One of our experienced guides navigating a family through a class II & III stretch of white water on the Yellowstone River.

If you are planning a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park and want to add some excitement, whitewater rafting is the perfect fix. Most groups traveling to Yellowstone for the first time have the hopes of seeing it all. All the wildlife, scenic driving loops, popular destinations, and hikes, but for many of us; we find that it proves to be an impossible task, even in a lifetime. That’s why I encourage people to take a break from the constant driving and stopping to see all that Yellowstone has to offer and add some truly unique adventures to your trip. Although, there are many incredible adventures you can seek around the Greater Yellowstone area; I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about rafting the Yellowstone.

What to expect?

If you are thinking that whitewater rafting is foreign and intimidating, trust me you are not alone. For most people living close to a river that offers rafting is not common. So it is completely normal to feel nervous and even slightly intimidated. This is why the Yellowstone River is the perfect place to start. You will experience big volume class II & III whitewater. This means easily navigable, big splashes, and not a lot of rocks! This allows people to warm up to the sport by getting the thrill of whitewater rafting without feeling overwhelmed. Our guides are professionally trained and experts at making people feel safe on the river. What’s great about the Yellowstone is it offers different levels of excitement for all. It has mellow and scenic stretches, class II & III stretches for beginners and families, and big wave class III & IV whitewater through Yankee Jim Canyon.

If you are looking to do as little as possible and just put your feet up and relax, check out one of our scenic stretches. Our guides will take care of the work for you and keep you totally dry (if you choose to be) while you enjoy the views and wildlife along the way. This is a great trip if you are looking to take infants, elders or someone with a disability.

The ‘“Town Stretch” is our class II & III section of white water. It is an 8 mile section with whitewater and beautiful scenery the whole way. This is the perfect section for all levels of experience and a great way to warm up to the river. This is the stretch of river we take our most popular trip on, “The Classic Half Day.” Here you will definitely get wet. Our guides will get you geared up at the office and go over all safety concerns before you hop on the river. All of you will be given paddles and taught the paddle commands by your guide. You will be thrown into the rapids as soon as you push off the bank. For the first 3 miles it will be fast paced with not many breaks from the rapids. So be ready! The last 5 miles is intermittent scenic and whitewater. Make sure you ask your guide about the good swimming holes!

Yankee Jim Canyon is our Class III & IV section of whitewater. This section of whitewater can only be seen a couple months out of the year, typically in May and June when the river is at its highest due to run-off. This is roughly a 4 mile section of drop and pool whitewater through big granite canyon walls. It’s as beautiful as it gets, but be careful gazing at the canyon walls for too long or you’ll get a rude awakening through the rapids. There are four main rapids in the canyon. The first rapid is called “Revenge.” This is a long wave train where you can experience some serious splashes. The second rapid is called “Big Rock.” It is a big hole that crashes down on you, formed by you guessed it, a big rock. The next rapid is called “The Pinch. “ This is a random set of lateral crashing waves formed in the narrowest portion of the canyon. Once you make it through the pinch you will see the monster rapid called “Box car.” This rapid is often skirted as it is a notorious boat flipper. But, your hearts will be beating plenty fast just maneuvering around this giant. If you think you are up for the challenge; we raft through Yankee Jim Canyon on our Full-Day and Small Boat, Big Water trips.

In a nutshell, this is what you can expect if you are planning on rafting the Yellowstone with us. We provide all the gear, transportation and safety measures for the trip. So don’t worry about not being prepared, we will take care of everything. Come join us this summer!


Our guide Allie hitting Big Rock rapid last June in Yankee Jim Canyon.