Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions. Please call or email with any additional questions or trip inquiries.









How long has Noah's Ark been in business?

Noah's Ark was started in 1983 to address the need for outfitter services that understand the particular needs of families and youth. Since then, Noah's Ark has served well over half a million guests and has been nationally recognized for providing extraordinary recreation and educational opportunities for families and youth from all over the world. Our programs have expanded beyond simply providing Arkansas River access to providing extensive backcountry services.

Why should I choose Noah's Ark?

Noah's Ark has been owned and operated by the same Colorado family for over 35 years. We are the largest operator in Browns Canyon and have one of the highest customer return rates in the industry. As a licensed Colorado River Outfitter, we have provided services for over 30 different Colorado youth & family camps.

Recruited from across the United States, our intelligent, relational, and service-oriented staff specialize in meeting the needs of each individual that comes through our doors. All of our guides are certified in First Aid/CPR and meet or exceed all Colorado state requirements for professional guides. The Noah's Ark staff is hired through a highly competitive application and interview process. They are considered on the basis of character, related experience, teachability, trustworthiness, and competence. We believe that the quality of our guests' experience is dependent upon the quality of our staff. Our staff love what they do and love sharing their work with others.

Noah's is on a beautiful 11-acre site on the banks of the Arkansas River. We have our own private put-in on site! If you are rafting our browns Canyon stretch, all you have to do is check in and your guide will lead you down the hill to your boat.

How is your staff trained?

Noah's takes the training and preparation of our staff very seriously. One of our company's highest priorities is teach and training because we desire to provide you with excellence and extraordinary customer service. We incorporate the highest standards of development in all of our training programs.

Noah’s Ark is also one of the few outfitters that conducts in-depth training sessions with our staff in their returning seasons. All Noah's Ark staff training meets or exceeds the State of Colorado requirements, the US Forest Service requirements, and industry standards in the following areas:

  • River Guide Training
  • Rock Climbing Guide Training
  • Mountaineering Guide Training
  • Adventure Park Training
  • Trip Leader Training
  • Leadership Development Training
  • Guide Instructor Training
  • Swift Water Rescue Training
  • First Aid & CPR Training & Certification
What does all of this mean? It means that we care about our guests, and we are committed to providing the best outdoor experience available. We believe our preparation and attention to detail will provide you with an unforgettable experience.


Regarding high water in June and July

High water levels in excess of 3,000 CFS can occur in June (and July for 2019) as a result of above average snowfall in the mountains. The Arkansas River is fed by snowmelt, and especially in early season is extremely cold. Higher water levels and cold temperatures can increase the risks to participants, and, specifically those with health concerns or heart problems. Cold water can add additional stress to the body, and, should you fall in, you may be required to swim aggressively to shore or to another boat – a situation that creates extreme physiologic stress.

When higher water levels occur, guests should discuss age restrictions, trip conditions, and trip selection with the Noah’s Ark Reservations Staff. If you have health concerns and specifically heart problems, we recommend talking with your physician prior to the rafting trip.

Is whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River safe?

No. There are risks in any outdoor activity, whether you are rafting, backpacking, rock climbing, or playing on the Browns Canyon Adventure Park. These risks are at the core of the experience and provide the excitement and adventure associated with the activity. Our guides undergo rigorous training that meets & exceeds state requirements. This includes learning principles of risk management and decision making that lead to MINIMIZING, but never completely eliminating, risk.  If you would like to learn more about our guide selection and training, please click here.

Will my raft have a guide?

Yes, each raft will have a guide. 

Do I need to know how to swim?

While knowing how to swim is not required, it is definitely recommended. Noah's Ark will provide you with a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket that is designed to keep you afloat in the water.  Having the ability to swim will increase your comfort level and will also enable you to more quickly get out of the river if you happen to find yourself out of the raft and in the water. We will give you a pre-trip safety talk in which you will be instructed on protecting yourself in the water by identifying and evading hazards in the river, and taught how or when to maneuver back to the raft or get to shore. In addition, you will be instructed in self-rescue techniques where swimming skills are important. *If you are rafting the Royal Gorge or the Numbers (bigger water), you are required to have Class III rafting experience and are expected to know how to handle yourself in the water.

