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9 Jul 2021
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Jackson Hole Travel Tips

Whitewater rafting in Jackson Hole is one of the most popular things to do while visiting the area, so for those of you who are new to this, here’s everything you need to know about whitewater rafting in Jackson Hole (but didn’t know to ask).

Can beginners do white water rafting?

The simple answer is ‘yes’. To give you an idea of how to determine the ‘thrill’ you’ll experience, white water river classifications are based on a scale from I to V. Class I is flat water and Class 5 is the most difficult. Fortunately, the Snake River provides a calm and peaceful Class 1 ride, and if you’re looking for a fun and easy white water experience. The River has an 8-mile section of Class 2 and 3, which is suitable for nearly everybody and provides a memorable time. 

What should I wear?

Let’s be clear, you’re going to get wet! Even in the middle of summer, the water in Jackson Hole can be chilly. The temperature of the water will also depend on the time of day you’re rafting. (It can be a little chilly on a morning trip but may be slightly warmer as the sun climbs during the day).

Here’s a list of things to wear:

  • Bathing suit

  • Quick dry shorts and shirt (cotton gets cold when wet)

  • Water shoes, sneakers or sandals with straps (no flip flops)

  • Sun glasses (but make sure they have a head strap and will stay on securely)

  • Wetsuit, if colder time of year. (Wetsuits can be rented in Jackson.)

Here’s a list of things to have after your trip:

  • Towel

  • Dry clothes (all layers)

  • Jacket or sweatshirt

How do I prepare for white water rafting?

The best way to prepare for a white water rafting trip is to make reservations through a reputable rafting company. There are many professional rafting companies around Jackson. 

Rafting guides love to be on the river and while they are a fun bunch, raft guides take their job very seriously. You’re in good hands with these Jackson Hole river guides, and they’ll prepare you for the trip before you ever get your feet wet. 

 

PRO TIP: When booking your reservation, check to make sure the company has safety training.

 

To prepare for your rafting trip, guides will make sure you:

  • Always wear a life jacket, or personal flotation device 

  • Know how to hold the paddle properly

  • Know how to work together with others in your raft to ride the rapids

  • Know how to stay in the boat

  • Know what to do if you don’t stay in the boat

  • Know the proper swimming techniques if you find yourself in the river

What are the dangers of white water rafting?

If you’ve never been rafting before, we know this question is probably on your mind so we want to address it. Rafting in white water can be a safe and thrilling ride and experienced raft guides know every rock and current of water along the river, but riding in white water is one of the more dangerous activities in Jackson Hole.

Being thrown out of the boat into cold rushing water with lots of rocks that you can’t see is always a possibility. Even the best swimmer can get into trouble. When preparing for your whitewater rafting trip, always respect the river. Listen and act on your river guide’s instructions. Working as a team with those in the boat and doing exactly what the guide says can help keep everyone in the boat and away from the rocks.

 

Check out our Local Partnerships list for recommendations for a local rafting company. Experience the thrill of a rafting trip and enjoy the ride!