Rangitikei River

White water rafting on the Rangitikei River on New Zealand’s North Island is as good as New Zealand rafting gets. The Rangitikei River is a wild, remote, free-flowing river with ample Grade (or Class) 4 and Grade 5 white water, with River Valley Lodge located a short distance downstream from the best of these rapids.

White water rafting at River Valley, one of our top activities, is different from most New Zealand rafting venues in that we typically have the river all to ourselves!

New Zealand Rafting History at River Valley Lodge

During the late 1970′s white water rafting was the cutting edge, new adventure activity. Starting in the USA, the pursuit of white water thrills spread to New Zealand.

About 1978, the Rangitikei River Grade 5 white water section was first run in a raft. One or two hardy adventurers had kayaked it previously in fibreglass kayaks, and over a space of several years a metal canoe had clanged it’s way down – portaging most of the rapids.

Commercial white water rafting trips started happening in the early 1980s, with River Valley running it’s first white water rafting trips in 1982. Brian Megaw, (with his wife Nicola Megaw – owners of River Valley), started guiding in 1986.

Brian has this to say about the change in standards, “Guides back then were keen rather than highly skilled, while early raft design often left a lot to be desired. Guides are now still keen, but standards in every other way are immeasurably higher!”

Grade 5 White Water Rafting on the Rangitikei River

credit -


This beautiful gorge section of the Rangitikei River lies upstream from River Valley Lodge.

This is a world class white water rafting run with famous rapids such as Max’s Drop, Fulcrum and Foamy. In fact there are 10 major Grade 4-5 rapids on this 12 km run, plus numerous smaller rapids.

It is no accident that this section of river is often labelled one of the best all round half day white water rafting trips in the world.

Happy rafter, Rangitikei River, White water rafting, North Island, New Zealand

What to Bring

Coming rafting with us and want to know what to bring. Simple. All you need is a towel, swimsuit, a little extra money for the cafe, and most important, a fun attitude! We supply the rest.

Rangitikei River Levels

Because the water levels vary so much during the year, (the Rangitikei is a free running river), our format changes with them.

Each evening, once we are confident of the following day’s flow, we choose the right size raft to give you the best ride the Rangitikei offers that day.

With international raft manufacturer Incept Marine based in our local town of Taihape, River Valley has often been at the forefront of trialling new designs. Presently we run 3 fleets of boats. Incept 4.6m self bailing rafts for high flows, Incept 3.8m self bailing rafts for medium to low flows, and Incept Inflatable kayaks, (Duckies), for the years when the river gets really low.

Daily Rafting Times

White water trips depart twice daily, with briefing times of 8.30am and between 1.00pm and 1.30pm, (12.30pm in winter). Allow for 3 hours on the water, 5 to 5 1/2 hours total. The season is all year round.


Talkeetna River

talkeetna_riverThe Talkeetna River is one of the best whitewater runs anywhere. With fourteen miles of almost continuous class III and IV rapids (Sluice Box), it is one of the longest whitewater stretches in North America. It is a multi day wilderness adventure that requires a rather inexpensive fly-in drop off and has many wildlife viewing opportunities. The seventy mile trip ends in the rustic town of Talkeetna.

Talkeetna River Water Levels:
1.0 Low (IV-), 3.0 Medium (IV), 4.5 High (IV+)


Pic - NOVA Alaska

Pic – NOVA Alaska

The Talkeetna Canyon begins about seven miles below Prairie Creek. As you approach the canyon, a few class III rapids are encountered shortly before the first major rapid, Entrance Exam. This rapid lies on river right at the beginning of the canyon. It is a good idea to be on the left side. Immediately following Entrance Exam, the canyon makes a hard right hand turn into a large pool. Stay on the right and pull over. Below the pool is the most difficult rapid on the river, Toilet Bowl (IV). This is an easy one to scout. The difficulties of the rapid are the two large boulders you must snake your way through. tbowl3(I got by the first one and climbed the second one, but didn’t flip.) The river then returns to class I and IIs for a couple of miles before you enter the Sluice Box. This is where the real action begins. Class III and IV rapids are encountered for over 10 miles with few breaks in between. At the medium level it was not difficult to stop along the shore and have lunch. However, while in the Sluice Box, the opportunity to scout rapids is small.  But the good advise beforehand, “stay left on blind left hand turns”.




