out of his truck for the last 10 years and a recent college graduate with a pile of student loan debt. And then, just to make it even more fun, life decided that we needed to be the parents to two beautiful young ladies.
Looking back at 12 years of growth and change, I feel pretty proud of where we’ve come.
What Sets Us Apart
We didn’t set out to be the biggest outfitter in the area, just everyone’s favorite outfitter. Our efforts to share a professional but friendly, small-town, family-owned-and-operated experience has been overwhelmingly embraced by our community. Our primary goal is for each and every one of our guests to have a fun, safe, and memorable time.
Instead of being satisfied with how things were, we’ve always asked “Why couldn’t this be better?” Our everyday raft is the “premium” option that other outfitters offer as a pricey upgrade. We’ve worked hard to keep our group sizes small by offering more launches. With an ever expanding book of offerings, we can keep our guides engaged and our guests coming back for more. Quite a few of our ideas and designs to improve whitewater gear can now be found in the catalogs of boat manufacturers and river supply companies. We work actively and successfully with local non-profits, government agencies and landowners to improve river health and access for everyone.
After graduating from college, I spent 10 years using raft guiding as a means to travel and explore the mountains of the Western US. I was able to run a ton of different rivers and work for dozens of different outfitters big and small. I had the unique opportunity to identify all the things I really liked at every company I worked with, as well as some things that didn’t work so well. I learned that there are a few big important things along with a whole bunch of tiny details that all add up to make a high quality river trip. When you adventure with Pagosa Outside, I hope that you are having too much fun to notice all the little things that have gone into making your trip safe, smooth and seamless.
– A Note from the Owner
Our guides and staff are what makes the biggest difference. They are local characters, lovers of the outdoors, professional fun hogs, and just friendly people who love what they do, where they work, and take great pride in being a vital part of the Pagosa Outside team. They are all highly trained, licensed, certified, and experienced in sharing the magic of the Pagosa area.
When you pick up the phone, it won’t be answered by a booking agency; you will be chatting with friendly local folks who know the ins and outs of your trip and the whole Pagosa scene. These folks have all chosen Pagosa Outside as their place of employment, so rest assured that you will be adventuring with the finest staff around.
Value & Convenience
We know that we have the best rafting, tubing and biking trips in Pagosa and our guests agree. You can read what they say in our online reviews. Pagosa Outside was voted the best raft company and river guide by readers of the local newspaper. We rely on our locals to send guests to Pagosa Outside because we are who takes them rafting with their own friends and family. We are confident that we provide the best value in the area!
We have the shortest shuttles in town. Our downtown location right across Main St. from the river means that you will get to spend more time on the river and less time driving to get there. Three of our river access points are just minutes from the shop.
Our store serves as a meeting point for all of our trips. Here we offer changing rooms, bathrooms, a great selection of whitewater gear, clothing, souvenirs, and all of those often forgotten accessories.
Your rafting photos are available for viewing and purchase right at our shop, before you’ve even dried off.