When it comes to thrilling outdoor activities, whitewater rafting is one of the most popular ones. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in nature and get an adrenaline high. To make sure you thoroughly enjoy this experience, it’s best to understand how the types of water are classified and choose the one that suits your skill level the best.

Classifications of Water

Much like any other outdoor activity, there are different levels of difficulty in white water rafting, and it all comes down to the water. The American Whitewater Association has defined six classes in the International Scale of River Difficulty. Although not every single river will fit perfectly into a specific category, it is a good guideline. Certain factors like downed trees, floods, and water level can impact river difficulty. If you’re considering going for a great river adventure, check out this info before you pick your river.

Whitewater rapids in ColoradoClass 1 – Easy

This class requires basic rafting skill level. Small rapids and waves will be present. Obstructions will be few, but with a little training, they can go unnoticed.

Class 2 – Novice

This requires basic skills combined with some paddling experience. Medium-sized waves can make the water a little rough. Along the ride, you’ll find rocks, which will require some maneuvering. Rapids that hit the top of this class are called Class II+ rapids.

Class 3 – Intermediate

This requires some rafting experience. Although class 3 rivers are not considered dangerous, they do have moderate and irregular waves and require significant maneuvering. It is unlikely that injuries while swimming happen and if needed, self-rescue is not too complicated, however, it’s best for the group to assist.

Whitewater classificationClass 4 – Advanced

This type of river requires exceptional rafting experience. You will find medium waves and a considerable drop. Group assistance will be necessary for rescue, as self-rescue can be complicated.

Class 5 – Expert

Superior rafting proficiency is a must, as well as solid rescue skills backed up with experience, and proper equipment. Rapids are very long, violent and possess excessive amounts of obstacles, which significantly increase risk.

Class 6 – Extreme

Highly unpredictable and dangerous due to the level of difficulty. Only appropriate for experts, and it can even be unsafe for those with that grade of experience.

West Coast Vs. East Coast Rivers

Rivers are not all the same. East Coast rivers have more boulders and rocks to navigate, which is why they require more technical expertise than West Coast rivers, while the west has steeper descents and higher water volume.

Colorado is a great location to explore when you’re looking for good rivers with fantastic scenery on the West Coast. Come to Mile Hi Rafting to experience the rush of an unforgettable adventure like whitewater rafting. Contact us for more information or book your next adventure now!

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