Klamath River

Klamath_riverThe Klamath River flows through a wild, mountainous region of northern California. It was one of the first rivers in California to be designated as a “Wild & Scenic” river. Flowing undammed for over 180 miles, the Klamath is treasured for its wilderness, wildlife, secluded beaches, and – best of all – thrilling whitewater.


middle-klamathThe Middle Klamath is ideal for first-timers, families with young children, or river veterans looking for a relaxing vacation. A great summer float trip plus just enough whitewater to keep us cooled off and provide excitement for the children.



lowerklamathThe Lower Klamath has a full range of whitewater, from big waves to cascades into deep pools. There is plenty of time to swim, lie back and soak up the summer sun, or play in an inflatable kayak. On overnight trips we take everything with us on an extra raft and camp each evening on one of the many sandy beaches. After a delicious meal and stories by the campfire, we settle in for a quiet night under the stars. A highlight of the Lower Klamath trip is a hike to Ukonom Falls.

trinityThe Trinity is the Klamath’s largest tributary and forms the southern boundary to the rugged Trinity Alps Wilderness Area near Weaverville. With crystal clear water and numerous rapids, it is a welcome alternative to the crowded American River. A day or two of rafting on the Trinity is the perfect complement to exploring the backcountry and old mining towns between Redding and Eureka.


1 to 5 day trips | Class 3 | Ages 6 & up
Wilderness canyons | Secluded beaches
Bald eagles, osprey, otters, deer, turtles
Hiking to Ukonom Falls

1 & 2 day trips | Class 2+ | Ages 4 & up
Mild whitewater | Summer blackberries
Swimming | Camping | Exploring

1 & 2 day trips near historic Weaverville
Great inflatable kayaking
Class 3 | Ages 7 & up


Scott River

Section of river: The Scott begins in the spectacular Marble Mountains and flows through the Scott Valley before dropping into a forested canyon full of rapids
Difficulty: Class V
Length: 10.2 miles
Season: Spring (April, May, June)
Best rapids: Boulder Creek Falls, White House, Tompkins Creek Falls, and Schuler Gulch


scott_river_imageThe Scott River meanders through the wide farmlands of the Scott Valley before descending into a canyon carved along the eastern edge of the Marble Mountains.

In this granite-walled canyon, the Scott becomes whitewater. Many rivers have a stretch of flatwater to warm up on…not this one! At the end of the first pool, it begins immediately with miles of Class III and IV rapids, fast and furious. As the canyon deepens the river intensifies and for the next few miles we scout and run a series of Class IV and V drops and boulder gardens.

One of California’s most scenic and exhilarating rivers, running undammed for its entire length, the Scott offers some of the finest spring whitewater rafting in the state.



Zanskar River

zanskar_river_canyonZanskar River (India):  The trip begins with a flight over the Himalayas into the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

We spend a few days in Leh town acclimatizing at 11,000 feet above sea level and visiting the ancient monasteries, palaces and villages around Leh. We drive west of Leh past the town of Kargil and travel south into the valley of Zanskar, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth.







zanskar-rafting1Staring the trip on the Doda river, we begin our self contained multi-day river adventure down the spectacular and scenic Zanskar river gorge. The trip takes you down the extremely desolate, remote and sheer Zanskar gorge with walls rising a few thousand feet out of the river bed, culminating on the mighty Indus river, (which incidentally lends India its name) at the historic monastic conclave at Alchi. Undoubtedly a classic, this journey to the last truly lost horizon of our shrinking planet – Zanskar, the “land of white copper is a trip of a lifetime.


Youghiogheny River

Youghiogheny_RiverYoughiogheny River that flows for 135 miles (220 km) from West Virginia into Pennsylvania where it joins the Monongahela River at McKeesport.

