Denver Kids

River Rafting on Clear Creek
By Linda Collison & Bob Russell
  |  Gorp.com

You've always wanted to try it, right? Float down a river like Huck Finn on a raft. If you live in Denver, Clear Creek is your closest river-rafting opportunity. But we wouldn't call it floating; it's more like bobbing, dunking, and splashing.

Clear Creek Rafting Company in Golden, Colorado offers some very short runs to give kids ataste of the sport — before parents commit too much time and money. The Lickety Split trip(minimum age three) and the beginner run (minimum age six) are perfect for tykes. Longer intermediate and advanced trips are popular with teenagers and adults. You can even do anevening trip — a real plus for working parents in the Denver region.

On most excursions you usually have two choices of boat: paddleboats, in which all passengershelp by rowing an oar, and oar boats, where all you do is hold on and enjoy the ride. If you'retaking a young child, the second option might appeal to you, since you'll be using all your strengthto hang onto your squirming child. You'll be glad for a professional to do important things, likesteer the raft.

Older kids, teens, and adults will most likely want to be part of the paddling experience says John Rice of Clear Creek Rafting Company. "The effort of paddling together is a big part of it. It's ateam thing, it's part of the fun."

Rafting's season is spring through fall, conditions permitting, but the best time for beginners isusually July, when the spring snowmelt has run off and the water is usually sufficiently high butmanageable.

"We handle just about everything," says John. "But don't forget to bring dry clothes — includingshoes and socks— for the ride home!"

Where: Clear Creek Rafting office at Heritage Square, 18301 West Colfax Avenue,Building U-3, Golden.
When: Generally from late May through early September. Season may be longer orshorter depending on water levels.
Activities: Rafting on several of Colorado's rivers; experiences for all abilities.
Facilities: Appropriate-size life vests and helmets are provided. Clear Creek Rafting hasmuch experience teaching kids to raft safely.
Be sure to bring: Polypropylene or wool clothes will help keep you warm, even when wet. On a cloudy day, or a day early in the season, this could be important. In any case, bring dry clothes to change into for the ride home.

© Article copyright Pruett Publishing.


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