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CostHelper > Sports & Fitness  > Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting Cost


How Much Does Whitewater Rafting Cost?

 
low costGuided Single-Day Trip: $25-$115 Per Personaverage costSelf-Guided Rafting Trip: $55-$200 Per Dayhigh costMulti-Day Guided Rafting Trip: $400-$1,300+
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Whitewater rafting experiences vary by water conditions that shift from family friendly floats to Rodeo Rafting where more time is spent in the water than in the raft. Cost to white water raft on US waterways varies by location, length of trip and whether the adventure is guided.

Typical costs:

  • Self-guided rafting trips cost $55-$200 per day, depending on size of the group, the river, launch fees and the water gear (raft, paddles and lifejackets).
  • Many rivers require permits[1] for rafting. A lottery drawing is typically held in early spring and applications are taken one year in advance. Permits cost about $10-$400, depending on length of trip, campsites used along the way and the river. For example, a day trip on the Rogue River[2] in Oregon costs about $10 per person during season, while a trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon[3] costs about $400.
  • Guided single-day trips cost $25-$115 per person, depending on location and season. For example, a four-hour trip with Pocono Whitewater[4] costs about $40 per adult or $34 per child and includes a barbecue after rafting down the Hudson River. Some trips include transportation to and from the base camp and the river and an optional meal.
  • Multi-day guided whitewater rafting excursions cost $400-$1,315 for 3-4 day events, depending on location, season and amenities. For lower priced trips, expect to bring camping gear and help prepare meals and set up camp. Higher-priced trips typically include amenities including the bedding and catered meals. For example, a four-day trip on the Snake River through Hells Canyon in Idaho with Hughes River Expeditions[5] costs $1,315 per adult or $1,190 for children, teens or undergraduate students, and includes crew-prepared gourmet meals set at cloth covered tables, life jackets, sleeping bags and pads, pillows, tarps, tents, camp chair seating and bathroom supplies.
Related articles: Bungee Jumping, Skydiving, Swimming Lessons

What should be included:
  • On a multi-day guided white water rafting trip, all food, drinks -- usually including alcoholic beverages -- are typically included. Pre-water training includes lifejacket check, how to paddle depending on seating position in raft and what to do when bounced into the water.
  • Each river has a distinct set of characteristics that vary with water level. Class 1 routes include small waves and easy maneuvers. Class 2 guarantees getting sprayed with water. Class 3 is considered medium difficulty and also the first real step in whitewater rafting. The rapids tend to have more waves of varying strengths and obstacles like rocks, bridges and debris. Class 4 is advanced rafting in turbulent water, and Class 5 is expert with long, obstructed or violent rapids with drops, and complex routes that add to the risk and demand a high level of fitness. Class 6 is considered extreme due to difficult, unpredictable and dangerous waters.
  • Class 1 and 2 trips typically do not include an experienced rafter in each boat as amateurs can often handle the slow glide on their own or as a group of rafts. Guided trips on white water conditions Class 3 and above typically include professional rafters in the boat either handling all the maneuvering or teaming with participants.
  • Check with the rafting company on what to pack[6] for the particular ride and weather.
Additional costs:
  • Photos of the half and full day trips are often taken by on-shore crew and typically cost about $20 per photo or $40 for a CD. Shore photo options are limited on longer remote trips which are typically further from roads.
  • Transportation to and from the drop sites is typically not included. For example connecting from the airport in Boise, ID to ride the Snake River will cost about $260 per person with an additional $50 for a luggage trailer for groups of 14.
Discounts:
  • Large group trips may cost $2-$10 less per person on a single-day adventure, and full groups may have more opportunities to set their own travel dates. Save on parking at national parks with a annual pass[7] for about $20-$80. National parks also offer fee-free days[8] that can save up to $10 per visit.
  • Save on pre-trip lodging by camping at national parks costing about $8-$25 per night, depending on location, size of group and amenities. Backcountry camping without services is free where available.
Shopping for whitewater rafting:
  • The Bureau of Land Management has a list of safety precautions and regulations[9] for whitewater rafting.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisit/upload/2012-Lottery-Application-fillable-2.pdf
  2.  www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/rogue/permit.php
  3.  www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weightedlottery.htm
  4.  www.poconowhitewater.com/adventures/famiystylewhitewater/
  5.  www.hughesriver.com/snake-river/index.html
  6.  www.hudsonriverrafting.com/bring.asp
  7.  www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisit/annual-passes.htm
  8.  www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
  9.  www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/recreation_activities/boating_and_kayaking.html
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