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“Fun family whitewater experience”

Independent Whitewater
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Independent Whitewater is Salida's local river connection, we offer trips for all skill levels. Whether you’re scenic Salida floats, advanced whitewater rafting, or the longest half-day trip through Browns Canyon National Monument, we have a trip to fit your needs. Family-owned and operated, Independent Whitewater has been in business in Salida for 35 years and has a strong dedication to safety and good old-fashioned American fun. Come spend the day with Wiley and Mike, Independent Whitewater's owners, along with their highly trained and professional staff. Another great reason to raft with Independent Whitewater is that our Browns Canyon rafting trips end on private property, which means you'll beat the crowds and go through rapids that other rafting companies don't. More Miles, More Smiles! Give us a call today to schedule your trip!
Reviewed August 9, 2013

My family of 4 used IW for two half-day trips (Brown's anda n intermediate Duckie trip) durling a 4-1/2 day vacation stop in Salida. I selected IW over other options because it is locally owned (I grew up on a family business), physically convenient to Salida (10 minute drive) and it seemed like the trips would be reasonably sized groups. While I don't have any basis of comparison to other options in the area, I would have no reason not to go back to IW. We were in our gear and out to our launch sites quickly both days (not a lot of unnecessary milling around at start); access to splash jackets, wet-suits etc. was quick and easy, our guides were fun and skilled without dominating the conversation. We were in small groups both days. While we encountered other rafts from other outfitters, the overall sensation was still a sense of being out on the river "alone" as we weren't in a line of several rafts. Great scenery on the river / in the Canyon. We were in a little over our heads (particularly the kids) on the duckie trip, but our guide could not have been more helpful, patient or accommodating. He made it fun for all of us despite some early nerves for our kids.
If you care to patronize locally owned small-businesses, this is a great choice in Salida.

Thank njkvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sunnysdad75, Front Office Manager at Independent Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2013

Hi NJKR,

Thanks so much for your review. Hearing that our guides showed you and your kids a great time on the river, and that we added to the experience of your family vacation, makes us so happy. It's why we do what we do.

Thanks so much for supporting our small business; please come back again!

Take care,

IW staff and family

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Reviewed July 29, 2013

Not one of the biggest or fanciest Rafting Companies. Small outfit but prices are probably better than a bigger company. Equipment not the newest or most expensive.

Thank Kristi Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sunnysdad75, Front Office Manager at Independent Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2013

Hi Kristi,

Thanks for your review. You're right; we aren't one of the biggest or fanciest companies, but we do try to keep our prices affordable. We also take great pride in the skills and abilities of our guides, and hope they got you down the river safely and that you and your group had a really fun trip.

Thanks again for your time and have a great rest of your summer!

Take care,

The IW staff and family

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Reviewed July 28, 2013

The real reason why we chose IW instead of the others in the area.....they were cheaper. Not by much, but we felt we did not know any different, and the trip duration was stated to be a bit longer (this is because they have a private exit beach further down the Arkansas river--the others must exit at the public area--this gives you 2 extra rapids). Also, they had a special during July with free wet suits to everyone. With unknown weather, and we were taking a morning trip we felt the wet suit option was a good one.

Well, we chose wisely!!! From the start to the finish, this was a great operation. Service was excellent, safety lessons were well explained, everything was awesome!!

We had Rosie as our guide, and since we were a family with teenagers, she navigated the more challenging parts of the rapids for an awesome experience. Scratchy and the other guide (sorry I forgot her name) were also great and very funny.

Also, it seems that IW usually takes smaller groups down the river. We had 3 boats in our group (a total of 15 people). This means a more personal experience. Also, you do not need to wait for others potentially. The other companies seemed to have 30+ people in a group.

Lastly, Rosie gave us 3 opportunities to jump out of the raft to swim the river. One of them was at "Jump Rock" which is an amazing 10 foot jumping point into the river.

Why choose IW over the others: Price, Service, Longer Duration. Also, if you are not sure where to raft in Colorado, I recommend the Arkansas River over the Colorado River. The Colorado follows I-70, and is not as scenic. The trip down Brown's Canyon is an awesome experience.

Thank NorthCarolina621
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sunnysdad75, Front Office Manager at Independent Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2013

NorthCarolina621,

Wow, thanks for the fantastic review and breakdown of your trip! It makes us smile to hear that you were so satisfied in so many ways! Our private takeout does allow us to hit those last two rapids, as you said, and our guides love it, too. And we're so happy to hear that Jump Rock satisfied. We stop there on every trip and it really does make a great memory.

In short, thanks so much for coming rafting with us. Hope things are going great for you back in North Carolina and that we see you again next year.

Take care,

IW staff and family

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Reviewed July 25, 2013

My friends and I took the 1/2 browns trip with IW and we had a great time! Such a great time in fact, that we went back the next day to do a duckie kayak trip! My friends and I can't wait to go back next summer and do the all-day "Numbers" trip. Everyone there is super knowledgeable and do everything they can to make sure you have a great trip. I loved that they are a mid-size company so you don't get lost in a circus, and it seemed like by the end of the day, everyone knew our names. They even have a different "take-out" (or end of the trip) than everyone else, so you get more rapids than all the other companies while getting more personalized attention. Go see everyone at IW and you wont regret it!

Thank Erin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sunnysdad75, Front Office Manager at Independent Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2013

Hey Erin,

So glad you were so happy with your rafting trip that you came back for some ducky love. Isn't the Arkansas fun!?! We would love to get you down the Numbers next summer, and hope that Lawrence is treating you right. (P.S., did you know that owners Mike and Sarah are both KU alumni? Go Jayhawks!)

Have a great summer, Erin, and thanks again for taking the time to post.

IW staff and family

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Reviewed July 22, 2013

If you are ever in this neck of the woods, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not taking a day to dedicate to white water rafting with these guys. The 1/2 day or full day trips will leave you speechless from the beauty of brown's canyon and wanting more from the exhilarating experience of hitting the rapids. You will see Mike (The Owner!) working and making sure that everything is running smoothly and surpassing the customer's expectations. The guides know the river intimately and even though you may not be a skilled expert, you NEVER feel unsafe and the guides are to thank for that! They have an awesome "cheers feel". They learn your name and make you feel like a local! I could go on and on about this place, but you get the point. Book in advance because this company is a favorite hotspot for travelers! Thanks to IW for hosting a very fun, ONCE IN A LIFETIME, experience through Brown's Canyon and the beautiful countryside!

Thank Brian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sunnysdad75, Front Office Manager at Independent Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2013

Thanks for the great review Brian we are glad you like Browns Canyon as much as us. At Independent Whitewater we utilize an exclusive private take-out so that you get the most canyon and maximum amount of whitewater on every trip!

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