Yellowstone National Park is the heart of whitewater rafting adventure. This region has the most dramatic landscapes and picturesque views that can be seen nowhere else in the world. It is no doubt, that your vacation in Yellowstone won’t be complete without the fun and exhilaration of an excited rafting experience.
White water rafting is a popular outdoor sports activity. Rafting is an exciting aquatic adventure that can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels and age. This type of sport is generally seasonal, but in some areas white water rafting is available all year round. For this sport, specialized flexible rubber rafts are used. The rafts can accommodate a big number of people. Each rafter has a paddle that is used to guide the raft. The term ‘white rafting’ comes from the water turbulence. White water rapids have six speed levels. The first level is a slow moving that is safe for everyone and the sixth level can be used only by professionals. The rafters should have a professional training and a much better knowledge of their abilities. Classification levels from 1 to 3 are the most popular among tourists and are a perfect choice for beginners.
White water rafting consists of navigating down the river that can be either calm or turbulent, maneuvering between and around the rocks. You can choose a few hours’ trip or a long expedition. The latter usually combines white water rafting and camping.
Water rafting is one of the earliest forms of transportation. Historically, it was used for people, animals, and goods transportation. As a leisure activity, water rafting has become popular in the mid-1980s, when it was called “the mad river rafting”. The first ‘mad river’ trip was made by Breck O’Neill in 1977. His starting point was in the Grand Canyon and the finishing spot in Jackson, Wyoming.
The first raft was invented in the 1840s by Lt. John Fremont for military purposes. Furthermore, John D. Rockefeller built a raft resort and in 1972 rafting was included to the Olympic Games.
The most famous and legendary river in Yellowstone National Park is the Montana River. This river offers wild and amazing 3 and 4 levels of whitewater speed. This kind of rafting is very good for family adventures.
A few rules that will help you have a great whitewater rafting vacation:
- Your clothes should be comfortable, the best choice is t-shirt, shorts and a pair of sandals. Don’t be afraid to get wet.
- Don’t take an expensive camera. Pick up waterproof camera for making photos.
- Remember that rafting is an outdoor sport and the combination of sun, water and wind can easily get you a sunburn. Don’t forget about good waterproof suncream.
- Hire a guide. A good and experienced guide can tell you many interesting things as well as guide you through the wild water as well as give you the instructions on paddling to make your adventure easier. And if any need arise, all guides can give you the first aid.
There are a lot of rafting companies in the Yellowstone area. The most notable of them are:
- Flying Pig Rafting Company. This company focuses on customer service and big groups. They offer long raft trips and horseback rides.
- Wild West Rafting offers wild 3 and 4 classes of water rafting. The usual age of individuals ranges from 6 to 70. You can explore the beauty of Paradise Valley and get to know its history with experienced and attentive guides.
- Montana Whitewater offers a great number of trips: half, full-day, overnight etc. This company is a good choice for family vacation and beginners. Montana Whitewater also offers other outdoor activities such as: horseback/rafting combination trips, kayak and sinner trips etc.
- Mad River Boat Trips provides rafting services, including peaceful scenic floats down the calm areas of the river.
- Yellowstone Raft Company is the most safe and fun resort. This company is the oldest company in Yellowstone National Park and its services include half or full-day water trips.
Caution: This type of sport is very dangerous and children under 90 pounds may not be able to participate in whitewater rafting.
In addition to white water rafting, other activities in Yellowstone area may include:
- Horseback Riding (half, full-day or 2 hours rides in the wilderness. This is a great activity for those who love horses, but prefer to come back to their comfortable motel after the riding is over)
- Pack Trips. There are several types of Pack Trips: for sightseeing, for photography, horseback riding, and fishing. These trips are very common in the summer months and can last as long as you wish.
- Fishing. The oldest relaxing activity in Yellowstone. You can hear the sounds of the alpine waters and have a chance to get in touch with wildlife and watch deer, elk, bear, wolves, coyotes and more animal habitants of the national park.
- Hunting (Helps you feel the nature and hunt a large game)