Rivers and the individual rapids on rivers are rated on a scale of difficulty from Class I to Class VI.

Class I
– Easy. Moving water with no significant waves or obstacles.
Class II – Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels. Rapids are regular, and occasional maneuvering may be required.
Class III – Irregular waves and narrow channels. Maneuvering is often required.
Class IV – Intense, powerful rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Quick and complex maneuvering is often needed.
Class V – Extremely long, obstructed, and very violent rapids. Drops are large with unavoidable waves making maneuvering very difficult, and moves must be precise.
Class VI – Virtually impassable. Extreme difficulty, unpredictability and danger. Consequences of errors are severe.

What can change a river’s classification?

The rivers we run vary in difficulty depending on river flow. In general spring snowmelt brings higher water and higher levels of difficulty; as water levels recede throughout the summer, our rivers generally become slightly less difficult. Most rivers are a combination of the classifications and vary with fluctuating water levels. The classification system does not take into account the type of boat being paddled. Some sections of a river may present particular challenges for rafts, while others may be more difficult for a kayaker or paddleboarder. Rivers are a natural force and conditions are subject to change at anytime such as during major events like landslides, ice storms or floods.  Luckily Mother Nature is forgiving enough that we don’t typically experience those events, allowing us to enjoy the natural beauty of the river. Guests can always contact us to check current river conditions and inquire about what trip is appropriate for everyone in your party.