It’s a Tuesday morning in August. I arrive at the office, hot mug of tea in hand and before I can even sit down the phone rings. I look outside and see the grey skies and drizzle. Before I pick up the receiver, I know what the question is going to be.

“Hi there, our family's booked for a rafting trip this morning and I can see it’s raining outside. Will our trip still be going ahead?”

This won’t be the only call we get today. It will repeat throughout the morning and we know people are genuinely interested. Can you go rafting in the rain?

Short answer, YES! Long answer, read on.


A river guide smiling with his guests while rafting in the rain.

This is how we feel about rafting in the rain. Huge smiles and big thumbs up.


Rain can be a hindrance to many outdoor activities. Have a camping trip planned or happen to be getting married? Stay away rain! Dinner on a patio, a child’s birthday party at the park or an outdoor summer festival. All times we keep our fingers crossed for clear skies.

Luckily, though, rafting doesn’t fit this bill. Rafting is the BEST activity for a rainy day and here are 5 reasons why. Rafting in the rain - there’s no better way to spend your day!!

Wondering about thunderstorms? Scroll to the bottom as we cover this there.

5 Reason Rafting in the Rain is the Perfect Way to Spend a Dreary Day


1. You’re going to be getting wet anyways


Big splashes while rafting the Kicking Horse River on a rainy day

Come rafting in the rain, you'll be getting wet anyways!


Rafting in the rain is the perfect summer activity because you’re going to get wet anyways!

We always tell people once you’re out on the river, you honestly can’t even tell which way the water is coming from. It could be from above, but it’s also just as likely splash from a rapid.

The Kicking Horse is a big whitewater river, with lots of continuous rapids. Continuous rapids means lots of splashes. All. Day. Long.

Nothing makes you feel more alive than water hitting you from all directions, and one of the best days we had last summer was rafting in a torrential rain storm. The hooting and hollering from all our guides and guests was so invigorating to watch. Even through the video, you could feel the energy and excitement of the moment.

If you’re booked on the Family Adventure Trip which isn’t as adventurous, rafting in the rain is still fun. There are some splashes, you have the chance to go for a swim, and you’ll walk to a waterfall where you can dunk your head and take a drink. All activities where you’ll be getting wet anyways!

It’s the perfect opportunity for your kids to splash around and play in the rain, without needing to worry about if they have a change of clothes (see point #2 below). It’s the ultimate version of splashing in puddles, which in our experience kids LOVE to do.

Our guides are amazing at keeping the little ones entertained, and rainy days are no exception.


2. You’re already dressed for it - we provide all the water gear you need


A group smiling and giving thumbs up after rafting the Kicking Horse River in the rain

We'll bundle you up with everything you see here plus more! You can fit a neoprene jacket and fleece sweater under the blue splash tops if you wish.


We know trying to dry out a bunch of wet gear when you’re on the road is a huge pain. There’s no need to worry about getting your clothes or shoes wet, though, as we provide all the rafting gear you’ll need for the day.

Before leaving our rafting base to head to the Kicking Horse River, you’ll get into a wetsuit and neoprene boots, as well as any of the extra layers you want.

If the cloudy skies are keeping the sun's warmth away, you have the option to grab a neoprene jacket, fleece sweater and splash jacket. We’ll actually encourage you to do so! We show you all the gear and how to wear it in our introductory talk and then you’re free to bundle up as much as you’d like.

We have neoprene socks and mitts, as well, and your life jacket adds another thick insulating layer.

You may feel like a bit of a sausage in all your layers - or a super hero if you’re into it - but that’s what we’re going for!

Neoprene is meant to get wet, and it’s our job to provide the splash, so it’s a win win. At the end of the day you can leave us with a huge pile of soggy gear and we’ll take it from there. We’ll be cleaning and drying all the gear either way, so whether it's a rainy day or not makes no difference.

You’ll get into your dry clothes and head on your way to the next adventure.


3. Save a sunny day for when you want the big views - The scenery on the river is still beautiful


Two boats rafting down the Kicking Horse River on a grey drizzly day.

The scenery on the river is different on a grey day, but it's just as beautiful


One of our favourite sights every summer is mist rising off the river on a dreary day. Believe it or not, rain water is warmer than the river water itself, so mist forms as this warmer water encounters the cooler surface below. It’s stunning and it’s a good reminder that beauty exists in situations you may not expect.

The scenery on the river on a rainy day is different than a sunny one, but it’s just as beautiful.

The green conifers British Columbia is known for, shrouded in mist. The tops of firs and pines peaking through the low sitting cloud cover. This is one of our favourite things, so much so, we have this photo hanging at our rafting base.


Conifers peaking through the clouds on a rainy day by the Kicking Horse River

Trees poking through the mist on a rainy day is one of our favourite sights!


