Royal Gorge River Trip – What To Expect

So you conquered the class III whitewater of Bighorn Sheep Canyon last year and now you wanna take on more?  Royal Gorge rafting could be the perfect whitewater rafting trip for you! You might be wondering if you or if your paddle crew is ready? How can you tell?

Are You Ready?

royal gorge raftingNo one can tell you if you are ready, but we can prepare you for your experience. Bighorn Sheep Canyon and Browns Canyon gives you primarily class III rapids at most water levels. The classification scale is I through VI, with I being very mild current to a VI which is impossible to raft. The classification does not indicate the size of the rapids but rather the consequences associated with navigating them.  When you take on class IV and V whitewater, there are more technical exits or entries to specific rapids, there are more demanding obstacles, and there are larger wave formations.  In summary, there is more whitewater, more technicality, more continuity, and more excitement. Need more information on whitewater classifications? Check out our classifications guide on our FAQ page!

What’s It Like?

royal gorge whitewater raftingThe Bighorn Sheep Canyon’s river bed  (the gradient) drops off at approximately 30-35 feet per mile. The Royal Gorge has double the gradient per mile of Bighorn Sheep Canyon and picks up speed as the river constricts.   The Royal Gorge contains the three main characteristics of rapids… continuously. Because the section is rated class IV and V, you can expect fewer routes through the rapids, bigger waves, and less recovery time after each rapid.  Teams need to be ready to take on the extra challenge, but the adrenaline rush is worth it.

Before we even get on the water your guides will provide you with all you need to know about safety precautions on the river. This way,  you and your group are well prepared. We typically spend the first mile of Royal Gorge white water rafting practicing all of those things from the safety orientation earlier in the day.  Our guides spend time with each crew honing their paddling to prepare for nonstop action. Our staff wants to give you a safe and exciting experience and ensure we are paddling as a team.

Because the rapids are so close together, we also practice stopping the boat intentionally to catch our breath and take in the scenery.  As part of this strategy, we also make sure that the rest of our boat fleet made it through the previous rapid safely. You, our Viking warship paddle crew, are the key to our success. With everyone paddling in unison, their feet locked, and smiles on their faces, we can provide a safe and exhilarating Royal Gorge river rafting experience. 

Choosing Your Royal Gorge River Trip

We have five different Royal Gorge white water rafting trips.  For the perfect daylong adventure, our half day, full day, and grand slam (2x) trips are the best bang for your buck! If your group or family is looking for overnight adventures, the Arkansas River multi-day trips include the Royal Gorge as well.


Your safety and comfort is our number one priority. As your premier Colorado whitewater rafting outfitter, we emphasize providing the best experience for your group or family.  If you are having a hard time distinguishing which trip is the best fit for you, give us a call and we can assist you.


By: arkrivertoustg
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