Eagle River Jam & Backyard BBQ offers free raft trips, kids activities and picnic fun | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Jam & Backyard BBQ offers free raft trips, kids activities and picnic fun

Even though you think it might be cold enough to turn your feet blue, spring weather brings an almost irresistible urge to dip your toes in the Eagle River.

On Sunday, May 27, Timberline Tours and the town of Eagle will help satisfy that need during the annual Eagle River Jam & Backyard BBQ event.

"It's spring, so why not venture out and party with your neighbors," said Jeremy Gross, Eagle special events coordinator.

The jam is held at Chambers Park and includes free activities for kids and free hot dogs for everyone. But the highlight of the celebration is a special offer from Timberline Tours — a free raft trip down the river for everyone ages 8 and older. The free raft rides depart from the Chambers Park boat ramp and run to the Eagle County Fairgrounds takeout. Participants will be outfitted with life vests and helmets and seasoned river guides will be at the helm.

Checking out the new park

According to owner Timberline Tours Greg Kelchner, River Jam is a great way for his 47-year-old company to give back to the community. It's also a great way for company guides to share their passion for river running.

Recommended Stories For You

And speaking of passion, Kelchner said his crews are all excited to check out the new in-stream water features planned as part of the new Eagle River Park. Sunday's river route will take passengers through the new river park stream structures

"It's quite nice down there and it's going to be a real asset to the community when the whole park is finished," Kelchner said.

He said the featured trek on Sundays will offer a short, but intense, ride.

"It's what you are looking for. It's a great taste of the sport," he said.

By offering free rides, Kelchner said he hopes to reach people in the community who normally don't have access to rafting adventures. He noted that Timberline regularly recruits bilingual guides worldwide, so if they desire, on Sunday patrons can run the river with skippers who speak Spanish.

While the Eagle River Jam is more of a community-focused event, visitors often stumble into the festivities.

"We get a lot of people who are driving through and stop at the rest area," Kelchner said. "The get out and enjoy a raft ride."

Back in 2016 during the first river jam, Timberline Tours took 270 people for a ride. Last year the number topped 200.

"It's just been a great event for us," Kelchner said.

If you go …

What: Eagle River Jam

When: Sunday, May 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with rive raft trips beginning at noon.

Where: Chambers Park, Eagle.

Cost: Free.

More information: Come dressed to get wet. Rafting is open to everyone ages 8 and older who arrives before 1 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. Free hot dogs for all and free kids activities, including Bill Doram’s Fosil Posse, are also planned. Visit http://www.eagleoutside.com.