New business brings river rentals to Craig |

New business brings river rentals to Craig

Nate Waggenspack
Several residents float down the Yampa River under the Ranney Street bridge and along Loudy-Simpson Park. Floating and other forms of recreation on the river are popular options for locals, which is one reason Derek Cleverly has begun renting floating equipment outside Jackson's Office Supply and Radio Shack.
Nate Waggenspack

— Whether it’s fishing, floating or swimming, the Yampa River is a go-to spot for recreation in the late spring and summer time, but you need to bring your own gear in order to have fun.

Not anymore. Craig residents and those visiting the city now have the ability to float or kayak on the river without their own supplies. Red Coyote Adventure is offering floating rentals to anyone interested in taking a relaxing trip down the Yampa.

Red Coyote is barely 2 months old and still a bit of a fledgling business. It runs alongside Jackson Office Supply and Radio Shack with a handmade sign advertising several inflatables. But Derek Cleverly, who began the venture, said there has been enough interest that he wants to take the next steps and see where the business goes.

He got the idea from his own enjoyment floating the river with family and friends.

“After messing around on rivers for 15 years and having fun, we saw the opportunity to start renting out equipment,” Cleverly said. “We didn’t really have that anywhere in this town, so we said, ‘Let’s give it a shot, and maybe it develops into a business.’”

The response since Red Coyote formed and began offering rafts and kayaks for rental at the beginning of May (tubes then became available in mid-June) has been significant, with people from Craig and outside the city, as far as Seattle, renting equipment, Cleverly said.

“We think now we know a little more about how to do it,” he said, adding that beginning Monday, he hopes to look into advertising and add more to the business.

Red Coyote currently offers a 16-foot raft, 13-foot raft, a canoe, an inflatable two-person kayak, a few one-person kayaks and about a dozen tubes for rental. Cleverly may add a paddleboard to the mix, and he said that if the business becomes extremely popular, he would consider adding a guiding aspect to the business, too.

In its current form, Red Coyote just helps locals or those passing through get onto the river easily, whether they’re going with an extended family or just a couple of friends.

Floating the river is a good way to relax, stay cool in the summer heat and enjoy the company of family and friends. That’s what the Stehle and Davis families were doing Friday afternoon, floating from Pebble Beach to Loudy-Simpson Park with a group of 12.

“I like the waves,” said Abbi Stehle, 5, talking about her favorite parts of floating. “You get to go swimming and try to catch fishes.”

Xavier Davis, 8, was floating in the same group, and he said he enjoys it most when the water gets a bit rougher and there is more opportunity to get wet.

“I mostly like the first and last rapids and being dunked,” he said.

But for significant stretches of the Yampa, especially as summer wears on, the river is calm and slow-moving, making it a perfect way to spend a cool couple of hours. That is one vision Cleverly has for Red Coyote, having it function as a fun option for out-of-towners when they are in Craig for an event, such as the Triple Crown baseball tournaments that come to Craig each summer.

“There’s not a better way to take a break and enjoy time with friends and family” than floating the river, he said.

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.