What makes Glacier Raft Company unique?
- Glacier is rated the #1 Activity in Golden on Trip Advisor. We are honoured to hold this title as the distinction is based entirely on reviews (over 700 of them!) written by our past guests.
- This is our 35th year of running white water rafting trips on the Kicking Horse River. Glacier was one of the first companies to raft the Kicking Horse and each and every year has been spent refining our trips, organization and guest experience.
- Our trips are never rushed and we always take the time to ensure your safety. We want you to have a memorable day out, appreciate our beautiful area and enjoy a bit of adventure. Providing you with the best experience possible is a major priority!
- Our guides return year after year because they love what they do. They have an average of 8 years experience on the Kicking Horse which means they have an outstanding level of experience, knowledge and passion.
- We limit each boat to 8 customers (oar rafting) and 9 customers (paddle rafting) allowing for maximum comfort and personal attention from your guide.
- We have a professional photographer. Top quality photos of your trip are available along with video on an 8 GB Glacier Raft Company USB stick.
- We are the only company on the river to offer HD video footage of every trip.
- Our famous Cheers! At the end of your adventure, we invite you to join us around a campfire, chat with the guides, share stories of your day and enjoy a complimentary cold beverage.
Do I need experience to come rafting?
No, you don’t - many of our rafters are first timers. Our guides provide thorough instructions prior to every trip. They go through procedures and safety demonstrations so everyone is clear on what to expect.
Our trips start off gradually so you’ll have a chance to feel comfortable and confident in the raft before getting into the bigger whitewater. No experience is required for any trip.
What equipment do you provide?
We provide all of the white water raft equipment you will need. This includes wetsuits, neoprene jackets, splash tops, fleeces, neoprene boots, socks, mitts, helmets, life jackets and paddles.
There will be a highly experienced and certified guide in every raft, and we provide transportation to and from the river.
What should I bring?
All you need to bring is a swimsuit and towel. It’s a good idea to pack your sunglasses and sunscreen for the hot, sunny days too.
We have change rooms at our base and there is lots of time to get changed both before and after your trip.
Do I need to know how to swim?
Knowing how to swim is recommended, but our guides do provide great training on how to hold on and stay in the raft. If you are not a strong swimmer it is important to let your guide know so they can position you in the raft accordingly, and everyone will be wearing a high float life jacket.
How experienced are your guides?
We have one of the most experienced crews on the river, and they have an average of 8 years working on the Kicking Horse. Our river manager has been with us for 14 years. They are knowledgeable and passionate, and we feel fortunate to have such an amazing group of guides return year after year.
They all have up to date Swift Water Rescue Training, Advanced First Aid, and a British Columbia River Outfitters Association Guide Certificate.
For more information on each of our guides, visit our 'Our Crew' page
How often do you flip/people fall out?
While we can’t guarantee a flip or swimmer won’t happen, it is a rare occurrence. Our guides do everything they can to look out for your safety and it’s important to listen to everything they say. There will be various points throughout the trip when they tell you to hold on or get down, and it’s necessary to follow their instructions.
To read more about our commitment to safety, have a look at our Safety page.
Could my trip be cancelled?
Yes. We hold the right to cancel a trip if water levels fluctuate to a level (too high or too low) that makes it unsafe for us to raft on the Kicking Horse River. As water levels are completely dependent on Mother Nature, we may not know until the day before, or morning of the trip. This decision would be made entirely based on safety. If we cancel a trip for this reason a full refund will be given. A trip could also be cancelled if access to the river is blocked, or there is a change or obstruction in the river which makes it un safe to run. Mother Nature is ultimately the boss out there.
What if it rains?
We run rain or shine. Rafting is a great activity to do on a rainy day – you’re going to get wet anyways!
Because we run rain or shine, we do not allow guests to change their trip date because of the weather.
Will it be cold?
The water is cold. The Kicking Horse River is glacial fed, so it’s about 3 – 4 degrees Celsius year round. We have lots of layers for you to wear, though, so you can bundle up as much as you want. If you get cold easily, feel free to pile on our fleeces and other extra layers!
On the hot, sunny days it is quite refreshing, and many of our guests do decide to go for a little dip in our designated swimming spots.
How are the rapids rated?
Rapids are rated on a scale of 1-6.
Class 1: Moving water
Class 2: Splashy waves.
Class 3: Easy maneuvering through the rapids, bigger waves.
Class 4: Intense rapids, technical maneuvering, big waves.
Class 5: Long, powerful rapids with serious consequences (not commercially raftable).
Class 6: No go (think Niagara Falls).
The Kicking Horse River has 3 Sections: The Upper, Middle & Lower Canyons.
- Upper Canyon - Class 1 to class 3 rapids
- Middle Canyon - Continuous class 2-3 and a 1 km section of class 4 (more class 4 at high water)
- Lower Canyon - 3 km of continuous class 4, followed by a class 1-2 float into Golden
I'm really nervous. Should I still try whitewater rafting?
Absolutely! We have nervous rafters join us everyday so you're definitely not alone. All of our guides are very experienced and they know a lot of people are very nervous about being on the water. They'll do everything they can to make you feel at ease.
With the way the Kicking Horse River flows we always start our days with the calmest section first. It's the perfect introduction and gives you the chance to get comfortable in the raft and familiar with your guide, without needing to experience any crazy whitewater (unless you change your mind and decide you want to!).
We find it's often the people who were the most nervous to begin with who come back with the biggest smiles at the end.
