We have learned a lot since 1962, when our founder George Armstrong put his raft into the Stanislaus River for the first time and became a pioneer of California whitewater rafting. It was trial and error in those days, but year after year and decade after decade we have improved technique, refined equipment, and learned how to put on rafting trips leading people down rivers in a responsible, safe, and enjoyable manner.
Having explored and set up 10 river operations throughout the State that vary from the easiest float trips to the most difficult whitewater and everything in between has given us a broad experience level and a hard-to-match expertise.
Over the past 60+ years, we have established ourselves as the most knowledgeable and experienced California rafting outfitter. This is one reason why more people have trusted All-Outdoors for their California whitewater adventure than any other rafting company.
"I started rafting with AO in the mid 90's and every trip has been phenomenal. From the lazy Tom Sawyer trip with the kiddos to the gorgeous exhilaration of the Tuolumne to the thrilling Cal Salmon and all in between, the AO family never disappoints! The oldest company on the river, with family at heart. Lotsa love, AO! Thank you for keeping it fabulous!
- April, South Fork American
1962: George Armstrong takes his first raft down the Main Stanislaus River with his family. Listen to George recount his very first rafting trip.
1963-68: Armstrongs continue to raft with family and friends on the Stanislaus and explore rivers throughout the U.S.
1969: George, a high school teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, starts an outdoor recreation class for students which becomes All-Outdoors Adventure in Nature for Youth.
1972: AO opens its doors to the general public offering trips on the Main Stanislaus.
1973: First Guide School is conducted as the growing popularity of whitewater rafting demands more and more trained guides.
1974: Operations expanded to the South Fork American River.
1977: Merced River operation begins near Yosemite National Park.
1979: Armstrongs begin exploring rivers internationally.
1980: AO purchases 10 acres of land in Lotus CA, and moves Operational Headquarters to this location. Corporate Headquarters and Reservations Office remain in Walnut Creek.
1981: Stanislaus River is inundated by New Melones Reservoir. Armstrongs begin searching for new rivers to run in California.
1985: First commercial Class V trip. Tuolumne River at high water (7,000 cfs) in conventional rafts.
1992: George Armstrong travels to Washington, DC to lobby for the preservation of the North Fork and the Middle Fork American River threatened by the proposed Auburn Dam project.
1997: Kaweah River operations begin near Sequoia National Park.
1998: All-Outdoors obtains a permit to offer commercial rafting trips on the Class IV+ Goodwin Canyon section on the Lower Stanislaus River.
1999: Chosen Best of the West by Sunset Magazine, All-Outdoors and the Armstrong family are featured in the Walnut Creek Journal.
2000: AO purchases 7 acres of riverfront property on the South Fork American River and establishes the All-Outdoors River Center.
2001: AO wins The Best Small Business Sites in America Web Award presented by Inc. Magazine.
2004: Owner Scott Armstrong joins the first successful human-powered expedition to descend the Nile River from its source to the sea. He is the lead guide for the 800-mile whitewater section. Read the article.
2009: Three generations of Armstrongs featured in an educational video created by California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA for their exhibit focusing on global warming, California rivers, and snowpack.
2019: Reservations Office moves to Lotus, CA. Corporate Headquarters remain in Walnut Creek, CA, where the company originated.
2022: Celebrating 60 years of connecting people with California’s best whitewater rafting rivers. George Armstrong turns 95 years old and continues to work for the company.
Our guests often ask us the question, “Where did the name All-Outdoors come from?” It is a good question and one that deserves to be answered.
Reading Time: 3 mins
When George, now 94 years old, stepped off shore and into his little raft on the Stanislaus River, he had no idea what he was getting into. George and his group spent more time in the river than in the raft that day.
Viewing Time: 2 mins
Steve Martarano of Comstock’s Magazine originally approached us about California rafting prospects during a drought. However, that changed once Steve started hearing the family stories.
Reading Time: 3 mins
Listen to All-Outdoors owner Gregg Armstrong tell the story of how the family got hooked on whitewater rafting back in the 1960’s, how the family keeps growing the rafting business, and how the rafting business keeps growing the family.
Viewing Time: 2 mins