There’s the mist, the richness of the air, and the rejuvenating feel of raindrops on your face.

We know you’re in BC and want to see the big snow covered peaks the Rockies are known for. We get it! The chances of having rain everyday are slim, so save the sunny days for a hike or venture into the alpine.

Raft with us in the valley when they’re shrouded in cloud, and get up high when the sun pokes back out.

It’s the best of both worlds and a win-win in our opinion.


4. River levels can come up


Boat crashing through big rapid on the Kicking Horse River

Rain helps bring river levels up. The browner the water, the higher water which means bigger whitewater and more rapids.


We talk a lot about high water, and how some of the best rafting we see all summer occurs in the high water season. More water means bigger whitewater and more rapids, and that’s what we’re going for.

The Kicking Horse is glacial fed which means river levels are controlled by the weather. Warming temperatures bring down the snow and ice. Hot days mean more melt. Another factor that will bring the river up? Rain!

Rain is our friend when it comes to putting water in the river. If it’s torrential rain it can be the rain itself, but more so it’s the melt it causes. It fills the tributaries that feed the Kicking Horse and this water pouring down causes it to rise.

Warm rain in peak summer when most (or all) of the snow is already gone contributes a lot to river levels. Rain melts the glaciers and for this we say thank you Mother Nature! Keep our river flowing.

If you’re wondering about river levels and how they change throughout the summer, take a look at our Kicking Horse River rafting page.

For a quick summary: the river generally starts to rise early in the season as things warm up and the snow begins to melt. We reach peak water flows in June and early July, where the water can hold depending on temperature and rain. We then see a gradual decline happen as we near the end of summer. Rain is particularly helpful as we start this decline, as it can hold the river where it's at.


Raft guide giving thumbs up on Kicking Horse River

Smiles and a big thumbs up for an awesome day of rainy rafting.


5. You'll See more waterfalls

When I was 20 I worked my way around New Zealand with my best friend. We spent months planting leeks and bud rubbing on vineyards (it helps the grapes I think, you can look it up) to save enough to make our way around the country. We were particularly excited about a boat cruise we booked in Fiordland National Park. We’d seen the photos and knew in our minds exactly how we wanted it to be.

We woke up in the morning we were to set sail and it was pouring rain - we were PISSED. We got on the boat in our cranky pants, convinced the experience was ruined and that we’d wasted our hard earned bud-rubbing money.

Shortly after our boat left the harbour the captain's voice came over the speakers. He welcomed us to Fiordland, told us a bit about the area and then said how lucky we were to be sailing through the fiords in the rain. Normally you see 4 or 5 waterfalls, he said, and today you’ll see 10,000. 10,000 waterfalls!

This was 20 years ago, so it could be give or take a couple thousand, but the point is there were WAY more.

And that was the truth. It was one of the most beautiful things we’d ever seen. Water cascading down every rock face, plunging over all the cliffs. Endless water rushing into the sea.

This is a very long story to get to the point that sometimes our expectations of how an experience SHOULD be, messes us up from appreciating what actually is.

I wouldn’t change that day for anything and the same goes for the Kicking Horse. There’s way more water coming down the banks, pouring into the Kicking Horse, when water falls from the sky.

I’m not going to promise you 10,000 waterfalls, but it’s beautiful and peaceful and we love getting out on the river on rainy days for this reason alone.


What about thunderstorms?

Because we’re in the valley, weather systems tend to blow through very quickly. If there’s thunder and lightning we’ll delay a trip if we haven’t already left, or pull over to the side of the river if we’re already out there.

We’ll never raft while it’s thunder and lightning, but we’ve also never had to cancel a trip because of this. It tends to be over before you know it and then we’re on our merry way.


wrapping up - 5 Reasons to Go Rafting in the Rain

And there you have it. 5 reasons why rafting in the rain is a great way to spend a summer day. We hope this has helped convince you to come have some fun if you’re looking at the forecast and see rainy days ahead.

Another thing to note, though - whoever predicts the weather for this area does a really bad job. More often than not we never get the rain they forecast, or if we do, it lasts for a few minutes.

Sorry weather forecaster. We like you, just not your projections.

Don’t let the forecast dictate your plans cause you’ll let a whole lot of wonderful days pass you by. If you do want to wait until the last minute to see how things shape up, we happily take last minute bookings.

As long as we still have seats available (and this is no guarantee - especially in July and August) we can still get you booked in day of. Hop online and book your seats here, or give us a call at 1 877 344 7238.

You can see all the trips we offer by heading to our Trip Selector Tool here.

If you have any questions please get in touch. Leave us a comment below or reach out to

We hope to raft with you soon - rain or shine!