What is the difference between an oar boat, combination boat, and paddle boat?

In an oar boat, the guide will do ALL the work from the center of the boat using his/her oars. Oar boats are ideal for families as well as those looking to just relax, hang out, and enjoy the scenery. An oar boat becomes a combo boat when up to 4 paddles are added for those in the group who would like to paddle during the trip. Being in a paddle boat requires a commitment to paddle the entire length of the trip. The guide steers from the back of the boat, calling out commands to the paddlers who provide the necessary momentum to move the boat down the river. There is less opportunity to hold on in a paddle boat, as you will need to be prepared to paddle through the rapids.  The minimum age for a paddle boat is 16, or 14 with previous class III rafting experience; other restrictions may apply depending on the section of river and water level. Your trip leader will work with you to select the right type of boat(s) for your group.

How many people fit in a raft?

An oar boat can hold up to 8 people plus the guide, while a paddle boat can hold up to 7 plus the guide. If you are in a group requiring more than 1 raft your trip leader will work with you to appropriately divide the group into boats.

What should I wear?

Wear quick drying materials, like swimsuits, swim trunks, Underarmour, nylon or synthetic fabrics.  Basically, quick-drying athletic clothing is appropriate.  Do not wear cotton, as this will keep you cold when it gets wet.  No Crocs or Flip-Flops.  Wear old tennis shoes or sandals that are made for river activity, with a strong back strap around the ankle, or you may rent water boots at our front desk, along with other rental gear.  Sunscreen is highly recommended, and sunglasses with a strap.  

Do we need to rent wetsuits?

Wetsuits are available for rent. Some people like to rent wetsuits because they may keep you warmer when in contact with water. Water is colder in the spring, early summer, as well as during "high water" when it is running faster and does not have as much time to warm up. Wetsuits can also help keep you warmer during inclement weather, which is both common and unpredictable in Colorado during the summer months. Wetsuits guard against the potential shock associated with cold water immersion. If you are concerned about getting cold on your trip for any reason, we recommend that you rent a wetsuit for your personal comfort. Wetsuits are advised any time the water levels are above 2800 CFS in the Royal Gorge and 900 CFS in the Numbers. Please refer to the Rentals Chart for more information.

What is the largest life jacket you provide? 

The largest Type V life jacket approved by the Coast Guard allows for a 52" chest. This is what we provide.

How are rapids on the Arkansas River classified? 

Please refer to the Rapid Classification Chart for this information.

Are helmets required?

Helmets are required on all whitewater rafting trips.

Why is the minimum age for rafting 6 years old?

There are many issues that come into play in determining the minimum age for whitewater rafting. Two important considerations are the size and maturity level of the child. US Coast Guard approved Type V life jackets do not come in sizes to fit all small children. The ability of the child to not panic, to understand instructions, and to self rescue if they are thrown from the boat is essential. Based on the risk, the water, and the type of gear, we have established that the minimum age for the Browns Canyon section of the river is 6 years old. We may increase the minimum age during peak run-off season.

What if the water is too high or too low to raft? 

Noah's Ark has strict policies in place for each section of water on the Arkansas River. If the water exceeds, or drops below a certain level (measured in CFS), Noah's Ark may find it necessary to move a trip to another section or cancel a trip entirely.


What is the class of rock climbing on Noah's Ark trips?

The climbs that we offer are rated between 5.6 and 5.8 on the standard North American Rating System (Yosemite Decimal System). These climbs are great for both beginners and those who have climbed before. Our guides will place you on a climb that is appropriate for your experience level. 

How high is the rock climb and rappel on a typical trip?

At our primary rock climbing site, Bob's Rock, you will rappel approximately 75 feet and climb to a height of approximately 65 feet.

What does everyone else in my group do while the others are rock climbing?

We can provide two or three different climbs and up to five rappelling stations to keep as many people in your group participating at once as possible. The size of your group will dictate how many systems we set up. While not participating, guests are invited to encourage others climbing or take time to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery. Our guides can help by leading initiative games with those waiting for a climb or rappel.


What is the weight of an average pack?

Our guides will work to adequately distribute to your group the weight of food and community gear, depending on the size of each participant. An "average" pack might weigh 30-40 pounds, but will vary depending on the size of each individual.

Do we move our camp every day or stay in the same place? 

On the majority of our trips you will move camp each night. This will depend on your specific route and the difficulty level you have requested for your wilderness backpacking trip. Easier routes may include two nights where you stay in the same place. You may also keep camp in the same place to set up for a peak climb, or if you want a considerable amount of time for fishing. When you book your trip, we will make sure to understand your expectations and group's ability so that we can assign an appropriate route.

Are we guaranteed a peak climb?

Peak climbs can never be guaranteed due to factors out of our control such as inclement weather or the condition of the group. Our guides will do everything possible to help you accomplish this goal, but are trained to recognize when it is appropriate to turn around given the safety and well-being of the group.


Are gratuities acceptable?

That's a really good question and one we get asked often. Tips are optional but are always appreciated - if your guide worked hard to make your trip great, you can show your appreciation with a gratuity.

How much should I tip?

The amount you tip is up to you. Here are some industry guidelines that we have found helpful.
Suggested Ranges: Full-day trips range from $10-$15 per guest. Half-day trips range from $5-$8 per guest. Multi-day trips range from $15 plus per guest - per day.

Where should I leave the tip?

Because of how busy guide staff are in the summer, it is often easiest to give the tip to office personnel. They will make sure that the guide then receives the gratuity.

I have a large group - can we add the tip to a credit card?

Of course - just let the office know how much and how you'd like it distributed. This can be done before or after the trip.


What do I need to bring with me on my trip with Noah's Ark?

Please refer to Equipment Lists.

Do my children need to read, understand, and sign the release form?

Yes, everyone going on the trip must read, understand, and sign the release form.

Can I make an alteration or amendment to my release form?

No changes or alterations are allowed to the release form. Any release form that we receive that has been altered, changed, or not signed by the proper parties will prohibit that guest or child from participating in the activity or going on any trip. No refunds will be given if the release form has been altered, changed, or not signed.


Do we have to pay user fees on our trip if we are tax-exempt?

Yes. These charges are not a "tax" but a user fee assessed by the agency that governs the public land on which we operate. The Arkansas River fee goes to the Colorado State Parks, the Gunnison River fee to the Bureau of Land Management, and fees associated with rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking go to the United States Forest Service.

What is required to book a trip?

You may book online after January 1st for most of our day trips and activities.  Phone reservations less than 7 days in advance must pay in full when reserved.  If you book more than 7 days in advance, you may book by phone with a $15/per person/per activity deposit.  Final balance must be paid 7 days in advance.  Call for assistance with group or multi-day bookings.

What is your Cancellation Policy?

For rafting, Browns Canyon Adventure Park and Family Packages, if you cancel your reservation or reduce your number of participants 72 hours or more in advance, you will be refunded all but a cancellation fee of $15 per person/per activity.  If you cancel your reservation or reduce your number of participants less than 72 hours prior to your trip, there is no refund.  Cancellations and changes must be made during business hours with a reservationist, not by voice mail or email. Increasing your number of participants is based upon availability.  Please notify us in advance. 

For Basecamp and Backpack Trips, please refer to your contract for cancellation policies.

What happens if the weather is bad?

With the exception of rock climbing, we will continue with all trips in the case of inclement weather, taking all necessary precautions given the weather conditions (i.e. rain, hail, wind, lightning). A rock climb will be canceled if it is raining, and unfortunately we are not able to refund the trip if it can't be rescheduled.

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