Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT DO THE CLASS OF RAPIDS MEAN?
Most rivers in the world are rated on the International Scale of Whitewater I – VI.
Class I: “moving water”
Class II: “splashes”
Class III: “wet and fun”
Class IV: “big drops”
Class V: “violent rapids”
Class VI: considered “unrunnable”.
The Upper Animas has continuous technical Class III, IV and V sections.
WHEN DO WE NEED TO MAKE RESERVATIONS?
Many of our trips book out so make your reservation as soon as you have chosen a trip and date. Feel free to call us, or book online!
HOW DO I TIP MY GUIDE AND HOW MUCH?
We cannot run tips on our credit card system, so please bring cash or get your guide’s digital wallet info (Venmo, Zelle, etc.) after your trip. Between 10% – 20% of your total trip cost is typical.
River Related FAQ
IS THE SWIM TEST AND ORIENTATION REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP?
Yes, all guests are required to complete and pass the orientation to raft the Upper Animas. You’ll swim through a Class III rapid in Durango and practice paddling techniques with the guides. You’ll also get fitted for your wetsuit and have a comprehensive safety talk.
WHAT IF I DON’T PASS MY SWIM TEST?
If our Class V river guides have determined that the Upper Animas is not a suitable river for you, we will put you on another trip and refund the difference. This will not include the Durango Train ticket however as the train’s policy does not allow for refunds on this trip.
WHAT EXPERIENCE DO I HAVE TO HAVE TO BE ELIGIBLE TO RAFT THE UPPER ANIMAS?
We require all participants to be physically fit on this trip due to the constant paddling and high swim potential involved. Previous white water rafting experience is definitely a plus!
HOW LONG ARE THE TRAIN RIDES?
Silverton Section: Shuttle van to Silverton is about 1.5 hours / Train to the Rockwood take-out is about 1.5 hours.
Needleton Section: Train into the canyon is about 1.5 hours / About 30 minutes out of the canyon.
Rockwood Section: Train into the canyon is about 20 minutes. Shuttle van back is around 45 minutes.
HOW DOES EACH SECTION ON THE UPPER ANIMAS DIFFER?
The Silverton Section (currently unavailable) is the most extreme stretch on the Upper Animas. Expect constant Class III – V rapids and technical runs. Ages are 16+ for this trip.
The Rockwood Gorge Section (currently unavailable) is a high adventure trip that is only available at low flows. This is a more technical rafting trip as you navigate through Class II-V rapids. It also includes a 3/4 mile hike with your gear from our remote take out location. Ages are 16+ for this trip.
The Needleton Section is more intermediate for its whitewater, with constant Class II-III and a few Class IV and V drops. Ages are 14+ for this trip.
WHEN ARE THE PEAK FLOWS ON THE UPPER ANIMAS?
Usually late May to early June.
Why are you not offering the Silverton or Rockwood Section?
Due to the extreme, high-risk nature of these sections, we have decided not to run these stretches of the Upper Animas for the time being.
If you have more questions for us, bring ’em on!
Call us at 970-247-4789, or 800-567-6745
Or email us at
Or LiveChat us from the box in the lower right hand corner!