White Water Rafting on the American River for Beginners

raft full of beginners white water rafting on the american river

People aren’t meant to be cooped up inside—especially when there’s so much out there to experience. Spending time in nature is good for the body and soul, and there’s plenty to do to keep yourself occupied. White water rafting in California is a particularly engaging outdoor activity that can provide fun, relaxation, and excitement at the same time. If you’re curious about white water rafting on the American River for beginners, keep reading for a brief introduction.

What You’ll Experience as a Beginner White Water Rafter

If you’ve never been white water rafting before, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Rafting can be a fun and fulfilling outdoor experience that both relaxes the mind and strengthens the body. Here are just a few of the reasons people enjoy white water rafting:

  • Relaxation: White water rafting isn’t always an adrenaline rush. You’ll probably start on calmer waters as a beginner; this gives you a chance to get used to the motions in a more relaxing setting. Get rid of your stress and soak in the sights and sounds of the water.
  • Exercise: At the same time, rafting can be a workout. The more challenging the course, the more intense the exercise stands to be. Rafting is especially good for your heart, lungs, and muscles.
  • Group Bonding: White water rafting is a team activity and an opportunity to bond with your friends, family, or coworkers.
  • All-Age Fun: Although rafting can get pretty extreme at higher levels, the easier runs are suitable for all ages. Keep that in mind when you plan your next family vacation!
  • Flexible Trips: Outings can be as short or long as you want, but group trips typically range from half a day to three days. Whether you have an afternoon or a long weekend to spare, you can fit a rafting trip into your schedule.
  • Outdoor Experience: Screens are practically everywhere in today’s society, and a rafting trip is a refreshing way to escape them. Nothing puts you more in touch with nature than rafting through its waters.

Even if it doesn’t seem like your kind of thing on paper, you might be surprised at how much you enjoy white water rafting with the right group of people. It’s a great way to bond with your friends, family, or coworkers while enjoying the outdoors.

Tips on What to Bring for Beginner Rafters

Going into your first white water rafting trip prepared lets you make the most of your adventure. First, know what to wear:

  • Bathing Suit: You’re probably going to get wet, so wear a bathing suit when you go rafting. Bring dry clothes to change into and a bag for your wet clothes.
  • Footwear: Sneakers are acceptable on the raft, but you might be more comfortable in water shoes or sandals with straps. Don’t forget to break in your shoes before the trip!
  • Hat: Naturally you’ll be exposed to the elements while you’re rafting, so consider wearing a hat or visor to keep the sun out of your eyes and off of your face.
  • Gloves: Are you prone to blisters? Do you have achy hands? Wear gloves for a better and more comfortable grip on the paddles while you raft.

If you’re planning your trip during the spring, do a little extra preparation to stay comfortable in the cold. Be sure to bring:

  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Warm Hat
  • Layers of clothing or a wetsuit (wetsuits are provided with us)

The right on-board supplies will keep you in top shape during a long trip:

  • Water Bottles
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen

Now that you know what to wear and what to bring, you’re almost ready to embark on your first white water rafting trip! However, you still need to find the right place to start. If your group is full of beginners, you’ll need to find a spot that everyone can handle.

Finding White Water Rafting on the American River for Beginners in California

Now that you know a bit about the benefits of white water rafting and how to prepare yourself, the next step is to book a trip. While experts might go for solo runs, beginner rafters should start with group trips to build up skill and confidence in the water. Going with a group can help you shake off the nerves, and you might build some lasting relationships while you’re at it.

Who Will Be on My First Rafting Trip

White water rafting groups can be made up of all different kinds of people. Water rafting can be a fulfilling shared experience for:
• Families and Friends • Church Groups • Corporate Team-Building Exercises • Scout Trips • School Field Trips
A white water rafting group can be made up of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Rafting is a physical, social exercise that strengthens bonds and helps people connect on a different level, so it’s the perfect type of activity for any of these groups.

What River Difficulty Rating Beginners Should Look For

White water rafting difficulty is measured by classes, and class levels range from I to VI—although the highest-class rivers are too dangerous for even skilled rafters to take on. Know what kind of waters you’re traversing so you can stay safe while you learn the ropes.
Different stretches of the same river can make for very different rafting experiences. Experts can jump into most of these classes and hold their own, but beginners have to be a bit more careful when planning their outings.
First-time white water rafters can be as young as four years old, with younger ages attempting rivers with lower difficulty classes. The South Fork American River is an excellent starter spot for beginner rafters.

The Only Thing Left to Do? Book Your Trip!

A good first impression goes a long way, so make your first white water rafting trip one to remember by planning ahead. We can set you up with the best river rafting on the American River for beginners, and we’ll guide you through it the whole way.

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