Planning a rafting trip with family and friends can be a big deal. There are lots of factors to consider including what to bring, is whitewater rafting a safe thing to do, and what the day will be like - do you have questions about our raft trips? Most people do!

Check out the answers to some of our most common frequently asked questions and make sure you are ready for an awesome day of rafting on the Kicking Horse River in Golden BC!

Q. Do I need experience to come rafting?

No, a lot of our guests are first time rafters and all of our trips are suitable for guests with no rafting experience. Because the Kicking Horse River has everything from calm water to big class 4 whitewater, there’s a trip for everyone, whether you are young or old, in shape or not!

At the beginning of the day, prior to the trip, our guides will take you through procedures and a thorough safety demonstration so everyone has a solid understanding of what to expect.

There is a highly trained raft guide in every boat and they'll let you know exactly what you need to do throughout the day.

Our trips start off with the calmest section of the river so you can gradually get used to paddling and being on the river before hitting the bigger rapids with confidence.

Rafting the Kicking Horse River with Glacier Raft Company

Getting the morning safety briefing before putting on the water

Q. is rafting a safe thing to do - how often do rafts flip/people fall out?

Yes, rafting is a safe activity and 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.

Safety is always our number one priority, and to read more about our commitment to safety have a look at our Safety page.

Kids laughing on the river.

Having a great time on our Family Adventure trip

Q. Do i need to know how to swim?

Knowing how to swim is recommended, but it's not mandatory.

Our guides provide thorough training on how to hold on and stay in the raft, but if you're not a strong swimmer it is important to let your guide know so they can position you in the raft accordingly.

Everyone also wears a high float life jacket so if someone was to fall in they would stay well above the surface until pulled back into the raft.

Q. What equipment do you provide?

We provide all the equipment and clothing you will need for your trip. This includes wetsuits, neoprene jackets, splash tops, fleece sweaters, neoprene boots, socks, mitts/gloves, helmets, life jackets, and paddles.

On a cooler day you can take all of the layers to really bundle up, but on a hot summer day most guests will be fine in just the wetsuit.

Glacier Raft Company in Golden, BC

Glacier guests bundled up in wetsuits, neoprene tops, fleece sweaters and splash tops

Q. What should I bring?

All you need to bring is a swimsuit and towel, and we also recommend bringing sunglasses and sunscreen for hot sunny days. We sell sunglasses if you forget yours or prefer not to use them, as well as straps to attach your sunglasses to decrease the chance of losing them in the river.

If you have any medications you'll need throughout the day (e.g. EpiPen, asthma inhaler, insulin etc.) please bring them along, as well. Your guide will have a dry bag on your raft to keep them safe.

We have large separate men’s and women’s change rooms on site which include bathrooms and hot showers. There’s lots of time to change before your trip starts and upon your return so there's no need to rush.

Rafting with Glacier Raft Company in Golden BC

Rocking the snazzy blue and yellow shades we have available to purchase

Q. I’m really nervous. Should I still try whitewater rafting?

Yes, definitely! There are many guests who join us each day who are very nervous about their trip. It’s a completely natural feeling to have. Our guides are very experienced and understand that many people are scared about being on a river. They take great care to put you at ease and make you feel comfortable so you can enjoy the day.

Our day starts with the calmest section of the river first. This allows you time to get used to being on the water and paddling with no rapids. If you’re feeling comfortable and having fun you can continue on to the middle section of the river with the bigger whitewater.

This is a great thing about the Kicking Horse River and it provides a lot of flexibility to see how you're feeling on the day with the option to upgrade while you're out on the water if you want to.

The Glacier team can attest to the fact that the guests who are the most nervous at the beginning of the day end up having the most fun, and often return to our base with the biggest smiles.

Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River

Rafting the calmer, upper canyon of the Kicking Horse to get a taste of whitewater rafting

Q. What if it rains?

Rafting is a great activity to do on a rainy day - you're going to be getting wet anyways!

If you're planning to go hiking or sightseeing while you're in Golden it's nice to have sunny days for the alpine views, but a drizzly day on the river isn't so much of a downer. Once you're on the river you can't even tell which direction the water is coming from!

Because we run our trips rain or shine, we do not allow guests to change their trip date due to weather.

Q. Will it be cold?

The Kicking Horse river is glacial fed so it's roughly 3-4 °C year round. If it’s a cooler day or you get cold easily, we have lots of layers to keep you warm.

