How have your policies and procedures changed due to Covid-19
We have a number of changes in place this summer to be operating as safely as possible. Please head to our Covid-19 Policies page for all the details.
What makes Glacier Raft Company unique?
- Glacier is the #1 Activity in Golden on Trip Advisor. We're honoured to hold this title as the distinction's based on reviews (over 1500 of them!) written by our past guests. Here are some of the common themes of why guests have rated Glacier as the best rafting company.
- We've been running white water rafting trips on the Kicking Horse River since 1982. Glacier was the first company in Golden to raft the Kicking Horse. Every year we work to refine our trips, organization and 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 our priority!
- Our guides return year after year because they love what they do. They have high levels of experience, knowledge and passion, and our guests always tell us their day was better because of their awesome guide.
- We pioneered heli rafting on the Kicking Horse River to access the rapids and beauty of the lower canyon.
- We have extra gear to keep you warm (neoprene jackets and socks) and hot showers to enjoy after spending a day on the river.
- We limit each boat to 8 customers (oar rafting) and 9 customers (paddle rafting). This allows for maximum comfort and personal attention from your guide.
- We have a professional photographer. Top quality photos and video are available everyday.
- 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. You can 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 required for any trip.
What equipment do you provide?
We provide all of the white water rafting equipment you'll need. This includes a wetsuit, neoprene jacket, splash top, fleece, neoprene boots, socks, mitts, helmet, life jacket and paddle.
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?
* For summer 2021 we recommend coming with your swimsuit under your clothes so you have the option to get changed by your vehicle. You will also need a cloth face covering for times when physical distancing isn't possible. Change rooms are still available if needed.
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 spacious change rooms at our base with HOT SHOWERS!.. and there is lots of time to get changed both before and after your trip.
What footwear should we bring?
We will provide you with neoprene boots so no need to worry about getting your own river shoes.
Will the highway be open? I hear there will be construction near Golden?
The short answer is YES! Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project on the Trans Canada Highway (Highway #1) will start in the fall of 2020 and will take 3 years. The highway closures will not happen from June 1 to Sept 15 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No day time closures or stoppages. This means visiting Golden and rafting on the Kicking Horse River is good to go during the entire construction process.
Do I need to know how to swim?
Knowing how to swim is recommended. You will be wearing a high float life jacket but if you're not a strong swimmer it is important to let your guide know. They'll position you in the raft accordingly and everyone gets training on how to hold on and stay in the raft.
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 15 years. They are knowledgeable and passionate, and we're 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 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 very 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 that makes it unsafe for us to raft. Water levels are completely dependent on Mother Nature, so we may not know until the day before, or morning of the trip. Safety is the only consideration when making this decision.
Other reasons for cancellations include not having the minimum numbers we need to safety run, or an obstruction in the river.
If we cancel a trip for any of these reasons you will receive a full refund.
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, but we'll provide you with lots of layers so you can bundle up as much as you want. The Kicking Horse River is glacial fed, so it’s about 3 – 4 degrees Celsius year round.
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?
There are 6 classes of rapids:
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. 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 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. They'll take photos of you at some of the best whitewater sections on the 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 have GoPros to 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. All media is available to purchase and you'll receive everything through email.
Can we bring cameras and other personal belongings in the raft?
We don’t recommend you bring anything with you on the river. There is always a chance cameras will get lost or wet, and you'll be paddling so there isn’t a lot of time to be taking pictures anyways.
If you want to bring your GoPro, we do have helmets with GoPro mounts. There is a chance the camera could get broken or knocked off and many cameras have fallen into the river. It's up to you, but it's safer to leave the filming to us.
The only thing you should bring is medication. Anything you'll need throughout the day such as asthma inhalers or epi pens etc. Our guides have small dry bags to keep these safe.
What's for lunch?
*We will be offering a simplified riverside BBQ lunch in 2021. We'll have burgers, veggie burgers and smokies (big hot dogs), with snacks and drinks. We've adjusted our prices to reflect the fewer options.
Any trip that begins at 9:30 am will include a bbq lunch.
We provide a delicious riverside BBQ lunch, with your choice of steak, chicken breast, fish, a hamburger, veggie burger or smokie (a big hot dog). We have a variety of salads (caesar, green, potato, bean), appetizers (potato chips, 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 – please let us know!
Can I wear my glasses or sunglasses?
Yes, you can and we do recommend wearing them if it's going to make your day more enjoyable.
If you'll be wearing prescription glasses we recommend bringing a strap in case they fall off. We sell sunglass saver straps for $10 in case you don't have your own.
If you don't have prescription glasses but don't want to risk losing your good shades, we also sell cheap $10 sunglasses.
It's also fine to wear contacts on the river.
How far in advance should I book?
*Due to Covid-19 we have to cap our group sizes at a much smaller number than our normal capacity. If you have a date in mind we recommend booking as soon as possible to make sure we'll still have seats available. Last summer many of trips were full more than a week in advance.
It's usually fine to book a few days ahead of time if you’re planning to come midweek. It’s always best to book as soon as you can, however, to guarantee we’ll have spots available. This is especially true for large groups and weekends - Saturdays and Sundays book up fast!
What is your deposit policy?
We take full payment at the time of booking to secure your spots.
To confirm your seats you'll need to know what trip you want, your trip date, group size and payment information. For payment we accept Visa and MasterCard.
We can help you reserve over the phone, or you can book online through our website.
Can everyone in my group pay individually?
