Whitewater Rafting FAQ


Why should I choose Buffalo Joe’s? ( Top )

Here are the top three reasons that you should choose Buffalo Joe’s.

  1. Experience We are one of the oldest and most experienced rafting companies in the state. This gives us the knowledge to match you with the perfect trip.
  2. Safety Since 1978 we have never had a major accident. Not many outfitters can say this. We are very proud of our safety record. When you choose Buffalo Joe’s you are choosing one of the safest companies for your family or group.
  3. Our meals! We serve the famous Buffalo Joe’s Steak Dinner on all full day trips. So when other rafting companies are taking out pre-made cold cut sandwiches we are grilling up a steak meal at our private lunch spot. This meal is served complete with corn on the cob, watermelon, salad, and dessert. Veggie or Chicken meals are also available on request. Buffalo Joe’s also employs a “head chef.”

How long has Buffalo Joe’s been in the business? ( Top )

Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting was established in 1978. This makes us one of the oldest and most experienced outfitters on the Arkansas River. Buffalo Joe’s is a member of several professional trade organizations including the Colorado River Outfitters Association and Arkansas River Outfitters Association.


How experienced are the guides? ( Top )

We are very proud of our guides and truly believe that our guides are among the best on the river. Our river guides have played a major role in developing our outstanding safety record. We employ only highly skilled professionals; many have over ten years of river experience. All guides have completed our guide training program. The demanding guide program exceeds the state-mandated requirements. You can be sure when you raft with Buffalo Joe’s that your guides are the best on the river.


What if it is my first time? What if I can’t swim? ( Top )

We have trips suitable for all ages and ability levels. Buffalo Joe’s takes great pride in the fact that we take extra time to get to know your group and custom match your group with the trip that you will be most satisfied with.


How do I choose the best trip for my group? ( Top )

  1. Call our reservationists and discuss your background and trip interest. We can help with any questions that arise.
  2. Talk to your group and decide if the trip chosen is the best trip that for everyone.
  3. Call and book the trip.

How does the rapid rating system work? ( Top )

It is very simple. Class I is flat water with no rapids – progressing to Class VI water which is not raftable. We offer raft trips on Class III to Class V whitewater.

Class III = First time or family whitewater.
Class IV = More exciting whitewater, may still be suitable for first timers wanting a more exciting raft trip.
Class V = Extreme adventure! We will only take guests with previous class III experience on these sections of river. We also recommend a minimum age of 14. All participants should be in good physical condition and able to swim.


What is the difference between an oar boat and a paddle boat? ( Top )

Most guests choose a paddleboat – the guide turns the boat and the guests paddle – you are the motor and help move the boat to where it needs to go. Guests who are looking for excitement and activity will enjoy this option.

Oar boats allow guests to sit back, hold on, and enjoy the ride. The guide will have total control of the boat!

Get the best of both worlds in a paddle – assist boat. The guide has control and you participate by paddling.


Can children go rafting? ( Top )

The answer is yes! An oar boat or paddle- assist is recommended for children under ten. We recommend that the minimum age for any of our trips is seven. Kids love our trips! A raft trip may be what it takes to reveal the youth within all of us.


What if I fall out of the boat? ( Top )

We provide the highest quality lifejackets designed specifically for whitewater. They have plenty of flotation to keep your head above the water. Most guests who fall out are in the water for less than thirty seconds. The chances for this happening are remote and the best way to stay in the raft is to listen to your guide.


What should I wear or bring? ( Top )

Here is a list of items that we recommend that you bring along.

  • Quick drying clothing or swim suit, no cotton
  • Footgear that can get wet (an old pair of sneakers works just fine)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Fleece or capline long sleeve shirt
  • Dry change of clothes for after the trip

We have wetsuits, booties, and splash jackets for rent. All guides carry a dry storage bag that can hold sunscreen and a sweater.


Do I need to bring extra money? ( Top )

We recommend that you bring money for souvenirs, t-shirts and photos of your trip etc that you may wish to purchase. If you had an enjoyable trip a guide gratuity is also appropriate.


Do we go in the event of rain? ( Top )

Trips are rarely canceled due to rain and may only be canceled in the event of a freak snowstorm. Remember this is a whitewater experience. Wetsuits and splash gear are available for rent and will keep you warm on the coldest of Colorado days.