The Youghiogheny is popular for whitewater canoeing, kayaking and rafting. Three sections of the river, varying in difficulty, are available on a predictable basis for whitewater recreation:




  • Top Yough, near Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland (Class IV-V)
  • Upper Yough, from Sang Run to Friendsville, Maryland (Class IV-V)
  • Middle Yough, from Confluence, Pennsylvania to Ohiopyle (Class II)
  • Ohiopyle Falls in Ohiopyle State Park: Previously, this spectacular 18-foot (5.5 m) waterfall was legal for kayakers and canoeists to run on only one weekend a year (Class IV), during a race and festival. During August 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced a pilot program allowing boaters to run the falls during three weeks from Sunday, August 22, 2010, through Sunday, September 12, 2010. The program was successful, so the falls are accessible to whitewater kayakers and canoeists with the same rules as the test program.
  • Lower Yough, which runs through Ohiopyle State Park from Ohiopyle to Bruner Run (Class III) This section is the busiest whitewater trip east of the Mississippi River, being completed by over 250,000 people each year.
  • Further downstream, near Connellsville, the river is much slower, without whitewater rapids, and is able to be piloted by personal tubes, kayaks or canoes.

Youghiogheny River is one of the most popular whitewater rafting activities on the East Coast. This river is special for everybody for its long season, reliable water, and varying levels of difficulty. The whole family can enjoy the tame rapids of the Lower Yough and the experienced whitewater enthusiast will love the steep, technical rapids of the Upper Yough.



Yampa River

Section of river: Yampa River – Dinosaur National Monument
Difficulty: Class 3 & 4
Length: 4-5 days
Season: May – June
Best rapids: Tepee, Big Joe, Little Joe, Warm Springs

20_holidayexpeditions The Yampa is WILD. The last undammed river in the Colorado River system. Through the years the Yampa has defied many attempts to dam its free flow, several by congress, and the most formidable in 1965 by Mother Nature. Just after dinner on June 10th, a flash flood carried tons of rock down Warm Springs draw blocking the river channel. Within twenty-four hours the Yampa took aim and breached the dam, leaving in its wake Warm Springs Rapid, rated among the 10 biggest drops in the country.

Every May and June this river rises to the occasion and CRANKS with plenty of full-bodied waves from the first day to the last. Like many wild things the Yampa also has a serene side…miles of white tiger-striped walls that drop 2000 feet sheer to the water, side-canyon waterfalls, Ancestral Puebloan rock art, and whispering caves.

The Yampa rafting trip includes 46 miles of the 71-mile trip on the Yampa and the remaining 25 miles on the Green River. Travel through Echo Park, Whirlpool Canyon and Split Mountain Gorge.

If you feel the need for something rare, something wild and free…the Yampa is waiting.


West River

Enjoy an active vacation in Vermont on the Class III and IV rapids of the West River near Stratton Mountain, Vermont, one of the state’s hidden treasures. This intermediate-level white water rafting trip in Vermont is an ideal way to kick off the paddling season or to view the fall foliage.

West River

Section of river: Ball Mountain Dam to Jamaica State Park (Townsend Reservoir)
Difficulty: Class 3
Length: 3 miles/5 KM
Season: Dam-release dates spring to fall
Best rapids: Landslide, Dumplings


west-river-view-fromThe West River is a dam-controlled mountain run with excellent intermediate-level white water rapids. The Ball Mountain run features technical rapids formed by boulders and ledges.  The first taste of big water comes in Landslide rapid. Several miles of continuous rapids follow until the Dumplings, the largest rapids on the river. The Dumplings are a row of smooth, dumpling-shaped boulders blocking the river followed by a large recovery pool called Salmon Hole. Negotiating the river’s natural s-turn at the Dumplings will challenge each raft’s paddling skills to the limit. Downstream lay easier riffles and the take-out at Townshend Reservoir.


Upano River

20141706121344Rafting the headwaters of the Amazon, the Rio Upano is the “River of Sacred Waterfalls”.

In the western edge of Ecuador, on the eastern edge of the Amazon River Basin lies a world-class rafting trip.  The Rio Upano has great whitewater that is challenging but totally manageable for both beginners and experts, incredible scenery, good hiking trails and beautiful riverside camps.

The addition of the amazing cultural history of the area and contact with the Shuar Indians that live along the river’s banks make for a rafting adventure that is physically, mentally and spiritually invigorating.

In the mountainous Morona-Santiago province of Ecuador, the rugged terrain and fast-flowing whitewater rivers washing down from the Andes kept would-be explorers (and conquerors) at bay for centuries. Neither the Incas nor the Spanish were able to penetrate this land of the Shuar Indians.


