Off Ranch Adventures- River Kayaking

Over the next couple weeks I (Andrea) will be writing about my experiences doing activities around the ranch and with our outfitters. I get asked daily about “What’s it like to go, do, ride, or float?” I have never been able to answer the questions personally, but rather by other staff recommendations and experiences. Now, I will not only be able to help you (the guest) decide on and book activities, but I will be able to share my experience in each activity and a little about the guides you will have.


On a beautiful warm afternoon I headed out with five other staff members to become a true Steamboat’er by  IMG_0982kayaking the Yampa River. Most of us had been kayaking before, but never river kayaking a “real” river. The Home Ranch works with Mountain Sports Kayak School. Our guides were Barry, the owner, and Julie.

Note: Because it’s early in the season and the snow is still melting the river is moving at 5,000 cfs, but as a guest you will have more a speed of 200-500 cfs.


After getting outfitted in our kayaks we headed off to the water. Some more graceful then others, as I almost tipped right away. River kayaks are a little different then touring kayaks with a smaller body and flat bottom – balance is a little harder. We started off in a cove with paddle techniques and how to stay in the kayak with balance.   Next, we learned how to enter the current and exit into an eddy. The current was going fast so we were doing circles. After some practice we braved and went into the river. Along the way we stopped in eddies to learn new paddle techniques so we could get ready for the end of the fast current of the full Yampa River.


Have you been kayaking in the lake before? Is it really different? Yes, river kayaking is all about the current, IMG_0978shoreline, and trying not to tip (so moving more on your sides.) You are much more aware of your weight and balance in the kayak. Since we were early in the season, the current moved us fast, but you will have to “work” harder with the change of the current and paddle more. It’s a great activity for all ages – children and adults! Everyone had fun when we went; there was a lot of “amazing” “awesome” “we have to get out already?” and “I can’t wait to come back”. The whole family will enjoy a trip down the Yampa! If you have kayaked before you will know the basics and the whole team at Mountain Sports are great at teaching every level. Barry will make sure you are not only safe, but also have a blast down the river.


Coming this summer? River kayaking will be offered on Thursday afternoons starting in July. Have more questions? When you call to book your dude ranch vacation just ask! Ask Andrea or Selina for more details.

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