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“Great family first time trip!”

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Owner description: Buffalo Joe's has merged with River Runners! Our whitewater rafting adventures are run on the Arkansas River from April through September, beginning north of Buena Vista and continuing south through Brown's Canyon which has recently been designated a National Monument! For the experienced rafters we also offer the more challenging trips through the Royal Gorge and Numbers sections of the Arkansas. You'll love our brand new headquarters on the river in downtown Buena Vista's South Main neighborhood. Not only are we among the oldest and safest rafting company's, but we're the only rafting company on the Arkansas River that's walking distance to your hotel room, restaurants, shops and parks! Hope to see you on the river soon!
Dubuque, Iowa
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great family first time trip!”
Reviewed 24 July 2013

We took the half day 2pm trip through Brown's Canyon on 7/15/13. I actually booked our trip through Buffalo Joe's sister company Echo Canyon as we originally wanted to do a Royal Gorge area trip but due to the area forest fires decided to do Brown's Canyon which was more on the way to our next traveling stop anyway. Our trip was a wide group ranging from my 57 year old father, 3 men between 31-22, 2 females 37 & 20, and my 10 year old son.

We were hoping for an exciting ride but also safe enough to the keep the 57 & 10yr olds comfortable. Brown's was recommend to us as the most advance we should take a 10 year old on and I would agree I probably wouldn't have been comfortable taking him on much more than this. The area had two days of heavy rain leading into our trip so water levels were unusually high and the guides were pumped themselves to be out on the river in it. This was a plus as we did want the adrenaline experience as long as it was safe for the kid.

Buffalo Joe's staff was super friendly and ready to answer any questions you had. Because of the rain and slight cold almost everyone on the trip rented a rain jacket for $5 extra which we all felt was a good deal. If the sun is going to be out I would skip it, but if it's cloudy you may be glad you paid for it. The trip started a little behind schedule but mostly due to them waiting for some late members of another party. All rafting companies on the river use the same inlet and outlet if doing the 10-mile run. Joe's will bus you 10min there and 20min back, a couple companies are on the river but I wouldn't let this be a big factor in determining who you go with.

We were a group from Iowa and Joe's had a guide from Iowa and I think on purpose hooked us up with him (Reggie). When Reggie realized we were decent rowers (sorry about the backstrokes) he had the comfort to set us up for more adventurous lines and faster course travel which was perfect for us and we ended up being the lead raft most of the trip. My only suggestion would be the girls at the front could not hear Reggie's commands so we had to relay them, speaking up would have helped.

The river itself was at high water levels as I mentioned. The first 1.5hr of the trip will be covering about 3 miles of basically training waters and low class 2 rapids. The last 1.5hr cover the remaining 7 miles of class 2 & 3 rapids. If you are using a helmet cam that has battery issues save your footage for the last half.

The canyon area itself is beautiful even though our weather was cloudy and grey. We had some rain for awhile too but it actually added a little something to the trip. One of our rafters got thrown into the raft and ended up knocking my wife out of the raft into the toilet bowl but thankfully got a grasp of the raft right away. As no one was hurt we actually all found this to be awesome including my wife. Our guide described later how she could have been sucked into the toilet bowl and how to escape, would have been nice to know in advance but hey she's safe and I'm never letting her live this one down and it made for some awesome camera footage.

At about the same point a 12 yr old girl about two rafts behind got tossed and unfortunately did not make it back to her boat. She took about a 250' float down the river and Reggie guided us excellently into position to rescue her. She was a little shaken up but once she was safe everyone had a good laugh including her parent. Joe's guides were great at providing a safe ride considering the conditions and when someone did get tossed they knew how to get in the best position to pick them up. Even though I mentioned the two tosses above these were highlights of our trip and I don't mention them in a negative way.

The 3hr trip was perfect for the 57 & 10 yr old but I think the rest of us wanted some more and we all came out saying we wanted to test the class 4's (without the 57 & 10yr old). Buffalo Joe's is a class outfit and have great attitudes and I would have no problem going back to them. My only issue would be the price of their picture CD. There is no pressure to purchase, but if you did want them their prices are setup at $25 for 1 pic, or $50 for the CD. I don't normally have an issue with buying the CD but for our group of 7 people there were only 15 pictures. I felt the price should have been cheaper or more photos should have been taken.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank BigDog2081
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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119 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Jacksonville, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Not fantastic by any means”
Reviewed 23 July 2013

My son and I went on a rafting trip...he's 10 and was looking forward to some actual rafting. The water was calm and more like a leisurely stroll...our reservation was at 8:15a & we didn't get onto the water until 10a. They wi ll charge extra for EVERYTHING.. Water jackets are all extra. If you want one pic (cd only) 25.00 ranging up to 6 pics for a whopping extra 50bucks. They really "get" their customers with the extras. Our raft guide was probably the only thing decent about the trip...I would definitely consider going elsewhere and check what comes with the package (and if u have an older child looking for a river with some actual rapids...try somewhere else. There's only a couple spots on the river close to mentioning). There are also other rafting companies along the river which it would have been nice to avoid the van trip down and carrying of equipment and rafts.

Visited July 2013
Thank Marie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coby V, Manager at Buffalo Joe’s Rafting brought to you by River Runners, responded to this review, 8 June 2014
We appreciate your comments about your rafting experience with Buffalo Joe’s and apologize for the issues you had. Colorado experienced a drought in 2013 and the Arkansas River was running at really low levels making the rapids a little less exciting as in normal water level years. We always give our guests the option of renting river gear from us if they do not have adequate attire as the River can be frigid. It is much cheaper to rent a pair of water booties for $5 than go out and buy an expensive pair of water shoes for added comfort. Also, there is a whitewater photography company who takes pictures of all river outfitters on the Arkansas River. We display their pictures when all trips return from their adventure and charge for those according to industry standards. 2014 is currently experiencing great water levels with all the snow we received in the area! We certainly hope you come back to the area and enjoy the Arkansas River.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
“None Better !”
Reviewed 23 July 2013

Our family had an awesome time rafting with this outfitter... It was a great time. I highly recommend the full day trip with the steak lunch. It is amazing how they can cook up such a great lunch in the middle of no-where. No wimpy sandwiches on this trip, JT was an awesome guide, lots of experience and great conversation.

Visited July 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Corpus Christi, Texas, United States
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
“Great time rafting”
Reviewed 16 July 2013 via mobile

We had such a great time rafting with Buffalo Joes. Our guide Jacobi made the trip very safe yet tons of fun. The river was beautiful. I expectedb to be flipped out of the raft but we guided expertly through and didn't lose any one. My only thing negative us that the company tends to nickel and dime you throughout the process everything is extra. I think it would be better to just set one price. Overall all though it was a really great time. Thanks Jacobi

Visited July 2013
Thank Nancy F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
1 review
“Buffalo Joe's is the best!”
Reviewed 12 July 2013

Super friendly, helpful, and funny staff and river guides! This is by far one of the best river rafting companies that I have had the pleasure to boat with. And Brown's Canyon is awesome! So much fun!!!
Thanks for everything B.J.'s! See you again soon!
Santa Fe, NM

Visited July 2013
Thank Mamie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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