What to Watch Out for While Whitewater Rafting
We begin every trip at Whitewater Rafting LLC with a safety speech that explains what to watch out for while out on the river. The safety speech will cover paddling through waves, bracing for rocks, and how to kick off debris and other objects in the water. Your knowledge will be tested immediately after launching while you raft through the Shoshone Rapids section. This two mile stretch features many things to look out for to maintain your safety, but that’s not the only reason that we highly recommend going out with a professional river guide. Our staff spends their whole summer in the Glenwood Canyon, so besides the rocks, wood, and paddle t-grips to look out for, our guides can show you the vibrant history, wildlife, and connections that the whitewater community has to offer.
No matter where you choose to go rafting, a deep history surrounds the river you will float on. For those of us in Glenwood, we float through a canyon formed millions of years ago. You’ll see the riverside rock types change from the granite that shape the Shoshone Rapids to the sandstone that carves out the beautiful Horseshoe Bend before reaching town where the mountains are shaded red by exposed iron in the soil. Our guides can tell you some of the history of the Colorado River, once named the Grand River (which is how the Grand Canyon got its name), and tell you that its headwaters are sourced from Rocky Mountain National Park and that it once flowed all the way to the Gulf of California in Mexico, but is now used and dried up before it reaches the coast. They can tell you the names of every rapid on the river and the silly stories that sourced the name. They will also let you know the best spots to jump in the river and teach you some fun games to play. But, be careful and watch out for the raft guide jokes and fake facts that they will sprinkle into their trip. We have an unreal place to call our office, but not everything is to be believed!
Our guides can also tell you about our town which was founded in 1883 and originally named Defiance. Being such an old town, Glenwood Springs boasts stories from inside mines, at the historic hot springs pool, and from the likes of Doc Holliday, Kid Curry, and Teddy Roosevelt. The railroad that runs along the river was built by Chinese immigrants and their history is represented throughout parts of our town, such as the architecture of the train station. The interstate project through the canyon replaced a section of the old Highway 6 and was one of the most expensive interstate projects in the country. The caverns at the top of Iron Mountain hold the Fairy Caves, which was one of the first places in the United States to have electric lights installed. We have burn scars from the tragically historic Storm King Fire in 1994 to the most recent Grizzly Creek Fire in 2020; floating the river gives a unique view of how these fires have changed our landscape. No matter where you look in Glenwood, there is a story and our crew is here to guide you through it.
But there’s not just geology and history to learn about, keep your eyes out for wildlife too! We have bald eagles, elk, deer, river otters, beavers, and bears. There will be enough geese, ducks, and great blue herons to keep you occupied. Our guides are especially good at picking out the rambunctious but well-hidden mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Floating our river provides a unique opportunity to learn about our local river and riparian habitats, as well. While Glenwood Canyon is fortunate to have a well-maintained bike path and rest areas, many whitewater runs do not have this kind of riverside access, so seeing some of the most beautiful rivers our world has to offer requires you to hop on a boat!
As a whitewater rafting company, we are just one small part of the ever expanding whitewater community. While out on the river with your guide, you will get a first-hand look at how we interact with other rafters, kayakers, and the government personnel that regulate our put-ins and our rivers. Any questions that you have about the river and the rafting community are guaranteed to be enthusiastically answered by your guide with the hope that it may inspire you to join the river community as well (we love what we do)! Some guides may even put you on the oars and teach you how to guide the boat and watch out for the rocks and waves that we warned you about in the safety speech.
Plan Your Trip
Toward the end of your trip and as you are floating through town, keep an eye out for your next activity! From the river, you can see the big swing at the Glenwood Adventure Park and the gondola you take to get there. We’ll float by Two Rivers Park which hosts music every Wednesday night throughout the summer and if you look to your left, every morning you will see paragliders launching off Red Mountain. Views of Storm King and Mount Sopris may inspire your next hike, but if you are ready to relax, we will float by (and maybe get in) the natural hot springs only accessible by the river and you’ll get a view of the Iron Mountain Hot Springs you can visit after your trip! If you are starting to get hungry, floating through town will provide mouth watering smells from the best restaurants our town has to offer and if our guides know anything, it is where to find some good food!
There’s a lot of things to look out for while you are on your next whitewater rafting adventure. Each trip you go on is a new opportunity to learn some history, geology, local myths, and a new dad joke. Just make sure to watch your t-grips!