Kicking Horse Rafting – It’s a Life of Adventure
We live to be outside. We live to be exploring and playing and appreciating the outdoors. Rafting the Kicking Horse River allows us to do this, and it allows us to share our beautiful playground with you.
Being outside gives us a feeling of calm. It makes us happy and appreciative and it doesn't even matter what we're doing. Walking through the forest, laying in the sun, standing in the breeze or getting our feet wet in the river. This is when we're the most fulfilled.
We think everyone should spend more time outside and that you'll feel this connection too. Take some time away from the busyness of each day to slow down and notice the environment around you.
The connection to something much bigger than ourselves gives us a lot of perspective. Even in the craziest moments, it gives us the, 'ya, everything is going to be okay' feeling.
It's our planet that sustains us and now more than ever we need people to feel the connection. We only get one home and it's our responsibility - all our responsibilities - to do what we can to protect it.
We do our best to have a minimal impact and treading lightly on the environment is important to us.
We know we're fortunate to live where we do. We love how we feel when we spend time outside, and we want you to have that feeling too.
Rafting the Kicking Horse River is spectacular. We appreciate it, respect it and celebrate it, and we hope you'll get the chance to come experience it for yourself.
We were both drawn to Golden by our love of the mountains. Coming at different times and at different stages of our lives, it was our love of the outdoors that drew us to this place.
We both came with the intention of spending one winter season. It seems like that's the intention of a lot of people who come to Golden, and as is true for most of them, we're still here.
It didn't take long to realize summer in Golden is as amazing as the winter, and that was it.
Ryan signed up for a raft guide course during his first summer in Golden. 2002 was his inaugural year rafting on the Kicking Horse, and in 2009 Glacier went up for sale.
We purchased Glacier in 2010 and it’s now over ten years that Glacier has been our baby.
The thought process was, 'If you know how to row guests down the river, you know how to run a rafting company, right?'
Well, we didn't quite have it right, but our determination and willingness to learn (A LOT!) has made this a journey we're very proud of.
We're active members of the Kicking Horse River Outfitters Association (KHROA), the British Columbia Rivers Outfitters Association (BCROA), and Ryan is a certified BCROA Guide Examiner.
Ryan is one of the most experienced raft guides in Golden and he possesses a wealth of knowledge on our river. He has rafted tens of thousands of guests down the Kicking Horse, as well as several other rivers in B.C.
Carmen keeps everything running behind the scenes, and loves learning and implementing to make our operation better.
As with anything in life you can never predict the future. Random events, crossing of paths, leaps of faith and opportunities capitalized on. This is what set us on this course.
It has been challenging and we’ve faced many obstacles. Neither of us has business education, but we've always let our integrity and morals lead the way. We care about our staff and our guests and always doing what's right for both.
Our learning is ongoing and we have plenty of ideas that are energizing our passion. We're grateful for what we're doing.
It’s funny where you end up when you let life take you. Being able to ‘Live an Adventure’ is what we hope for you, and it’s what we’ve chosen for ourselves too.
Come be part of our adventure!
Carmen and Ryan
Glacier is Golden's original rafting company, operating on the Kicking Horse since 1982.
In 1982 a guy named Geoff Freer came north from Montana. A raft guide for many years, Geoff knew of the Kicking Horse but had never paddled it.
The river was largely unknown to the rafting world at that time, but Geoff knew this was a special place. He started bringing a couple American guides north with him on weekends. Hauling their own rafts and gear, this was the beginning of it all.
The company Geoff worked for in Montana was Glacier Raft Company. Hence our name, as the new sister company. This was the start of Glacier Raft Company in Canada, and commercial rafting on the Kicking Horse River from Golden, BC.
Glacier Raft Company in Montana still exists. While we no longer have any ties to their operation, our stories intertwined for many years.
Geoff operated Glacier until 1993, when it was purchased by long time Golden residents, the Murphy Family.
The Murphy's ran Glacier until 2010 and that's where our current story begins (see above).
Many changes have occurred over the years. Guests used to raft the 3 degree water with no wetsuits or helmets. Old rafts weren't self bailing, either, so someone would have to sit up front with a bucket and bail out all the water the raft took on. Yep - river rafting was definitely more cowboy back in the day.
Improving our river program was one thing, and our business has changed a lot too.
With loss of road access to the famous Lower Canyon (one of the best stretches of whitewater on the river), we pioneered heli rafting in 2016. Combining amazing rafting and a heli flight to get there created a very unique opportunity. There's no experience like this anywhere else in the area.
Our rafting base moved from an old warehouse in downtown Golden, to our current location in 2017. This move marked a major shift, as we acquired Wet n Wild Adventures and the former McLaren Lodge.
Wet n Wild was another long time Kicking Horse River rafting outfitter based out of Golden. With their owners looking to retire, we saw this as a great opportunity to grow our business. We now have a beautiful property with lots of gardens and green space for you to enjoy.
We renovated and renamed the lodge in 2018, and Whitewater Lodge was born. The lodge is a 10 room B&B, located at our property on the edge of Golden. A quiet retreat, our rooms are available to book in the summer.
2019 was another big milestone year, as Glacier acquired Alpine Rafting. Alpine was a well established rafting business, as they'd been operating on the Kicking Horse for almost as long as us. The acquisition of Wet and Wild and Alpine positioned Glacier as the exclusive rafting outfitter in Golden.
Going from being one of three, to the sole rafting trip provider, was a big move for us. We've taken the best of all three companies and now operate as one.
Even though things have evolved, the important stuff has always stayed the same.
We're a small, local, family run business. We value safety as our priority, while making sure you have as much fun as possible. At Glacier we know it’s the little things that make a big difference, and we continue to value you - every guest who joins us.
We strive to exceed your expectations and share with you our beautiful home, as we want you to have an experience you'll keep reliving for a long time after you leave.
Whether it’s your first time or you make an annual appearance, we will welcome you into our rafting family. We love what we do and want to share it with you.
One of our guests loved his trip so much, he made a video of his Kicking Horse rafting experience. See him and his friends having a wonderful day in Golden.
Kicking Horse Rafting Video - Courtesy of a Guest
With over 1500 five star reviews, you can also get a real sense of what people love about us. Here is a small sneak peak.
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book a rafting trip and we'll plant a tree
We've built our lives and our rafting business around our love for the outdoors. We care about the planet and creating a business that gives back. Together with One Tree Planted, we plant one tree for every booking made to raft the Kicking Horse River.
Learn more about One Tree Planted and why we've made this commitment.