Kicking Horse River Whitewater Rafting trip frequently asked questions

Do I need to know how to swim?
You should be comfortable around water but don’t need to be a swimmer to go whitewater rafting .Our life jackets are very buoyant and will keep you afloat.

Will I fall out?
There is a slim possibility of falling out while river rafting but it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. We have ropes down the center and around the raft to hold on to, and the guides will even tell you when you need to hold on. There is also a detailed safety talk before you get into the boat and then once again in the boat on the upper river section.

What class are the rapids?
Whitewater Rapids are rated from Class One (moving water) to Class Six (waterfalls). On the Kicking Horse River the rapids are 10% Class One, 40% Class 2, 30% Class Three, and 20% Class Four. The BC Government does not permit rafting on Class Five and Six white water rapids.

What qualifications do the guides have?
All of our guides are professional River Guides. They have a extensive rafting experience on the Kicking Horse and other rivers around the world. They go through rigorous testing before they are allowed to guide. Many of our guides travel to southern countries like Mexico and Australia and raft there in the winter. They are all Licensed Trip Leaders, and certified in Wilderness first aid, and swift water rescue.

Is Whitewater Rafting dangerous?
Rafting is an Adventure Activity which means that there is always a degree of risk.

Do you run “Half Day” trips?
Kootenay River Runners runs the entire Upper and Middle Kicking Horse River as one rafting trip. (The Classic trip). The Half Day or Middle River trip that you may read about in other brochures starts five minutes above the largest rapid in the river. We feel that rafters need more time to build their rafting confidence and practice important skills, and first half of the upper river gives you that opportunity. Any Half Day rafting trip is only 45 minutes long and as most people travel from Banff or Radium to raft we want our guests to get the longest whitewater rafting experience  possible.  

What parts of the river do you do?
Rafters can do the Upper Canyon( Classic Trip),  or the Upper and Lower Canyon ( Ultimate trip).

What is the difference between the Upper Canyon and the Lower Canyon?
The Upper Canyon rafting section  is Class One to Class Four. The rapids are spread out and it is a longer section of river. The Lower Canyon is Class Two to Four + and the rapids are much closer together. In fact there is a fifteen minute stretch of continuous Class Four rapids on the Lower Canyon  rafting trip.

Why can’t I just go rafting on the Lower Canyon?
Because of the level of rafting difficulty on the Lower Canyon, Kootenay River Runners feels that you must have at least some rafting experience before running this section of river. Rafting the Upper River before doing the Lower Canyon gives you a chance to build rafting skills and confidence for the more challenging sections of whitewater you will experience in the Lower Canyon.

Is the water cold?
The short answer….yes! The Kicking Horse is a Glacial Fed river. This means it is always cold, no matter what time of year it is. But we will give all the gear you need to enjoy your time on the river including a 4ml wetsuit, polar fleece jacket, splash jacket, neoprene shoes, and of course your helmet and Life Jacket. All of these things will help to keep you warm while you're rafting this amazing river.

How many people are in the rafts?
Our boats are rated for 10 rafters plus the guide. We try to keep our boats light so on most days there are 8 rafters and the guide.

Will my group be  rafting together?
Although we cannot guarantee that you will all be in the same raft we will do our best to make sure you're  in the same boat. Remember to tell the guides that you are a group and they will do their very best to keep you together.

Do you have group discounts?
Kootenay River Runners will give a 10% group discount for 8 rafters or more.

 What size do your wetsuits go up to?

We have wetsuits up to XXXL. There is a maximum weight restriction of 300lbs for all of our trips.