Is white water rafting scary? It depends in large part on the rapids. Rapids rated class 1 are little more than moving water, probably not too exciting. With class 2 rapids there are splashy waves. Class 4? Well the waves are big, the rapids intense and you probably have to be at least 12 years old to go rafting on them. Kids as young as 6 years can go rafting on class 2 rapids on the Athabasca River though.
Many rafting companies provide helpful information on their websites (often under the heading FAQs). Don’t leave your booking to the last moment or you may be disappointed.
Kicking Horse River
When my daughter was 12 and son 15, my husband and I took them on a full-day rafting trip on the Kicking Horse River near Golden, B.C. and it was the highlight of their cross-Canada road trip. The rafting company promised an “adrenaline filled” experience through class 4 rapids with names such as Shotgun and Roller Coaster, and indeed it was.
Where my daughter was seated changed with the grade of the rapids. I was in the back, struggling to hold on to the ropes as well as my paddle, and hated it. The husband, son and daughter were thrilled. They all loved it.
Kicking Horse River is glacial fed so the water is 3-4°C year round. Equipment such as wetsuits, splash tops, fleeces, neoprene boots, helmets and life jackets should be provided.
Last summer my 7-year-old grandson and his dad went white water rafting on the Athabasca River outside Jasper. The trip began at the base of the Athabasca Falls and the canyon scenery is stunning.
The time on the water was 1.5 hours and the distance covered about 9 km. It was a nice mix of “splashy” grade 2 rapids and calm waters.
The water is very cold so if your child hates getting splashed talk to the guide about where s/he should sit. All children should have a paddle because that’s the fun! The rafting company should provide all the necessary equipment.
See the ever growing Bucket List for Kids in Canada
By Sylvia Fanjoy
Photo credits Sylvia Fanjoy
© Riding the buses 2015