Whether you’ve never been whitewater rafting before or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s one thing you should always know before you head out on any river: its class of rapids. In the United States, we use something called the international scale of river difficulty, which ranks rapids in classes that range from I to VI, with I being the easiest and VI being the most difficult. Very rarely does a river have the same class from start to finish, so rather than asking “what class rapids is the Snake River?”, it’s better to find out the class of the stretch you’ll be traversing.
Snake River Whitewater Rafting Class
The stretch of the Snake River we use for our whitewater rafting river trips is classified as Class II and Class III. This means it’s ideal for rafters of all ages and experience levels, particularly when you are accompanied by experienced guides like those at JHWW. We know the river well and we have the safety record to show for it.
There are times when the Snake River’s scale of difficulty changes. While it is typically ranked as Class II and Class III, this is assuming normal river flow. After particularly strong storms and in the spring, when snow is melting upstream, there are sections of the river that can be classified as Class IV rapids.
Class IV rapids are considered to be for advanced whitewater rafters only. We take this into consideration when booking trips on the river during these times.
Other Frequently Asked Questions About Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting
Now that you understand the Snake River’s rating on the scale of difficulty, here are some answers to other questions our guests often have about whitewater rafting in Jackson Hole.
How dangerous is whitewater rafting?
Whitewater rafting can vary from exceptionally safe to extremely dangerous, all depending on the class of the rapids. Class I rapids simply involve water with a strong current and small waves, while Class VI rapids are so dangerous that they’re generally considered unrunnable or impossible. It’s important to have respect for the river and understand its power—and know your own abilities. It’s very easy to get into a dangerous situation if you take on a higher class of rapids than you have the skills to navigate.
Where is the best place for whitewater rafting on the Snake River?
For beginners and intermediate rafters, we think the 8-mile stretch of the Snake River that we use for our whitewater rafting trips is the best there is. You’ll be able to raft on the famous Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna rapids, but the trip is safe for rafters of all ages and experience levels.
Is whitewater rafting on the Snake River scary?
We like to think of whitewater rafting as exhilarating, not scary! You’ll get an adrenaline rush for sure, but you probably won’t be scared. Even if you go into the experience feeling nervous about the prospect of whitewater rafting, our skilled guides will quickly put you at ease and help you feel more confident in your ability to navigate the rapids with your fellow rafters.
Can I go whitewater rafting if I don’t know how to swim?
No, you should know how to swim if you go whitewater rafting—it’s extremely important to be able to swim if you fall out of your boat. For non-swimmers, we recommend a scenic float trip, which explores calmer stretches of the Snake River.
Learn More About Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River
If you’d like to learn more about whitewater rafting in Jackson Hole, contact us today at 1-800-700-7238 or book your trip online.
Jackson Hole Whitewater
945 West Broadway, Jackson, WY
Permittee of the Bridger-Teton National Forest