Frequently Asked Questions

  • Chevron down Why Pagosa Outside?
  • We never set out to be Pagosa’s biggest rafting outfitter.  We just wanted to provide our guests with a high quality and personalized experience that wasn’t available at the time.  The majority of our trips max out at 24 guests (4 rafts) for rafting and 12 guests for kayaking and biking.  These small group sizes enable us to treat every one of our guests like friends and family and no one ever has to feel like they are just a number.  As we have tripled in size, we made the decision to offer more launches and keep our trip sizes small rather than making large trips a “herding sheep” type of experience.  We also decided that our everyday raft should be the “premium” raft that most other companies offer as an upgrade.  Our 14′ raft offers more maneuverability and gives 6 guests an intimate experience with our San Juan Whitewater. We feel strongly that our six guest to one guide ratio makes a better trip for everyone.  With a special request, we can take up to 10 guests in one of our larger 16′ rafts, but that is not the norm.

  • Chevron down Do I need to be able to swim to go rafting?
  • YES.  You don’t need to be an Olympic caliber swimmer but everyone in your group needs to have a swimming ability that is appropriate to the difficulty level of the trip you choose.  In the unlikely event that you fall out of the raft, you are expected to be able to take an active role in your rescue by swimming aggressively back to the boat or to shore.  Selecting the appropriate trip for your swimming ability allows you to enjoy the trip and have fun rather than being fearful of having an “out of boat experience.”

  • Chevron down What do I need to bring on family trips – Mesa Canyon, River Bend, Mesa Canyon Deluxe?
    • Dress to get wet!
    • Swimsuit or quick-dry clothing.
    • Water bottle
    • Shoes or sandals that can get wet (no flip flops)
    • Neoprene booties are available for rent.  Half price for rafting guests
    • Sunscreen
    • Sunglasses with strap
    • Hat for sun protection
    • We supply life jackets and splash gear
  • Chevron down What do I need to bring on Whitewater Trips – West Fork, San Juan Marathon, and Piedra?
    • You will be wearing wetsuits, helmets, splash gear, and booties
    • Swimsuit or light nylon shorts to wear under wetsuit
    • Quick drying shirt to wear under splash top
    • Water bottle
    • Sunscreen
    • Sunglasses with strap

    Don’t take nice watches, jewelry, wallets, cell phones, or car keys rafting!

    *On Piedra trips you will be changing into and out of your rafting gear at undeveloped riverside put-ins and take-outs.  We highly recommend wearing light synthetic shorts or swimsuits that will fit comfortably under your wetsuit for your own modesty and that of the other folks on your raft trip!

  • Chevron down What rafting trip is right for me?
  • We offer a wide variety of rafting trips – from short family floats to white-knuckle wilderness whitewater. The River Bend and Mesa Canyon trips are great for first-timers, families, and anyone looking for a less intense rafting experience.  Check out the Mesa Canyon Deluxe for a full day of family-friendly and scenic rafting. Our West Fork trips are a perfect intermediate experience for anyone looking for whitewater thrills – first-timers included.  If you need a full day on the San Juan River with intermediate whitewater and beautiful scenery, the San Juan Marathon is for you!   Piedra River trips are spectacular, intense and require a hearty appetite for excitement and adventure. We recommend previous experience on Class III or IV rivers. Our West Fork trip is the perfect warm-up for the Piedra River. Your level of physical fitness needs to be better than average since Piedra trips take place in a wilderness environment where advanced medical care can be hours away. Please email or give us a call if you need help deciding what trip is right for you or your group.
  • Chevron down When is the best time to raft or tube?
  • May and June are best for whitewater thrills. Peaks flows usually happen in late May or early June. July and August are warmer, but the river flows are usually much lower.  We open our river tubing trips once the river drops below 400cfs on the Pagosa River Gauge.  Normally this happens in early July but can vary by a few weeks depending on how much snow the mountains received over the winter.
  • Chevron down Should I make reservations?
  • YES! We are a small company and many of our trips fill up.  Making an online reservation is the easiest way to secure your trip.  We usually have our trip schedule open for bookings by early March, once the Forest Service and BLM confirm our permits, launch dates and capacities.  During our summer operating season a quick phone call to  (970) 264-4202 can get you set up.  Before our shop is open in late April, you and also drop us an email at [email protected] with your inquiry.   Some trips have a minimum number of participants so you will have to contact us to schedule a launch.  Simply go through the trips reservation page to contact us and we can get your trip reserved as soon as the minimums are met.  Our different trips have different cancellation policies, so please make note of this on each trips reservation process.
  • Chevron down When should I show up?
  • Most of our trips require you to arrive at our shop :15 before trip time but depending on what adventure you are doing, your confirmation email will give you the appropriate check-in time.
  • Chevron down Should I tip my guide?
  • Guiding is a part of the service industry. If you feel that your guide has done a great job to enhance your experience a gratuity is greatly appreciated.
  • Chevron down Do I have to sign a release form?
  • Yes. Every participant must complete a state required liability waiver form which will be included in your trip confirmation email or may be completed at our office when you check in.
  • Chevron down Can I have minors without their parents in my group?
  • ALL MINORS not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian must bring a waiver form signed by their parent or legal guardian.  Without this form, the minor will not be allowed to participate.  If this applies to you or your group, please call or email us to request a waiver.

Our Favorites / Pagosa Springs Area Links

Where we go out to eat:

Where our friends stay if our couch is full:

Cheap or Free Local Activities:

  • Play disc golf, hike, and bike on Reservoir Hill
  • Hike on the Piedra River Trail and to Piedra Falls
  • Stand with one foot on each side of the Continental Divide
  • Soak in the Hippie-Dip Hot Springs

Regional Activities: