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Why Raft with Independent Whitewater?

a group of people on a raft in a pool of water

The Arkansas River is our world. It’s where we live, play, eat, sleep, and breathe. Recognized as one of the most remarkable rafting destinations in the world, it’s truly an honor for us to have been able to call this place home over the last 40 years. Given its fame and reputation as the most popular whitewater rafting river in the United States, you might surmise that there’s a large handful of rafting outfitters available to host your next whitewater adventure—and you’re right. In celebration of our very first blog post, we’re going to dive into what sets us apart from the rest, and why you might consider choosing us to host your next adventure. It’s a little something we call “Independent Difference”.

Support Small. Support Local.

From the very beginning, Independent Whitewater has operated as a family-owned and local company right in the Arkansas River Valley. When you book a trip with us, you know you’re spending your hard-earned dollar with a local company that employs residents from our community. Founded by owner/operators (and also friends) Mike and Wiley, their intrinsic passion for the river and rafting sets the stage for any guest climbing in a raft. From start to finish, the entire experience is real. Starting with a meet-and-greet with your designated river guide and concluding with a celebratory bite-to-eat at the Drift-In Restaurant, it’s a truly authentic experience that will stick with you long afterward.

drift in party

Safety Is Always #1

Just as skiing, climbing, mountain biking, and other action sports are subject to inherent risks, whitewater rafting is no different. We at Independent Whitewater have been running the Arkansas River for over 40 years, and we’re proud to showcase an impeccable safety record.

Our CPR and first-aid-certified guides are skilled professionals who love their jobs and are dedicated to having fun and providing you with the safest trip possible, no matter what stretch of the river you are running. Plus, with over 50 years of combined rafting experience, owners/guides Mike and Wiley can answer any question you might have about any aspect of your trip

group leader making decisions

Keep It Small

Because we’re a small company, we run fewer boats and our trip sizes are kept at a more manageable level than other outfitters. While rafting with us, you’ll never be herded about with hundreds of other people waiting to go rafting. Unless it’s specifically requested, we won’t even run more than five boats on a trip. With smaller groups, you’ll have a more enjoyable experience on the river. Not only do we maintain smaller trip sizes in order to give you a more personalized experience, but we also give you more rapids and a longer trip through the Browns Canyon National Monument

In light of Covid-19, we plan on continuing to book in this fashion as it offers more space, less worry, and more fun for our rafters. We’re also making it easier to book private rafts by offering discounted rates throughout the season. Furthermore, we’re fortunate to operate in Salida, the heart of the Rockies, where our guests have ample outdoor spaces to explore and enjoy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for any specific questions relating to your upcoming trip.

a blue bus parked on the grass

More Miles, More Smiles.

We’re proud to offer the best rafting value in town. Our prices are competitive and our routes are longer than our competitors. Here’s why: Thanks to our private takeouts downriver, ½ day and full day rafters enjoying the Brown’s Canyon route get access to Seidel’s Suckhole and Twin Falls, two of the best rapids in the canyon (not to mention bonus miles). Other companies use a public access point, causing rafters to miss this section of the river.

Furthermore, we guarantee the best value by offering to price match any other similar rafting trip on the Arkansas River. Give us a call to schedule your trip today!

map of independent whitewater's route

Written by: Nick, a friend of Mike, Wiley, and Independent Whitewater