What is the minimum age for trips that allow children? If the trip that you are interested in is not for adults only, then the minimum age is generally 6 years old. However, children 5 years old are welcome 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 Gunnison River is a Class I+ river. The Hail Mary Rapid is a long and fun wave train and can be circumvented if you do not wish to go through it. The Gunnison River also has small intermittent riffles making it easy and suitable for beginner paddlers and families.
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 17’ ft. Old Town Discovery canoes, which are large and designed to carry plenty of gear. They’re equipped with a bow and stern (front & back) seat ideal for carrying two adults. Depending on the parent’s wishes, children can sit comfortably in the middle of the canoe on provisional seats or paddle in the bow.
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, floating and playing in the river, 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 key feature of the Gunnison River is beautiful Dominguez Canyon, Colorado's newest designated Wilderness Area. There is a marked trail that is mostly flat and suitable for all skill levels. Typically, our 3 & 4-day trips will camp near the mouth of the canyon, allowing time for hiking. Herds of desert sheep as well as eagles are frequently spotted and Little Dominguez Creek offers excellent wading pools with tadpoles and toads and a 40 ft. waterfall. There are several ancient Indian petroglyphs along the trail, which is the highlight of the canyon. And, you can hike as far as your water bottle will take you.
On the 1 & 2-day canoe trips, short stops at Dominguez Canyon are dependent on the available time, weather, how fast the group is paddling, etc. Time for hiking cannot be guaranteed on our shorter trips.
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: Hot in the mid-90s with a welcome afternoon shower. Evenings are in the low 70s.
August: Days are still hot in the low 90s, but nights are beginning to cool off in the low 70s.
September: Moderate temperatures in the mid-80s and cooling as the month progresses. Evenings are in the low 60s.
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.