Whitewater rafting is an extremely popular summertime activity and now I know why.

It's taken me my entire life, but I can finally say I have experienced a river rafting trip. I can't even tell you why it's taken me so long to make it happen, I'm just glad it did.

Of course, no two rafting trips are exactly the same. Depending on the particular river, the location, and the time of year, floating down the river can provide a variety of experiences.

Just being on the water on a hot summer day is a great experience. On my trip, I also got to enjoy some time in the water - which I totally did not expect. I'm sure not every river trip provides that opportunity.

Zane Mathews

There are so many amazingly beautiful and interesting areas in Colorado and Utah, a raft trip is a terrific way to soak in and enjoy the beauty of nature from a little different perspective.

The key to having the best rafting experience possible is to find a trip that will deliver exactly what you expect and what you can handle. Some folks are perfectly content to quietly and peacefully float down the river and enjoy the sights. Others may prefer to enjoy a few relatively mild rapids along the way, while thrill-seekers are going to be craving those class IV and class V rapids. Once you determine what river you want to do and you find a host, you need to investigate a little further and find out exactly what kind of trips they offer.

Offerings will differ from place to place, but oftentimes there are half-day or full-day trips. In my experience, I discovered that a half-day on the water was more than adequate, however, some people prefer to be on the water all day.

Every river rafting outfitter has a website that will give you lots of information, including what to bring, what not to bring, and how to dress. Again, restrictions and guidelines will vary depending on how wild the ride may be.

My river trip was pretty mild and there didn't seem to be much danger of losing anything out of the boat. I had a bottle of water with me that I kept in the floor of the raft. I also had my cell phone in a waterproof dry bag around my neck. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about my cell phone getting wet, but I wanted to be able to capture a few photos from my excursion. As it turned out, the waterproof bag, which I purchased for about $15 worked like a charm. You can actually take pretty decent pictures with the phone still in the bag.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. Now that I've gotten my feet wet, (no pun intended) I think I'm ready to get to the next level of adventure.

What's really cool is the fact there are at least 10 river rafting outfitters that offer guided tours with 2 hours of Grand Junction.  There are others farther away that may offer the type of float you're looking for. But,  an excursion down the river can easily be done as a day trip, whether you want to explore the scenic beauty of Colorado or venture into Utah. Rafting can be an experience the entire family can enjoy.

Rimrock Adventures - Grand Junction
Adventure Bound USA - Grand Junction
White Water Rafting, LLC - Glenwood Springs
Aspen White Water Rafting - Aspen
Western River Expeditions - Moab
Palisade River Trips - Palisade
Red River Adventures - Moab
World Wide River Expeditions - Moab
Blazing Adventures - Snowmass Village
Mild to Wild - Moab

If a trip down the river sounds appealing to you, check out the list of outfitters I found within two hours of Grand Junction. You can take a look and decide which one is right for you. Have fun and be safe.

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