Classes of Rapids

When selecting a rafting trip you will want to consider a few important factors such as the age of participants in your group and your previous whitewater rafting experience. You will also need to decide what level of rapids you would like to raft on. Whitewater rapids are categorized into 5 classes. Choosing the right class of rapids for you or your group can ensure that everyone will safely enjoy the trip.

Class I Rapids (Beginner)

Class I rapids consist of quick moving waters with little or no interference. The few obstacles that can be present are easily avoidable with little or no skill and experience. This class is ideal for families with young children.

Class II Rapids (Novice)

Class II rapids are slightly more advanced. Some paddling can be necessary to move around rocks and medium sized waves. These obstacles can be avoided by trained paddlers.

Excursions: Upper Colorado

Class III Rapids (Intermediate)

Class III rapids contain moderate waves which can be more difficult to avoid. Maneuvering is more complex and can be required in fast current or around ledges. Previous rafting skills can be useful in avoiding these obstacles.

Excursions: Lower Eagle, Glenwood Canyon (Shoshone), Browns Canyon (Class III+).

Class IV Rapids (Advanced)

Class IV rapids involve intense waves and powerful currents. Precise boat handling and paddling is required.  Depending on the river, Class IV rapids can feature unavoidable holes and waves and may also include dangerous hazards. Previous rafting skills and experience sometimes required.

Excursions: Middle Eagle, Numbers, Dowd Chute (IV+).

Class V Rapids (Expert)

Class V rapids are more dangerous and expose the passengers to more risk.  They can contain long, violent waves and complex maneuvering. Rapids can continue for extended periods of time requiring paddlers to be of good physical fitness. Also extensive experience and proper equipment is essential for running a Class V rapid.

Excursions: Pine Creek, Gore Canyon (V+).