CCA's First Outfitted Education Trips

Following the recent launch of our River Outfitting Program, CCA's river guides took two groups of students down the Colorado River to learn about rafting, the natural world, and leadership development. 

On May 14th, Colorado Canyons Association partnered with Bookcliff Middle School’s Outdoor Wilderness Lab (OWL) for our first outfitted trip down the Colorado River. OWL is a week-long experiential science school offered for 6th-grade students in Mesa County Valley School District 51, run in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 16 8th-grade students and 2 teachers traveled through Ruby and Horsethief Canyons in McInnis Canyons NCA, spending the night at Catalpa camp. Students were chosen based on essays they wrote about the importance of being positive leaders in their community. While learning about desert ecology, river rafting, and leadership styles, students had ample opportunities for water fights, swimming, and exploring the Catalpa property. The trip served to “bridge the gap” between students’ 6th grade OWL experience and their Sophomore year in high school when they are eligible to return as OWL counselors.

Just two short weeks after completing the OWL trip, CCA took 17 eighth-grade students from Juniper Ridge Community School on a 5-day trip down the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River. Following tradition in Waldorf education, this class trip involved outdoor education and adventure, while marking the culmination of the students’ journey through the grades. The trip was designed to challenge each student, allowing them to build confidence and resilience. Students were tasked with all aspects of trip logistics- rowing boats, navigation, camp set up, and food preparation. They also had plenty of time to explore archeological sites, skip rocks, swim, and rehearse their Shakespeare play, all while connecting deeply with their peers and nature.

We would not have so many wonderful opportunities to empower youth on the river without the generous support of our sponsors and community members! Thank you!

For questions or more information about our River Stewardship Programs, contact our River Program Director, Dawn Cooper, via or 970-263-7902.