What is the minimum age for this trip? The Dolores River trip is suitable for kids 13 years and older provided they are paddling with a more experienced adult in their boat and provided that the particular trip you are interested in is not labeled as an "adult only" trip. We have other river trips that are suitable for kids as young as 6 years old. However, children as young as 5 years are welcome on some of our more gentle rivers provided their parents realize that once the trip embarks there is no turning back. Parents might consider introducing their kids to camping in a less remote area before trying a river trip. Children should also be comfortable around water.
What class are the rapids? River rapids are rated on a scale of I to VI, Class I being the easiest and Class VI being the most difficult. The Dolores River is a Class II river with rocks and strong currents to negotiate. On some of the rapids we may tether the canoes around the rapid. At least one person per boat should have previous river-paddling experience. The Dolores River is recommended for those who are looking for adventure and a more challenging paddle.
What is the average group size? 12 to16 guests. The maximum capacity on canoe trips is 23 customers.
How many people will be in each boat? We use Old Town Discovery 169 canoes. They’re equipped with a bow and stern (front & back) seat ideal for carrying two adults. This trip is car supported so your canoe will be empty when paddling.
Will I have to paddle solo if I come alone? We never ask our customers to paddle a boat solo. If you come alone, we will team you up with one of our guides or another customer on the trip. You can always ask our guides if you'd like to change paddle partners throughout the trip.
How many hours per day are you in the boat? Each day varies, but on an average we'll spend about 5-6 hours in the boats, with the rest of the time hiking, exploring, eating, or just relaxing.
Do you have to kneel while paddling a canoe? No. You may sit comfortably on the seat while paddling. Only in tricky water spots might you choose to get on your knees for a few minutes to lower your center of gravity.
Where do we bathe and go to the bathroom? Bathing is done in the river with biodegradable soap. If you prefer to bring a solar shower, you are welcome to do so. We provide a tent-enclosed porta potty while in camp which can also be set up at lunchtime or for emergency stops while paddling, if requested. When away from camp, Leave No Trace principles recommended that when you are in an arid, wilderness environment, that you urinate in the river or dig a cat hole 200 ft. off shore.
What is the hiking like? The Dolores River has hiking available to abandoned mines on the first day only.
Are there any special physical requirements? No previous experience is required, but participants should be in average physical condition. Activities are always more fun when you’re physically fit. You’ll be required to carry your own gear to your tent site. Helping guides carry group gear is optional, but always appreciated.
When is the best time to go? There is no bad time to paddle the river; it depends on your individual taste. As the weather is always hard to predict, here are some average temperatures (Fahrenheit) that we encounter.
May: Moderate, warm days in the low 80s and cool nights in the low 60s.
June: Warm days in the high 80s, mild nights in the high 60s.
July: The Dolores River is an early-season river and runs low on water by mid-July.
What equipment is included? Safety gear, personal flotation device (PFD), boats, paddles, dry bags for your gear, all food and kitchen equipment, water & lemonade, and the porta potty. On multi-day trips you are responsible for bringing your tent, sleeping bag, mattress pad & camp chair (rentals are available).
Where do we sleep? We sleep on the rivers edge. Some people prefer to sleep in a tent while others are happy to sleep out under the stars.