The Rio Upano was put on the map of whitewater rafters in 1992 when ROW Adventures make the first descent.

This is one of the finest river trips in the world: within hours of launching we enter a jungle fantasy, accompanied by toucans, egrets, oropendolas, and iridescent butterflies by the score.

At first the river alternates between wide valleys and narrow, intimate canyons, and the boisterous Class III rapids provide plenty of continuous fun-filled roller coaster rides.

On the last two days there is a magnificent towering canyon where spectacular waterfalls cascade hundreds of feet into the river. Constriction caused by the narrow canyon walls and massive boulders grant us numerous Class III and IV rapids—a guarantee of an action-packed ride!  Actual time on the river is four to six days and most trips originate in Quito, Ecuador.


Tuolumne River – Merals Pool to Wards Ferry

Section of river: Tuolumne River (Meral’s Pool to Ward’s Ferry)
Difficulty: Class 4
Length: 18 miles; 29 KM
Season: April- September
Best rapids: Rock Garden, Nemesis, Clavey Falls, Gray’s Grindstone, Hell’s Kitchen

tuolumne-scenic-1Tumbling though the Sierras from its  headwaters in Yosemite National Park, the Tuolumne River has long been revered as  California’s premier river. And for good reason: “The T” is a gem. The steep  gradient makes for superb long rapids such as Nemesis, the Squeeze, Gray’s Grindstone and the notorious Clavey Falls (with optional footpath). The roadless isolation and limit of  two guided trips per day ensure a primitive wilderness experience. Exquisite side canyons  cradle clear pools for swimming; short hikes reveal Gold Rush and Miwok Indian history and abundant wildlife. Camping along the Tuolumne’s fine sandy beaches provides an exceptional opportunity to refresh your spirit. This is a classic.

The snow-fed headwaters of the Tuolumne originate near Yosemite National Park, then surge through an isolated, spectacular canyon, forming 18 miles of non-stop, Class IV rapids.  Intricate boulder gardens, rushing cascades, and churning holes promise action-packed paddling from put-in to take-out.


It’s a river where many of California’s best rafters cut their teeth on the exciting, boulder-strewn rapids.  More than a dozen drops rated Class IV dot the run and there are many unnamed Class III and III+ rapids. You’ll run rapids such as Rock Garden and Nemesis before reaching Clavey Falls, the biggest rapid on the 18 mile main Tuolumne section.  Follow up with Gray’s Grindstone, Thread the Needle, Hells Kitchen and Pinball, just to name a few.

Tuolumne_RiverBut it’s not just the whitewater that’s earned the Tuolumne its distinction as California’s premier river trip. The Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River flows through a remote wilderness canyon, completely inaccessible between the put-in at Meral’s Pool and the take-out at Ward’s Ferry.  Its steep, spring-green and summer-golden hills are forested with oak and pine and flanked by rocky terraces and sandy beaches – a natural habitat for eagles, ring-tailed cats, river otter and other wildlife.  Early season wildflowers blanket the canyon in color: deep blue lupines, brilliant orange California poppies, yellow seep-spring monkeyflowers, and bright pink shooting stars, to name a few.  Tumbling creeks, waterfalls, and glassy pools adorn the river corridor and its side canyons – perfect for hiking, fishing, and swimming during your off-river time.

img_3717The Tuolumne’s flows are dam released, which makes river levels more predictable during the summer season. However, early-season snow melt pushes the river to very high levels that are best for experienced rafters. At these flows, the Tuolumne becomes one of California’s most powerful whitewater runs. As the season continues, water levels recede and become appropriate for both experienced rafters and very adventurous beginners.

The Tuolumne’s headwaters are high in the rugged Sierra Mountains in Yosemite National Park and the classic trips run through a remote and isolated canyon in the Stanislaus National Forest. No roads or houses intrude upon this magnificent stretch, a true wilderness treat in California. Providing an enchanting and memorable balance to the wild rapids are the idyllic and peaceful side stream sanctuaries of the Clavey River and the North Fork of the Tuolumne. Just two hours from Sacramento and only three hours from San Francisco, the “T” offers overnight trips in a region where extended trips are rare.