My husband, two kids (ages 7 & 9) and I had reservations for the half day, Browns Canyon rafting trip on a sunny July morning. This rafting company was recommended and booked by our hotel in Breckenridge, the Valdoro. The concierge recommended this company because it is smaller and would give more personalized attention to us, which was hugely important to us because we would be rafting with our (relatively) young kids.
The office where you begin your journey is about an hour and 15 minutes away from Breckenridge, where we were staying. The drive is scenic and the directions given by Browns on their brochure are very good and quite easy to follow.
We were warmly greeted and given the usual instructions of bring water, use sunscreen and lock your valuables in your car so they're not lost forever somewhere in the river. I had been rafting about 20 years ago, but this was a first time experience for my husband and kids. Before booking this trip, I did extensive research on different companies and whitewater classifications. I was particularly nervous about my just turned seven-year-old (who is barely 50 pounds) on Class III rapids. My husband and I were a bit torn because we didn't want our family to be bored on a simple float trip, but didn't want the rapids to leave our kids freaked out either. Both of our boys are pretty adventurous though and they both wanted to do the Browns Canyon trip.
After being fitted with PFDs and helmets we were ushered to the bus...after waiting a LONG time for a late arriving group. They didn't seem to particularly care that they were late and causing everyone else to wait around for them. They definitely weren't in any type of a hurry and certainly not apologetic in the slightest. This was the only annoying part of our experience. I think that Browns should have just pushed this late arriving group to the afternoon tour. We were definitely rushed at the end of our trip because we had to get back for the afternoon tour (and those people were waiting around too because of our late start).
Shane was our guide and he was extremely professional, friendly, entertaining and great with my kids and their safety. He gave very clear instructions that my husband and I were able to follow quite easily. In addition to the fun rapids (which ended up being totally fine for both of my kids ~ we all wished there were more of them!), we were able to see some incredible scenery, including not one or two, but FIVE big horn sheep!! I had been trying to scope one of those out for a full week in Colorado (including in Rocky Mountain National Park for a few days) and didn't see one until we were on the river. My older son got to ride in the back with Shane at the end of the trip and call out paddling commands to me and my husband. He absolutely got a charge out of bossing his parents around for a change! ;)
The other guides on the tour were friendly and helpful as well and Jessica gave great instructions on our bus ride over to the put-in point in the river.
In my opinion, it was absolutely worth the drive from Breckenridge and I would book it again in a heartbeat!
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