The thaw of snow is a sure sign that spring and summer are right around the corner here in Durango, Colorado. With warmer weather on the horizon, you will no doubt be looking for ways to cool off and have fun, so why not combine both and try rafting? However, before you even don your booties or pick up your paddle, there are some safety tips that can help to make your outdoor adventure a fun, and safe one!

Safety First!

Whether you are a seasoned veteran of the waterways or are a newbie looking to try paddling for the first time, safety should be of your utmost concern. If you are paddling on your own or with a group of people, it is best to let someone know about your plans and where you will be traveling…preferably someone who will be remaining on dry land! You should also pack some snacks, water, and sunscreen, as you will build up quite a hunger during your adventure. The folks over at Durango Rivertrippers suggest taking a break during your rafting excursion to refuel, rest, and enjoy the beauty of the Durango wildlife and scenery.

Durango White Water Rafting

PFDs are a BFD

While we’re on the topic of safety, let’s talk about life jackets. Although some may consider personal floatation devices (PFD), such as life jackets, as “uncool,” you are much safer when wearing one. At times, the water may appear to be relatively smooth, but the undercurrents may bring some dangerous situations that could cause you to be thrown from the raft. If you are wearing a PFD that has been properly fitted, you might have a few bumps and bruises, in addition to looking like a drowned rat, but you will survive to experience what’s around the next bend in the river. If you are looking to set out on your own adventure, rather than going with a group, why not check out the inflatable kayak rentals offered by Glenwood Adventure Company, which includes not only an inflatable kayak that can fit in just about any type of vehicle (looking at you, Smart Cars), but a helmet, a pump for inflating the raft, as well as a life jacket.

Rafting on the Lower Animas River


Selecting the appropriate clothing for your adventure is essential to your overall comfort and safety. Whether you are getting ready to hit the rapids, or perhaps a kid-friendly outing on the river, your attire is one area that you DO NOT want to overlook. During the early spring months, the water is on the chilly side, as the melting snow is one of the sources that feed the various Colorado rivers. The professionals at Mountain Waters Rafting in Durango recommend wearing clothing that can dry quickly and wetsuit booties to keep your feet warm and dry. If the water is chilly the day of your trip, a wetsuit or splash jacket, and wetsuit booties are recommended.

Paddling Safety

Now that you have let someone know where you will be paddling, donned the appropriate clothing and PFD, it is time to talk about paddling safety. Although knowing how to swim is not necessary, it is very helpful, as you will get wet while kayaking or rafting on the waterways in the Durango and Glenwood Springs area. If there is more than one of you in the raft, you should spread out evenly, on both sides of the raft. While you are still in shallow and slow-moving waters, it is recommended that you practice moving the raft forward, backward, and changing directions until you feel comfortable with maneuvering the raft. Also, it might be wise to practice getting in and out of the raft, just in case you should happen to flip over…you don’t want your first flip to be the first time you try to get into a raft!

Durango White Water Rafting

With the melting of the snow, Durango and Glenwood Springs are ushering in a change of the seasons. Although the snow might be gone from the area mountain peaks, you can still enjoy it as the melted snow helps to supply the area rivers, making it a prime time to explore the area via water. Whether you decide to go it alone, or perhaps want to make it a family trip, make sure you follow the recommended safety tips, so you will be able to enjoy the rafting season. Will you be able to race faster on the slopes or the rapids? Book a trip with Gateway Reservations today to find out!