Family Fun on the River: Why Rafting is the Perfect Durango Activity

By gravitateone   •   July 1, 2024

Introduction to Durango, Colorado

Welcome to Durango, Colorado—a true adventure-seeker’s paradise! Nestled in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, Durango offers a plethora of outdoor activities that cater to thrill-seekers, nature lovers, and families alike. From hiking and mountain biking to skiing and fishing, Durango has it all. But one activity stands out as a perfect blend of excitement, natural beauty, and family bonding—rafting on the Animas River. 

The Allure of Rafting on the Animas River

The Animas River winds its way through Durango, offering a stunning backdrop and exhilarating rapids that promise an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned rafter or a complete novice, the Animas River has something for everyone. The river features sections that are gentle and serene, ideal for families with younger children, and more challenging rapids for those seeking an adrenaline rush. It’s this versatility that makes rafting on the Animas River the perfect activity for all ages and skill levels.

Family-Friendly Rafting Experiences

When it comes to family-friendly rafting experiences, Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours offers packages tailored to meet the needs of families of all types. With excursions designed for different ages and skill levels, everyone from young children to grandparents can join in on the fun.

  • Lower Animas River: Perfect for families with younger children or those new to rafting. This section offers mild rapids and plenty of opportunities to see the city from a new perspective. This falls more on the Mild to Intermediate side of Mild to Wild.
  • Upper Animas River: For families with older children or those looking for a bit more excitement, the upper section of the Animas River offers more challenging rapids while still being enjoyable. This falls more on the Wild side of Mild to Wild.
  • Combo Packages: Mild to Wild also offers combo packages that include rafting along with other activities such as jeep tours, Mesa Verde National Park tours, and ziplining, making it easy to pack more fun into your day. Create a custom package with the thrill level of your choice.

Safety Tips and Preparation Guide

Safety is paramount when it comes to rafting, and preparation is key to ensuring a successful trip. Mild to Wild rafting has over 30 years of experience leading adventures in Colorado, and we take safety seriously! Our trip leaders average 2,000 miles on the river, although state requirements are just 750 miles. Every guide is also CPR and First Aid Certified, and some have additional experience and training such as Wilderness First Responder, EMT, and Swift Water. Additionally, our training program for guides is state-certified, and continuing education and development are encouraged.

Here are some essential safety tips and preparation guidelines for the whole family:

Choose the Right Gear:

  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device and helmet at all times (Mild to Wild provides these on all trips!).
  • Wetsuits and neoprene boots can increase warmth on the river.
  • Opt for quick-drying, moisture-wicking clothing (Mild to Wild provides complimentary splash jackets!).
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat for sun protection.

Listen to Your Guide:

  • Pay close attention to safety briefings.
  • Follow your guide’s instructions carefully.

Stay Hydrated:

  • Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day.   

Know Your Limits:

  • Talk with our sales staff to help you decide which rafting trip matches your skill level and physical condition.

Emergency Preparedness:

  • Familiarize yourself with our informational safety videos that cover basic water safety and what to do in case of an emergency.

Preparing Kids for Their First Rafting Trip

You know your children better than we do, but we have some tips for preparing your kids for their river adventure in Colorado.

  1. Feed everyone ahead of time, and bring snacks in waterproof (ziplock) containers. 
  2. You can keep these in a closed bag or backpack that can be clipped to a raft handle.
  3. Wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, and reply at least every two hours.
  4. Plan breaks into your adventure, as the thrill of rafting or touring can take it out of little travelers.
  5. Communicate with your guide about any questions you or your kids have to help everyone feel at ease.

In an effort to make your first trip a good one, we take care of many little details, such as offering free onsite parking, changing rooms, bathrooms, and even a retail store onsite. If you have any questions, please contact us and we’ll guide you through the planning process.


Rafting on the Animas River in Durango, Colorado, offers a unique and exhilarating way to bond with your family while surrounded by nature’s beauty. With Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours, you can tailor the experience to suit the ages and skill levels of your group, making it an inclusive adventure for everyone. From the thrill of navigating rapids to the joy of floating through calm waters, rafting promises endless fun and unforgettable memories. 

Ready to make a splash? Book your family-friendly rafting adventure with Mild to Wild today and experience the ultimate family bonding activity on the river.

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