We provide layers other companies don't so you can really bundle up. You can take a wetsuit, neoprene jacket, fleece sweater, splash jacket, neoprene socks, mitts and boots. If you're someone who gets really cold you could also put a merino wool layer underneath your wetsuit, but most people will be fine without this.

If you do want to wear a layer underneath your wetsuit make sure it's not cotton. Cotton strips your body of its heat when it gets wet.

On hot, summer days you will be fine with less layers and many of our guests will go for a refreshing dip at the designated swimming spots along the river.

Swimming in the Kicking Horse River with Glacier Raft Company

Going for a swim in the Kicking Horse. On hot, sunny days most guests are fine in just the wetsuit.

Q. What’s for lunch?

We serve a delicious BBQ lunch at the riverside midday. You have the choice of steak, chicken breast, fish, a hamburger, veggie burger, or smokie (big hot dog).

In addition to this there's a buffet of salads (caesar, green, potato and bean), soup, chips, veggies and dip, fruit, and cookies. Hot and cold beverages are also served. There’s a reason that lunch is a highlight of the day for many of our guests!

We are also happy to prepare a gluten free or vegan lunch - just let us know when you book!

Riverside BBQ with Glacier Raft Company

Enjoying the riverside BBQ lunch - lots of options for everyone!

Q. Do you have a photographer to take photos/video?

We have a professional photographer who will take photos throughout the day. They capture you at different spots along the river and will also be at our lunch spot to grab some shots of you and your group.

Our guides are also outfitted with GoPro cameras to capture video throughout your trip, and they'll put the camera on the front and back of the raft to capture different vantage points.

We are the only company on the Kicking Horse with a professional photographer and who offers HD video of our rafting trips everyday!

You can view the photos and video from your raft at the end of your trip back at our base. USB sticks or an online link of all the media from your day will be available for purchase.

Whitewater rafting with Glacier Raft Company

Q. Can we bring cameras and other personal belongings in the raft?

We don’t recommend people bring anything with them on the river. There is always a chance things could get lost, damaged or wet, and there’s very little time to take pictures as you'll be required to paddle throughout the day.

If you really want to bring a camera make sure it's waterproof and that it has a little strap to attach to your life jacket. You cannot wear one of the waterproof camera dry bags that hangs around your neck, as it poses a safety risk.

We often get asked by guests if they can bring their own GoPro on the trip. You sure can and we do have helmets with GoPro mounts available, however, it is at your own risk. There is always a chance the camera could get broken or knocked off and many cameras have been lost in the river. We think it’s safer to leave the filming and photos to us.

The only personal belongings that should be brought on the raft is any medication you may need such as an asthma inhaler or epi pen. Please let your guide know as they have small dry bags to keep these items safe for you.

Kicking Horse River with Glacier Raft Company

Q. 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 in B.C.)
Class 6: No go (think Niagara Falls)

The Kicking Horse River has 3 Sections: The Upper, Middle & Lower Canyons.
Upper Canyon - Mostly class 1 and 2 with a couple class 3 rapids, as well
Middle Canyon - Continuous class 2-3 and a 1 km section of class 4 (more class 4 at high water)
Lower Canyon - 4 km of continuous class 4 followed by class 2-3 rapids and a class 1-2 float into Golden

We offer five different trips on the Kicking Horse that are made up of the different sections described above. To see an overview of the trip options head to our Overview Page or use our Trip Selector to help narrow down the best option for you.

Whitewater Rafting with Glacier Raft Company in Golden, BC

Q. When does your season start and end?

We start rafting May long weekend and run trips through until mid-September.

We only raft on weekends in May and then start running everyday June 1st, provided we have met minimum numbers for the trip to safely go ahead, and that the water level of the river is safe for rafting.

Q. How far in advance should I book?

If you are planning to come midweek, it’s usually fine to book a few days prior to your selected trip date. It is however best to book as soon as you know your preferred date so we can guarantee we still have spots available - this is especially true in July and August.

Weekends are the busiest time and tend to book up quickly. If you are planning to book a trip on the weekend, or have a large group, we recommend booking as soon as you have your plans confirmed.

Family reunion and wedding group rafting in Golden BC

Rafting is a great activity for weddings, family reunions or big gatherings


If you don't see what you're looking for here, we do have more answers on the FAQ page on our website.

If you have other questions or need help planning your trip, the Glacier team is here to help. Feel free to call the office at 1 877 344 7283 or send us an email to We are always happy to answer your questions and help plan your rafting adventure.

You can check out our contact page to get in touch and we look forward to greeting new and old friends this upcoming season!

Cheers from all of us here at Glacier