Do I need to be young/fit/athletic/experienced etc. to go rafting?
There is no specific "descriptor" you need to be to go rafting. Rafting is something everyone can do because the Kicking Horse ranges from calm flat water to huge class 4 whitewater, meaning there are a variety of trip options available.
Whether you're young, old, nervous, confident, travelling with friends or kids, first timers, experienced rafters, planning a surprise or organizing for a large group, we can help find the right option for you.
Do you have a photographer to take photos/video?
Yes, we have a professional onsite photographer who will take digital photos of you at some of the best whitewater sections on the Kicking Horse River. They will also be at our lunch spot to grab some photos of you and your group.
We are the only company on the Kicking Horse River to also film HD video of each rafting trip every day! Our guides are equipped with GoPro cameras and they shoot video from the front and back of the rafts to capture both vantage points.
You can view your photos and video back at our base at the end of the trip, and USB sticks are available to purchase for those who are interested.
Can we bring cameras and other personal belongings in the raft?
We don’t advise that people bring anything with them on the river. There is always a chance cameras will get lost or wet, and you will be paddling so there isn’t a lot of time to be taking pictures anyways.
People often want to bring their own GoPro cameras. We do have helmets with GoPro mounts, but we tell everyone that there is a chance the camera could get broken or knocked off. Many cameras have been lost in the river - we think it is safer to leave the filming to us.
The only thing that should be carried on is medication such as asthma inhalers and epi pens etc. Our guides have small dry bags to keep these safe.
What's for lunch?
We provide a delicious riverside BBQ lunch, with your choice of steak, chicken breast, fish, a hamburger, veggie burger or smokie. Each option is complimented by a variety of salads (caesar, green, potato, bean), appetizers (potato chips, tortilla chips and salsa, veggies and dip), and dessert (fresh fruit and cookies). Hot and cold beverages are also served.
We are happy to prepare a gluten free or vegan lunch – just let us know!
How far in advance should I book?
It is usually fine to book a few days prior to your chosen date if you’re planning to come midweek, but it’s always best to book as soon as you can to guarantee we’ll have spots available. This is especially true for large groups and weekends - Saturdays and Sundays can book up quickly!
What is your deposit policy?
To confirm your seats, we will ask for your name, contact information, trip date, party size and payment information. We require full payment at the time of booking to secure your spots.
Reservations can be made over the phone or on our website.
Can everyone in my group pay individually?
Yes, this is no problem at all. Seats can be confirmed over the phone or on our website, and for both cases we ask that the guests let us know the name of their group booking so we can make sure everyone stays together.
What is your cancellation policy?
Non-Heli Trips - If you have to cancel your trip, the full amount is refundable (less a $10.00 per person processing fee) provided we are given at least 1 weeks notice prior to your trip. If notice occurs within 7 days of the trip the $50.00 per person deposit becomes non-refundable, and within 24 hours of the trip the full amount is non-refundable.
All refunds are applied to the same credit card used for the initial booking.
Heli Trips - Heli trips are non-refundable from the time of booking. Due to the commitment required on our part with the heli provider we cannot issue a refund for any reason.
Multi Day Trips - A 50% deposit is non refundable. If notice of cancellation is provided at least 30 days prior to the trip, the remaining balance will not be charged. If notice occurs within 30 days of the trip, the full amount is non-refundable.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your trip. If you are late we cannot delay the trip from leaving. No refunds will be given for missed trips.
We do not allow our guests to drink any alcoholic beverages before or during rafting as we require everyone to be in top form and not under the influence for safety and liability reasons. If we refuse to take an intoxicated guest, no refund will be given.
Do you ever see wildlife while you're on the river?
Yes! Mountain goats, black bears, deer, big horn sheep and bald eagles are among many of the animals often spotted along the river banks.
When does your season start/end?
We start rafting May long weekend and run trips everyday until mid September (this is provided there is the minimum number of people required for us to safely go and enough water in the river). This year we run from May 20th, 2017 – September 10th, 2017.
Where are you located?
The Kicking Horse River is located in beautiful Golden, British Columbia. Our rafting base is 5 minutes from the river at 1509 Lafontaine Road, right off the Trans Canada Highway #1.
Please refer to our Contact Page for detailed maps of how to find us, or speak to one of our friendly staff by calling 1 877 344 7238.
Is there a weight limit?
Our maximum weight limit is approximately 300 lbs (136kg) due to safety reasons and the size of our gear.
Will I have to sign a waiver?
Yes. Every guest must read and sign a Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims and Assumption of Risks and Indemnity Agreement prior to their rafting trip. There will be time to do this prior to your trip, but to view this document ahead of time please click here.
What about the White River Multi Day Trip?
Many of the answers above apply to our Multi Day trip, as well, but we do have additional information if you're interested in rafting the White River.
We are only able to raft the White River in May, June and early July. We are able to organize custom dates to best suit your group (provided we have the minimum number of 8 people required).
We will organize all of the planning, logistics, meals and transportation, and we provide all of the gear you'll need on the river. A more detailed packing list will be provided at the time of booking.
Our multi day trip also pairs rafting with other fun outdoor activities. You can choose from swimming, fishing, soaking in natural hot springs, or just sitting around the fire and relaxing.
The 50% deposit is non refundable. If notice of cancellation is provided at least 14 days prior to the trip, the remaining balance will not be charged. If notice occurs within 14 days of the trip, the full amount is non-refundable.
For more information please refer to our White River trip page, or call our office at 1 877 344 7238