Frequently Asked Questions
When is the rafting season on the Cache la Poudre River?
The rafting season runs every year from mid May (usually May 15) until Labor Day, water levels permitting.
Should I make reservations?
Definitely! Regulation of the Cache la Poudre river increases your wilderness experience but trips fill up fast. Book your trip as early as possible to guarantee you get the date of your choice. Please ask our office staff about deposit rules for large groups over 14 people.
Please be on time. We are under strict time schedules due to the United States Forest Service. Water levels vary so class II, III, and IV rapids may be encountered on all trips. If you have a diagnosed heart condition, you will not be permitted on the trip. All participants must sign an ‘acknowledgment of risk’ form. We are an equal opportunity provider.
Express Check in Information
Please have all group members fill-out and sign an acknowledgement of risk form online prior to your trip for express check-in. Each adult on the trip will be required to sign their own acknowledgement of risk form, forms for minors will require a parents signature. Parents can include multiple children on the same form. Wetsuits and booties may also be purchased in advance to speed up check-in.
How do I get there?
Directions from Denver/Boulder:
I-25 north to exit 269B (Hwy 14). Go 3.4 miles to Riverside. Turn right. Go 1 mile to Hwy 287. Turn right. Go 2.7 miles on Hwy 287. We are on the left hand side, look for our blue and yellow flag. The address is 1329 N. Hwy 287. Approximately 90 minutes.??
Directions from Estes Park:
Go 32 miles east on HWY 34 to Wilson Avenue in Loveland. Turn left on Wilson (after K-Mart). Go 15.3 miles through Fort Collins to Co. Rd. 54G. (You will go through a round about approximately 2.5 Miles before you get to Co. Rd. 54G) Turn right on 54G. Go .5 miles. We are on the right at 1329 (75 minutes)
GPS Coordinates for our shop: Latitude N40 37.520 Longitude W105 06.042
Is there a minimum age for rafting?
Our minimum age changes throughout the season to adjust to the intensity of the trips and the river level. We do not make exceptions based on a child’s height or weight. Minimum age requirements are as follows: May 15 to June 20 is 13 years old, June 21 to July 4 is 10 years old, 7 years old after July 4.
What days of the week and times do trips run?
Please see our various trip pages for more information on our trips.
Half-Day Trips and meeting times are as follows:
Poudre Splash – 7:45am & 11:30 am, everyday.
Poudre Plunge – 8:00am & 12:15pm, everyday.
Full Day trip:
Mishawaka Falls – 9:00am, Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
Two-Day Overnight Trip:
Poudre Falls – 9:00am, please call our office for available days.
What’s the plan, Stan?
We meet at our store, change and fit wetsuits (if needed), drive up the scenic byway, do an instructional paddle talk, go over paddle commands, fit lifejackets and helmets, and then go rafting!
Can we park our RV at the shop?
We have plenty of oversized vehicle parking. The north side of our parking lot, facing the road is where we recommend you park your RV or oversized vehicle.
Where can we keep our stuff?
We invite you to change in our changing rooms. There are cubbies available to keep your belongings after you change, however we encourage you to keep your belongings in your locked car and we can hold onto your car keys for you.
What should I wear?
Quick drying shorts and shirts (avoid cotton), and shoes that can get wet and are secured to your feet. Shoes must have a strap that goes around the back of your foot; crocs and flip flops are not considered proper footwear.
Can we bring our dog?
We have two spacious, shaded kennels to accommodate your pet while you go rafting!
“We left our dog with you guys and never worried a bit. It was the highlight of our awesome week long vacation!” Anthony from Texas.
What if I have to cancel?
A full refund will be issued, less 10% reservation fee, if canceled in writing two weeks before your trip. Any cancellation within two weeks of the trip date will not be refunded. Please ask our receptionist about our trip cancellation insurance.
Should I tip my raft guide?
If you think your guide has made a difference on your trip, then a gratuity is greatly appreciated.
Do you offer discounts?
The organizer of a group of 14 or more goes free on the raft trip and receives a free Mountain Whitewater Descents T-shirt. We provide a special packet of materials which makes it easy to organize any trip for your business, club, sports group, church group, family reunion or friends. Please contact us for more information.
Who can use your facilities?
We have a 5 acre facility that includes the Paddlers Pub, sand volleyball, yard games, nature trail and more. We invite all our guests to take advantage of these facilities free of charge. Come take advantage of the only rafting company in Fort Collins that can offer these extras, and all though you will wish you could stay forever, overnight camping is not permitted.
Are the facilities at Mountain Whitewater Descents open for group events?
Yes! The 5-acre park at Mountain Whitewater Descents is available for group events like weddings, birthday parties, corporate meetings, employee gatherings, reunions and more. The outdoor facilities provide the perfect casual and rustic atmosphere for a great group experience. Reservations are required for private events.
What are the hours of the Paddler’s Pub and who is invited?
The Paddler’s Pub at Mountain Whitewater Descents will be open every day from 2pm to 8pm and from 2pm to 11pm on Friday and Saturday. There will be live music every Friday evening and every Sunday afternoon. A food truck will be in the parking during live music as well. The Pub is open to both rafting guests and the general public. Check our Paddler’s Pub page for information.
Do rafts flip?
It is inherent to rafting that rafts may flip. At Mountain Whitewater Descents we work extremely hard to get people out of the water as quickly as possible. Prior to the trip there is also an instruction period where we inform you of what to do if your raft does flip.
“Ben and the other guides did a great job in ensuring the safety of all rafters. I was particularly impressed with how they handled the rafters that ended up in the water. It was all business when something went amiss. Your credentials that are touted on the web page were in full display on the river. Thanks.” Rich (Division Chief, Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical Dept.)
What is a Class IV rapid?
Rapids are rated by the International Scale of River Difficulty. The scale goes as follows:
- Class I – Easy. Fast moving water with small riffles and small waves. Very few, if any obstructions. Risk to swimmers is low and self-rescue is easy.
- Class II – Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels. Some easily maneuvering may be required, but all rocks and waves are easily missed. Group rescue is rarely needed.
- Class III – Intermediate. Rapids with moderate, irregular waves that may be difficult to avoid and would swamp an open canoe. Some complex maneuvers in fast currents and good boat control can be required. Forceful eddies; waves and strainers may be present. Self-rescue is possible, but group rescue helps. Fairly low level of danger to swimmers.
- Class IV – Advanced. Intense, powerful, but predicable rapids. Large waves and holes that cannot be avoided and “must make” moves. Scouting is recommended. Moderate to high danger to swimmers. Self-rescue can ve very difficult, group rescue is key.
- Class V – Expert. Very long, violent, obstructed, unpredictable rapids. Contains steep chutes, large waves and holes, and few eddies. Scouting is difficult and mandatory. High risk to paddlers and swimmers. Group rescue may not be possible.
- Class VI – Extreme. Only occasionally run by teams of experts with total planning and introspection. High risk of injury of death. Highest level of difficulty and danger. Not totally unrunnable, but unrunnable to most sane people.