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Whitewater Rafting with Children: Top 5 Tips

a group of people riding on the back of a boat

Whitewater rafting can be an adventure for the entire family with a bit of planning. Here are the top 5 things to consider when planning a whitewater trip with children.

  1. Age
    Follow the age and size guidelines recommended by your guide. Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours allows children as young as 4 to adventure with their family. In general, Class I and II rapids are safe for small children. Durango Rivertrippers has an outstanding safety record. Fun and safety are our priorities. Some courses, such as the whitewater park in Durango, have areas with Class III rapids. Your guide will use their discretion to determine whether that level of excitement is suitable for your children. A safe, alternate course will be chosen if needed. Your Rivertrippers guide knows the river – trust them to make the best decision for your family.
  2. Safety Precautions
    All Durango Rivertrippers water adventures begin with safety instructions. Make sure your child is paying attention. Be sure that you listen as well to learn the best procedures for helping a family member should the need arise. Flotation devices are provided.
  3. What to Wear
    River water is cold, especially in the early season. Dress your child in clothes that can provide protection yet will dry quickly. Avoid cotton t-shirts and jeans. These items become waterlogged and heavy and will make your child uncomfortable. Athletic gear such as dry-wicking leggings and shirts, swim clothes, swim shirts, and rash guards will keep them better protected. Wet suits are a great alternative. Don’t forget the closed-toe shoes! Water shoes are the best choice for comfort and safety. No flip-flops, please.
  4.  Other Gear
    Sunscreen is a must. The higher altitude in Colorado makes it easier to get sunburned. Use a waterproof sunscreen lotion instead of a spray to provide longer, better coverage. Make sure you cover your child’s face and ears. Cheap sunglasses protect eyes from sprays of water and reflected sunlight. Since sunglasses can be knocked off, don’t bring your child’s favorite pair in case they get lost in the water. Leave your Ray-Bans behind as well. Opt for a pair of sunglasses that you won’t mind losing.
  5. Have Fun!
    Trust your guide to lead your family through the adventure safely. Your guide will instruct when to paddle and when to let it ride. Whitewater rafting is exhilarating. You will be amazed at what your child is able to do on the water with some instruction. Enjoy the ride – and the memories that you are making together.
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Join us on a raft trip down the San Miguel River in Telluride, CO. In the spring and early summer this snowmelt-fed river plunges from the high peaks of the San Juan Mountains. NOTE: This river flows typically during the end of May and stops at the end of June. The dates we have loaded are the dates we are running this river. If you are looking for rafting in July and August check out our Durango River Rafting page.