The Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center has been teaching a variety of outdoor classes since 1982. This outdoor adventure school in Salida offers classes in kayaking and SUP, along with guided rafting trips on the Arkansas River. Other activities include rock climbing, mountain biking and inflatable kayaks.
What Makes It Great
The Outdoor Center offers a variety of flat-water or still-water activities, but also has classes and guided whitewater rafting trips and inflatable kayak trips. The center also offers a variety of training courses for instructor and guide positions. There are special events and pricing offered each year during Fibark (First in Boating the Arkansas), America’s Oldest Whitewater Festival, which features pro and amateur races on the water, a parade and live music with an innovative lineup featuring local bands. The festival started in the 1950s and now draws thousands of people to the Arkansas River and the Salida area.
Stand Up Paddle School is the first and only accredited SUP school in the Arkansas River Valley. Its intro class offers an overview of equipment and essential skills which are tested on-water at Trout Creek Reservoir. The river transition course takes students to the Salida Playpark on the Arkansas River in Salida. A down-river run takes students through a class II section of the Arkansas River. Learn to surf classes are also offered at the Salida Playpark or Buena Vista River. Group paddle days are offered on the Arkansas, and take up an entire day. Courses are all taught by qualified instructors who have been certified by the American Canoe Association.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone who wants to have a little variety will be drawn to the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, which offers a variety of inventive pairings, including Surf and Surf, which combines mountain biking and stand-up paddling; The Numbers Extreme, which combines rock climbing and extreme whitewater rafting, and the Sangre de Cristo Experience, which combines a float trip with an afternoon climb.
Kayak courses include river running, focus on the roll, river surfing, safety and rescue, slalom and gate running, and a “creeking clinic” that teaches advanced techniques along with safety concerns and group communication. The center also offers a variety of overnight adventures and international adventures such as “Kayak the World” and “Paddle the World – Colorado & Chile.”
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to the U.S. 24/U.S. 285 intersection; turn left onto U.S. 285. Turn left on County Road 160. Your destination is just past Arroyo Drive.
Half-day, full-day and multi-day trips are available; private lessons and group lessons (with three or more people) are offered May 1-Sept. 30. Private lessons are $250/person; group lessons are $125 per person. Half-day private instruction is $150 for first person and $40 for each additional person and half-day group rate is $75 per person.
For the group paddle events, cost is $89 for full day, $79 for special events. Equipment can be rented for $25 a day.