Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure on the picturesque San Juan River in Colorado? Look no further than Pagosa Outside Adventures, your premier destination for thrilling rafting and tubing experiences. Nestled right across the street from the river, Pagosa Outside Adventures offers a gateway to some of the most breathtaking water adventures in the region.
Rafting the San Juan River:
The San Juan River is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. When you embark on a rafting expedition with Pagosa Outside Adventures, you're in for a treat. Their expert guides will take you on a thrilling journey through Class II and III rapids, ensuring a heart-pounding yet safe experience for adventurers of all levels.
As you navigate the rapids, you'll be surrounded by the rugged beauty of the San Juan National Forest, with its towering pine trees and impressive rock formations. The river's twists and turns will keep you on your toes, making every moment an adrenaline-packed adventure. And don't forget to keep an eye out for local wildlife – bald eagles, mule deer, and even the occasional black bear can be spotted along the banks.
Choose from three different adventures: the Splash & Dash, West Fork or Mesa Canyon.
Splash & Dash:
A scenic relaxing start a few miles upstream from Pagosa prepares you for the fun, splashy rapids of the downtown whitewater park. This Pagosa Springs whitewater rafting trip takes one and a half to two hours, including transportation time to and from the river. Actual time on the water is just under an hour.
This rafting adventure is perfect for anyone who just wants to “test the waters” when it comes to whitewater rafting in Pagosa Springs!
Our favorite whitewater rafting trip in Pagosa offers a busy start through technical boulder-filled rapids and finishes by crashing through the waves of the whitewater park right in downtown Pagosa. The middle part of the trip is a leisurely meandering float through the upper west fork San Juan river valley to relax and enjoy the scenery. The best part is that from the last wave crashing over the boat it is only about 10 minutes back to our shop and your dry, warm clothes. These trips fill up quickly, so book early to reserve your spot!
The splashy water and gorgeous scenery in Mesa Canyon makes this half-day escape from civilization one of the best Pagosa Springs family activities. Bring water and a snack for the short stop halfway through the canyon. This easy whitewater rafting trip in Pagosa Springs takes three and a half to four and a half hours depending on water levels.
Once the river slows down in the warmer months, it's time for a more relaxed water adventure. Pagosa Outside Adventures transforms into the go-to destination for tubing enthusiasts. Tubing on the San Juan River is a laid-back way to soak up the sun and enjoy the serene surroundings. Drift lazily downstream, catch some rays, and cool off in the refreshing waters.
What makes Pagosa Outside Adventures stand out during tubing season is their commitment to customer convenience. They offer free shuttle rides for tubers, making it a hassle-free experience from start to finish. Simply park your vehicle at their location, hop on the shuttle, and they'll drop you off at the launch point. At the end of your tubing adventure, they'll pick you up and take you back to your vehicle, ensuring you have more time to relax and enjoy the river.
So, whether you're seeking the thrill of rafting through exhilarating rapids or prefer a leisurely tubing adventure on the San Juan River, Pagosa Outside Adventures has you covered. With their prime location and exceptional services, your water adventure dreams are just a visit away. Don't miss out on the opportunity to create lasting memories on one of Colorado's most scenic rivers – book your adventure with Pagosa Outside today!
So I get a text from Madeline Bergon from Pagosa Outside.
"Junk Show tomorrow night! Come join and see what river shenanigans looks like."
Ok. I'm intrigued. But what the hell is a junk show?
"Fun things that you'll want to film."
If it seems like a good time and if there's beer involved, count me in. So I loaded up my camera gear and headed to downtown Pagosa Springs on a Friday night. Little did I know there's a much bigger purpose behind this thing called a Junk Show.
Upon arriving at Pagosa Outside, the river guides were getting ready for their shenanigans. Putting on their dry suits with beers in hand, there was a contagious spirit and energy behind everyone there. Smiles, laughter, dogs. I knew a good time was about to go down.
