- First, think about what kind of general trip you are interested in.
- Are you looking for a 1/2 day or single day trip or an overnight trip?
- Do you want something close to home or more out in the wilderness?
- What level of difficulty would your group be comfortable rafting?
- Are there specific dates that you have available?
- Next, call several companies and talk with them about the kind of trip you think you would like.
- Does the company make you feel comfortable and take the time to answer your questions?
- Do they offer a trip which might meet your expectations or are they more concerned with trying to sell you a trip that is easier for them to do?
- How familiar are the guides with the river trip you will be taking? Are they a local company or are they based far away from the river?
- Are there any additional costs you might incur (wetsuit rental, for example) and what is included in the trip price (lunch? transportation? camping gear?, etc.)?
Once you have taken the time to think about your trip and talk with several companies, you will probably have a good feeling about which company you are comfortable with and offers the best trip for you. Just remember, there are many good rafting companies but there are also some bad companies. Take a little time to try and get to know a rafting company before you book your trip and there is a much greater chance that your trip will be a good experience.
We are happy to give you honest information about the different types of trips available in Oregon and Washington or recommend other companies if your plans don’t include rafting with us. We are proud of the trips we offer but understand there are also other companies and trips that are high quality.
Not necessarily. There are lots of different considerations that go into pricing a rafting trip. Every company has different operating costs and profit expectations. Many companies will justify high prices by explaining that their trips are “higher quality” than others. We think “high quality” doesn’t have to mean high prices. So you will find quality equipment, quality guides, quality lunches, and quality customer service on all our trips at a reasonable price. We are always thinking of new ways to make our trips better like providing hot lunches, hot chocolate, and action whitewater photos of your trip for purchase. By keeping our overhead low, we can keep our prices reasonable and still provide the highest quality raft trip on the river.
Spring weather in Oregon is very unpredictable. We usually have a good idea 5-10 before a trip what the weather will be like and what river conditions will be like. Cloudy weather is fairly common although we also can have beautiful, sunny, warm days. Spring storms can increase water levels quickly, increasing the size of waves and the speed of the water. On rainy or cloudy days it is important to dress appropriately. In general, a wetsuit worn over a bathing suit and a paddling jacket is sufficient to maintain a comfortable body temperature. If you get cold easily, a wool or polypro sweater can be worn under the paddling jacket. A wool or fleece hat is a good choice on cool days. Remember, paddling the raft keeps you active and warm!
Yes, we still raft when it is raining. If you are dressed appropriately and have an open mind, rafting on rainy days can be a very exciting, and memorable trip.
Because of the relatively low elevations of the Cascade Mountains and Oregon’s temperate weather, Oregon is blessed with a year-round rafting season. Water levels are highest during spring snowmelt, generally April through June. Water temperatures range from a low of around 40deg. to a high in the mid 50s. Air temperatures range from a low of 55 deg. to a high of 85-90 deg. Most rafters will prefer to wear a wetsuit to ensure a comfortable trip even when the air temperature is high.
Differences in water level can create different rafting experiences. The high water of early spring provides an exciting, roller coaster ride through large waves and powerful river currents. High water yields to medium flows later in the spring, which produces a fun, bouncy, wet trip. Early summer trips are characterized by lower flows, increasing the amount of maneuvering required to navigate the rapids, but providing a quieter, more casual atmosphere.
Despite its reputation as an extreme sport, whitewater rafting can be as safe as snow skiing and many other outdoor sports. Most injuries are minor (scrapes, bruises, sore muscles). When accidents happen, they generally occur on more difficult sections of rivers or at higher than normal water levels. You can minimize your exposure to risk by choosing a river section which contains rapids appropriate to your skill level and experience. In addition, listen closely and ask questions when your guide explains safety procedures. Remember, rafting is more than just an adrenaline rush. Think about what kind of experience you want before you choose a particular raft trip. There are many beautiful, beginner rafting trips which provide an enjoyable, memorable experience.
We take lots of kids down the river every year. We have a recommended minimum age for each of our trips based on both the difficulty of the river, time of year, and maturity of the child. Our goal is for each child to have a great time on the river and want to continue enjoying outdoor sports their whole life. Understand that just because your child meets our minimum recommended age for a particular trip, does not mean that they will have a great time. Some kids are more cautious than others, particularly when approaching new activities. Please have an honest discussion with your child about their expectations for the trip and feel free to call us with additional questions or concerns.
Usually, people begin a raft trip with expectations and pre-conceived ideas about what the trip will be like. Sometimes these expectations increase the apprehension level at the beginning of the trip. As everyone gets comfortable in the raft and running rapids, the apprehension disappears and is replaced with excitement. Most of the time, fear is more determined by what our minds perceive than the actual danger involved in the activity. Remember, if rafting wasn’t a little scary at times, it wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable.
All our white water rafting trips are located within an hour and a half of downtown Portland. Our main trips on the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers are located on the west side of Mt. Hood near the small communities of Sandy and Estacada, Oregon. We have Google map links listed for our meeting location on each river trip page and we send out a direction link with your rafting confirmation. We also generally send a meeting location reminder email or text shortly before the trip. Be aware that several of our trips are located in areas with poor cell phone reception so it is helpful to plan ahead and save directions on your phone before you start out for the day.