Yes, this is possible. You can book with us on the phone or on our website. For both cases we ask that you let us know the name of your group booking so we can make sure everyone stays together.
If you qualify for a discount, you only receive the discount if you book and pay as one group. Not if everyone wants to pay individually.
What is your cancellation policy?
If you have to cancel your trip, the full amount is refundable (less $10.00 per person processing fee) provided we receive at least 48 hours notice prior to your trip date. If notice occurs within 48 hours of the trip date the full amount is non-refundable.
When you reserve your seats they are no longer available for anyone else to book. We also schedule guides and drivers and plan our logistics based on the number of seats we have confirmed. Because of this, if you cancel within 48 for ANY reason please do NOT expect a refund. This applies to all reasons.
In the unlikely event that we need to cancel a trip due to weather or safety concerns, we will re-schedule your trip to a date that works for you, or provide a full refund.
We do not allow our guests to drink alcohol or come intoxicated in any way. This is both before or during your rafting trip. We need everyone to be in top form and not under the influence for safety reasons. If we refuse to take you because you're intoxicated, you will not receive a refund.
Is it possible to change the date of my reservation instead of cancelling?
If it's more than 48 hours prior to your trip, we will do our best to change the date of your reservation. This will be dependent on availability, the time of year and the number of people booked on the trip. The more notice we have the easier it is to make modifications.
There is no guarantee, and if we're unable to change your reservation our cancellation policy will be in effect.
If it's the day of your trip, or you're within 24 hours, we cannot switch the date. Once we're that close to your trip we've planned our guides, drivers, logistics and food prep. We value our staff and having them get bumped last second isn't possible.
What are your policies for heli rafting?
*Due to Covid-19 we're unsure if heli rafting trips will run in 2021. We'll update our availability as we know more.
* This trip runs on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays starting mid July.
* No experience required. Our guides will let you know exactly what to do!
* We can only raft the lower canyon of the Kicking Horse at specific water levels. It can close at certain times throughout the summer when the water becomes too high for us to safely run it. June and early July tend to be when we see the highest water. When this occurs, we run the middle whitewater section twice. Not to worry though – at high water, the middle canyon is as good as it gets!
* If we can't raft the lower canyon due to high water you WILL STILL be flying in the helicopter. The heli will fly you back up the canyon to raft the second lap of the middle. The flying time is the same for both trips.
If you book a heli trip you are confirming your seat in the helicopter regardless of whether you're rafting the lower canyon, or middle canyon twice. Even through there is road access to the middle canyon, you cannot downgrade your trip day of, as your seat(s) in the heli are already confirmed. If other guests upgrade their trip on the day to add on a second lap of the middle canyon, they will have the option to drive back up with our bus. If you've booked a heli trip you will be flying - you DO NOT have the option downgrade your trip to ride the bus.
*If you have to cancel your trip, the full amount is refundable (less a $10.00 per person processing fee) provided we receive at least 30 days notice prior to your trip. If notice occurs within 30 days of the trip the $100.00 per person deposit becomes non-refundable, and within 21 days of the trip the full amount is non-refundable.
*We need a minimum number of people for all heli trips. If those numbers are not met we will not be able to book the helicopter. If minimum numbers are not met we will not charge you for the third leg of your trip, or for the heli flight.
*We cannot give advance notice of whether or not we'll be rafting the lower canyon, as many factors can change very quickly. The decision to raft the lower canyon is often made the morning of the trip when we have current information on water levels and weather. Please try to understand that river levels are completely up to Mother Nature and are not something we can control.
*We hold the right to cancel a trip if water levels fluctuate to a level that makes it unsafe for us to raft. Water levels are completely dependent on Mother Nature, so we may not know until the day before, or morning of the trip. Safety is the only consideration when making this decision. If we cancel a trip for this reason you will receive a full refund.
* There's a $5.00 Land Use Fee and 5% GST applied to all trips.
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. We offer trips on weekends in May and then everyday from June 1st to mid September.
Being able to offer trips every day is dependent on meeting minimum numbers and the river level.
Where is Glacier Raft Company located?
The Kicking Horse River is in beautiful Golden, British Columbia. Our rafting base is 5 minutes from the river at 1509a Lafontaine Rd, Golden, BC V0A 1H3 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.
Can I go rafting if I'm pregnant?
This is a discussion you must have with your doctor, as we cannot advise on medical issues. If you're questioning it, it's probably safest to not go.
Do you offer any promo codes or discounts?
*For 2021 we have the option to Book a Boat. This will allow you to have a private boat for your 'bubble' at a discounted rate, without having to pay for all 8 seats.
We don't offer promos or discounts because we want to be able to offer everyone the best experience possible. Being able to add more to our day to exceed expectations is important to us, and we can't do that if we discount our prices.
The only exception to this is that we do offer group discounts. Eight people fill a raft so if you have 8 or more people please get in touch. To receive this discount, one person will need to book and pay for the group.
Do you offer afternoon trips for people who arrive to town late?
Will I have to sign a waiver?
Yes. Every guest of Glacier Raft Company must read and sign a Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims and Assumption of Risks and Indemnity Agreement prior to their rafting trip.
You will receive a digital copy of our waiver to read and sign at the time of booking. If you don't complete it ahead of time, there will be time to do this at our rafting base when you arrive.
Each adult guest must read and sign THEIR OWN Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims and Assumption of Risks Agreement prior to rafting. Guardians must sign for those under 19.
If you have questions please let us know.
To read this document ahead of time, here is our waiver.