MWR Downtown Office Advantages
Free Secure Parking, Changing Rooms, Restrooms, Information, Dog Friendly
Bicycle Rentals on the beautiful traffic free Animas River Trail 3 blocks from the Leash Free Durango Dog Park.
Next to Albertsons Grocery Store and Lorenzo’s Lovable Lain Cuban Restaurant.
1 block from the Durango-Silverton Train
Frequently Asked Questions
- What experience do I need?
- Is rafting dangerous?
- I can’t swim. Can I still go rafting?
- How are rivers classified/rated?
- How to choose an outfitter?
- Will the altitude have any effect on me?
- Do I need a reservation?
- Should I tip my guide?
- What should I wear on the Lower Animas?
- Do I need to wear a wetsuit?
- Is alcohol allowed on the river?
- Are there souvenirs/photographs available to purchase?
What experience do I need?
Our trips represent a full range of difficulties. It is not necessary that you have any previous experience for our trips rated Class IV or lower: Lower Animas, Upper Animas Needleton Stretch, Upper Animas Rockwood Box Gorge or the Piedra River. We strongly recommend that you have prior experience for any Class V trip such as: the Upper Animas Silverton Stretch, 2 Day or 3 Day Upper Animas Trips, or any marathon trip. It is highly recommended you have prior experience for Class V Upper Animas Trips. Be honest with yourself and our trip consultants as our trips are at elevations above 6500 feet and on quite cold water during spring run off. [Top]
Is rafting dangerous?
Rafting is thrilling, exciting, wet, wild and unbelievably fun. However, as in all adventure sports, there is an inherent risk involved. That risk contributes to the excitement, and is one of the reasons people enjoy it so much. Our guides are trained to minimize risks and, statistically, you’re safer on a raft than in your car. One state government study found in an investigation that the injury rate for whitewater rafting is similar to that for bowling! But still, there is a risk, and you must accept that risk when you go on the river. By the way, the most common injury is sunburn, and most other injuries occur on land, especially getting into and out of the boats.
The MWR release, indemnification, and assumption of risk form is here.[Top]
I can’t swim. Can I still go rafting?
Everyone on our trips wears a coast guard approved life jacket. This will keep you afloat in the event that you find yourself in the river. We take many non-swimmers on trips, and they have a great time. It is more important that you are not afraid of the water. [Top]
American Whitewater International Scale of River Difficulty.
Class I. Easy.
Waves small, passages clear; no serious obstacles.
Class II. Medium.
Rapids of moderate difficulty with passages clear.
Class III. Difficult.
Waves numerous, high, irregular; rocks; eddies; rapids with passages clear though narrow, requiring expertise in maneuvering.
Class IV. Advanced.
Long rapids; waves powerful, irregular; dangerous rocks; boiling eddies; powerful and precise maneuvering required.
Class V. Expert.
Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain** large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential. Because of the large range of difficulty that exists beyond Class IV, Class 5 is an open-ended, multiple-level scale designated by class 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc… each of these levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than the last. Example: increasing difficulty from Class 5.0 to Class 5.1 is a similar order of magnitude as increasing from Class IV to Class 5.0.
Class VI. Extreme/Exploratory
These runs have almost never been attempted and often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. After a Class VI rapids has been run many times, its rating may be changed to an apppropriate Class 5.x rating.[Top]
How to choose an outfitter?
Mountain Waters Rafting has 30+ years of providing a safe enjoyable white water experience. We are a member of the Colorado River Outfitter Association, Permitted by the US Forest Service, Licensed by Colorado State Parks, and a member of the local chambers of commerce: Durango, Silverton, Pagosa Springs and Vallecito Lake.
* Ask a local or someone who has been a guest. A personal reference is your best way to choose an outfitter.
* The greatest compliment we receive is repeat customers. We get lots of them. Come find out why locals refer us to their friends!
* The guides and owners of Mountain Waters Rafting have run rivers throughout the world. Many of us take our vacations by doing river trips. River running is our lifestyle; let us share it with you!
Will the altitude have an effect on me?
Altitude causes shortness of breath and dehydration. Most people do not have serious problems. If you are concerned, come a day or more early to acclimatize yourself and drink plenty of fluids while you are here. A headache often means you are dehydrated – drink a big glass of water. [Top]
Should I tip my guide?
Tipping is not mandatory, but is certainly appreciated. If you feel your guide has done a good job keeping you entertained and sharing the wonderful river environment with you, then feel free to show your appreciation. [Top]
What should I wear on the Lower Animas?
Bring suntan lotion, a hat, and a windbreaker. You’ll get splashed, so wear quick-drying clothes such as shorts and T-shirts. To keep your shoes dry and your feet warm, we recommend wet suit booties – $5 per trip. You are welcome to wear your own footwear but it must be able to stay on if you go for a swim: no flip flops. If the water is cold or the weather is cool, you should rent the warm package. It includes a wetsuit, splash jacket and wetsuit booties. Cost of the warm package is only $12. [Top]
Do I need to wear a wetsuit?
Upper Animas and Piedra Rivers Full wetsuits are required and included in the cost of your trip.
Lower Animas A wetsuit, splash jacket, and bootie rentals when the water is over 750 cfs (cubic feet per second) or if rain showers or winds are expected may keep you more comfortable. In May, and early June the water can be very cold and many guests choose a wet suit. People with less body fat (children and slender adults) can get cold quite easily. Booties are a good idea anytime to keep your feet warm and your traveling shoes dry.
- Booties – $5
- Wetsuit – $10
- Splash Jacket – $5
- Package of all three – $15.00 [Top]
Is alcohol allowed on the river?
Alcohol and rivers do not mix. We do not provide alcohol, and alcohol is not permitted while on the river. For multi-day trips. You may bring your favorite adult beverage for consumption in camp. DO NOT DRINK BEFORE RIVER TRIPS. Guests who have been drinking will not go on the river and will not receive a refund. [Top]
Are there souvenirs/photographs available for purchase?
You bet! We have hats, T-shirts, photographs and more of your rafting adventure available at our office. Photographs are only available for the family friendly Lower Animas Raft Adventures.[Top]