Echo Canyon River Expeditions Camping and Rafting – Canon City, Colorado

At this time last year, I would have laughed in the face of somebody who suggested some of the adventures I had in store.  Skiing, hiking across tiny rock bridges, and whitewater rafting were things I never really had any interest in and never in a million years thought that I would do.  Moving to Colorado has not only loosened me up as a mother and allowed my children to try things and grow but it has also allowed me to grow.  I have tried things I never thought I would and one of those things was whitewater rafting.

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Echo Canyon Rafting invited us down to Canon City, about 30 minutes from Colorado Springs, to experience their Bighorn Sheep Canyon rafting trip.  This river trip is great for families because it is just exciting enough but not too scary for the kids (or the mother holding on to the kids!).  We had an extremely knowledgeable guide who gave us a little bit of history on the river and the surrounding area as well as pointing out different trees and landmarks.  We had an amazing time and it is one of our favorite adventures yet.

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The trip begins by checking in and picking up both a personal flotation device (PFD) and a helmet.  Then you just grab a chair on the patio and wait until your group gets called.  There is a 15-20 minute bus ride to the boat launch.  During the bus ride, the group leader will give you some safety tips for the trip.  When you get to the launch area, everyone hangs out and checks their PFDs before getting ready to hit the river.

The Bighorn Sheep Canyon rafting trip had a number of Class II and III rapids that will keep everyone excited and looking for the next rapid.

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Tips to Know Before You Go

Wear quick drying clothing over your swimsuit.  You can rent wet suits but a rash guard over your suit works just as well.  You will stay wet most of your trip but the quick drying clothing will help keep you more comfortable.

Wear water shoes.  Water shoes will be the most comfortable for you on your rafting trip.  You can wear tennis shoes but remember that you want something that will be fast drying.

Make a weekend of it and camp.  Echo Canyon has a campground located across the street.  You can tent or RV camp and then there is also the option to stay in one of the few cabins.  There is only one cabin that sleeps four or five on site so book early.  This is where we stayed.  The cabin has a bed perfect for the parents and a bunk bed.  The lower bunk folds out like a futon.  There is no refrigerator or air conditioner.

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Arrive about thirty minutes before your rafting trip.  You will want the time to check in and pick up your gear.  Echo Canyon has a nice patio where you can sit and wait until your name is called.  They do serve breakfast but we ate breakfast at the campsite.

Do not bring or wear any valuables.  Your car will work as your locker.  You can lock all your belongings in your car and the staff at Echo Canyon will keep your keys so that they don’t get lost during your trip.

Eat at 8 Mile Bar and Grill before you leave for the day.  We were exhausted and hungry when we got back from our rafting trip so we decided to eat at 8 Mile Bar and Grill.  The restaurant is part of Echo Canyon.  We tried the cheeseburger and the fish tacos…both were delicious and well-priced.

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Sit near the front of the bus if you are nervous.  During the bus ride, the group leader will go over safety tips and things to expect.  If you are nervous about your rafting trip, sit near the front so that you can hear.  We sat towards the back of the bus and only heard little snippets of the announcements.

Bring a waterproof camera.  We bought a disposable waterproof camera before we left and I am so glad that we did.  If you don’t have a waterproof camera, the only pictures you will have are the ones that Echo Canyon sells.  They are very expensive in my opinion.  One picture is around $30 and you can buy CD with all of your pictures for $50.  We opted to purchase the full CD because the pictures were great.  That being said, I never buy pictures like this but I was glad to have them when we got home.

*Thank you to Echo Canyon for hosting our 1/2 day rafting trip.  All other costs, including travel and our campsite, were covered by my family.  All opinions are mine.

This post is part of Travel Tips Tuesday with Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walkingon Travels.


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    The way that you have explored your new home has been an inspiration to me! I can’t wait to go rafting with my kids, and this makes it look really doable.