5 Trips On 1 River – We Know That Can Get Confusing

Are you looking for boat swamping rapids or a sit back and relax kind of float, or maybe a bit of both?

We've got you covered. The Kicking Horse River is divided into 3 sections – the upper, middle and lower canyons – so whether you want to be digging in hard, or barely paddling at all, we can tailor your rafting trip to what suits you best.

Have a look at the charts below for a breakdown of how rafting on the Kicking Horse River works.

white water rafting kicking horse

The Upper Canyon

  • The 'you're easing into it' section of the river
  • Scenic rafting with a few bumps and splashes
  • Family friendly with a chance to swim
  • An initial taste of what the Kicking Horse is all about

kicking horse river rafting

The Middle Canyon

  • The first 'paddles in and hold on tight' white water section
  • Class 2 and 3 with an impressive 1 km stretch of class 4
  • 12 km of crashing rapids and full on boat swamps
  • Roller Coaster, Man Eater and Shotgun Rapids - like the sound of that?
kicking horse white water rafting

The Lower Canyon

  • Paddling even harder and hanging on tighter
  • 4 kms of continuous class 4 whitewater - amazing!
  • Exclusive to Glacier and only accessible by helicopter - even more amazing!
  • Float through Golden to finish the trip. Everyone will see you heli rafted the lower!

Kicking Horse River Rafting

It's tricky to know where exactly you'll be rafting - we get it! Check out our comparison chart below and click any of the trip names for more specific rafting info.

Trip Comparison

Time Min. Age Bottom Line
Ultimate Heli Adventure 9:15-5:30 16 MOST COMPLETE
Pure Heli White Water 11:00 - 5:30 16 ONLY BIG WHITE WATER
White Water Discovery 9:15-2:00 12 & 90 lbs MOST POPULAR
White Water Express 11:00-2:00 OR 3:30-6:15 12 & 90 lbs QUICKEST TRIP WITH FUN RAPIDS
Family Adventure 9:15-1:00 4 GENTLE INTRODUCTION
Double White Water 9:15-3:30 12 & 90 lbs HIGH WATER (June only)

Ready to Book? BOOK NOW

Raft Trip Details

  • New to rafting? That's okay! None of our trips require prior rafting experience. Our guides will let you know exactly what you need to do.
  • Loving it and want to go further? Sounds great to us! If you want to raft more than you originally booked, let your guide know. If we still have seats available they'll make sure you get to keep enjoying this amazing river! You can upgrade while you're out there and the difference in price will be charged to the credit card we have on file.
  • Want some splashy photos? All of our guides capture HD video footage, and our professional photographer will be taking pictures throughout the day. You can check out your smiles (or screams and scrunchy faces) at the end of the day.
  • Are there trip taxes? A $5.00 Land Use Fee and 5% tax is added to all trips

More questions? VIEW OUR FAQs

Water levels on the Kicking Horse River

The Kicking Horse River is a glacial fed river that starts in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. River levels are affected by snow melt, rain and temperature which means they change a lot through the summer.

Here's a rough month to month guideline. Mother Nature controls this one, though, so we can never say for sure what's going to happen.

  • May - Water levels are starting to rise. A surging river equals great rafting!
  • June - High water! The middle canyon is fast and as big as it gets. June is for the thrill seekers and we recommend the Double White Water trip. The lower canyon is generally closed - too unsafe at high water.
  • July - High water often sticks around for part of July. As the river drops, the lower canyon opens. Warm, sunny days and lots of big whitewater!
  • August - A fun water level with the river turning to bright glacial blue. Highest likelihood of rafting the entire river - you don't want to miss heli rafting the lower canyon!
  • September - Low water. Technical rafting and some fun waves that only appear at this time of year.

Wondering What the Different Classes Mean?

The Kicking Horse River consists of class 1 – class 4 rapids. Class 4 is the highest any company can commercially raft in Canada.

Class 1 - moving water
Class 2 - straight forward rapids, wide channels, splashy waves
Class 3 - bigger rapids with bigger waves, more complex maneuvers
Class 4 - intense rapids, large waves, technical maneuvering

The finest mix of professionalism, organization, and fun that I’ve ever seen. Thrilling and laid back all at the same time!

Mattst7, Trip Advisor