The crew loaded up their rafts and tubes and marched across the street to the San Juan River, where there's a section of man-made waves and rapids that are perfect for what I was about to witness. Everyone jumped in with tubes on rafts or even with nothing at all. And they floated down to one particular section in front of the Springs Resort.
It was here where they tried to surf the man made wave with anything possible. Tubes. Rafts. Bodies.
Crowds begun to assemble around this area. Every tourist and local was intrigued by what they were seeing. With the current flow of the river, it's common to see rafts and kayaks. But not tubes.
And here are the Pagosa Outside crew members...barreling down the San Juan rapids...on tubes.
River Guide Training
It's here where Tobi Rohwer, owner of Pagosa Outside, showed me that this Junk Show event is much more than just having a good time. All these shenanigans are an opportunity for these guides to get a feel for the river. How to maneuver boats and tubes in awkward scenarios when others are moving in and out of boats. To get comfortable flipping upside down and into the rushing water and rapids.
I quickly learned, to become a better guide you gotta get tossed.
Getting tossed into the water never looked so much fun. Everywhere I looked, there's smiles on everyone's faces. As each guide tried to surf waves on tubes, we were surrounded by woo-hoo's and laughter. It looked like these folks were having the time of their life. And they were.
Which means there was also a lot of bonding. This crew guides together. And now they were having fun together. They are a team of passionate individuals who love the lifestyle the river brings to this town.
It's clear Tobi has put together a fun group of guides who know what they're doing. And that's what this Junk Show was all about. People passionate about the river, guiding, learning and having a good time.
And as always, a little beer helps out too!
Whitewater & Cocktails
It’s that time of year...Spring!
The sun is out. Well, it’s always out in Pagosa Springs. But the aspens are blooming and the snow in the high country is melting. It could also be considered the beginning of festival season. And every year in May an event called “Pagosa Paddle” is held on the San Juan River.
It’s put on by Tim Brink, a local school psychologist and also the founder of the Colorado-Oregon Rafting Team. The mission is simple. Have a good time racing through whitewater while generating community support for river activities in the area and the cORT rafting team.
The Most Epic Whitewater Event
It also happens to have quite the motto…“The Most Epic Whitewater Event in Colorado.” But what makes it epic?
“It’s epic because you can sit in the hot springs and have a cocktail and watch everybody race and we’re the only type of whitewater event that has that type of a namesake” says Tim Brink. “Every other event I’ve done we’re hiking out in the boondocks and the weather might be nasty but this is just a great spectator venue. We have bike paths along both sides of the river and the hot springs is right there and it’s world famous. And geez, it’s nice to sit in a hot tub, watch people race and have a cocktail.”
Upon arriving to the event, locals were out in full force helping the event get underway. Many worked in the local school district. The kind of individuals that have a passion for education but also the active mountain lifestyle. Which means they are not only volunteers but also competitors.
It wasn’t long until various teams of families, local businesses businesses and even professional rafting teams like the USA Women’s Team, launched into the San Juan River and navigated the gates and rapids. And each competitor was just as encouraging to those they were racing against.
Rafts. Kayaks. Inflatable Kayaks. Stand Up Paddleboards.
Crowds quickly filled in along the river walk to watch the action with the best seats in the house being across the river at the The Springs Resort and Spa, cocktails in hand.
The head-to-head action was fast and intense. But the crowd favorite was a gigantic stand up paddle board that fit six adults. As it went through the wave “mother chucker”, the crowd cheered, laughed and hollered as somehow none of the riders fell into the water. For round two, they put the SUP board on top of a raft but weren’t quite as lucky getting through the first wave with one rider falling off.
At the end of the day, the participants reminisced the days events as they watched the highlights on the big screen at the after party.
“I want them to walk away with what we did the first year and that’s they had a hell of a lot of fun and it’s something they want to do again. And it’s just a good time to have fun with no consequences and to meet people and just have a good fond memory of the river in Pagosa Springs,” said Tim.
With over double the number of participants from the previous year, I think that’s exactly what happened.