What You Need to Know for Your First Time White Water Rafting

What You Need To Know For Your First Time White Water Rafting

Whitewater rafting looks thrilling in the videos and pictures. It is a great recreational activity ideal for families at any skill level. Take in the breathtaking panoramas from Utah’s splendid rivers, in the expert care of your Red Rivers Adventures expert Moab river rafting guide. Below are some basics that are helpful to know on your first-time whitewater rafting in Moab, Utah.

What Are the Best Months for Moab Rafting?

We operate rafting tours in Moab from March to September. The river rafting conditions change year to year based on the snowpack received, which determines water levels. Use the following information to choose the best time to go rafting based on what you’re seeking. Generally speaking:

  • Early spring to summer — the weather hasn’t warmed up to the point of melting a large portion of the snowpack yet, so waters are calmer with lower water levels.
  • Summer to fall — As Moab heats up in the late spring to summer months, the snowpack melts more quickly and thus feeds the river with more water resulting in higher water levels and more extreme rapids. Peak water levels will be in June.

If you have questions, contact Red River Adventures and we can help create the perfect whitewater rafting excursion for your family.

Is There a Minimum Age Requirement for Whitewater Rafting?

Yes, the minimum age limit for whitewater rafting is 5 years old, and all kids must weigh at least 40 pounds (18 kilograms). All Moab rafting trips hosted by Red River Adventures are comfortable and accessible for virtually everyone.

Do You Need Experience for Whitewater Rafting?

No, prior experience in rafting, paddling, or swimming is not necessary for mild rapids. Your certified rafting guide will direct you throughout the trip, provide safety advice in advance, and explain what to expect at upcoming parts of the river all along your river trip.

How Many People Will Be in the Raft?

Most of our rafts are smaller to provide a more personal and exciting experience floating on the river. Red River Adventures rafts seat an average of 5 people and a licensed rafting guide.

What Should I Wear and Bring with Me?

Every raft occupant is a given helmet, a personal flotation device, and a paddle. We suggest using old gym shoes, water shoes, or sandals that will not come off. Flip-flops or loose-fitting sandals should not be worn. REMEMBER: Any time of year, wearing sunscreen is strongly advised. 

River Rapids Rating Scale

The beginner-level rafting experience is ideal for vacationing families and recreational groups. As you’re learning about whitewater rafting with a guide in the Moab area, you may see the rapids described by class number, as below. The rapids class ratings indicate the level of difficulty of traversing a segment of the river in a watercraft. There are six categories of challenge:

Classes of River Rapids Descriptions of Rapids
Class I Very Easy, minimal challenges, good for beginners.
Class II Easy, minimal strength of rapids, some small objects to maneuver around for the novice rafter.
Class III Medium strength, irregular rapids with numerous objects to maneuver around.
Class IV Difficult with fast current, powerful rapids, boiling eddies, and precise maneuvring required; for advanced whitewater rafters
Class V Very difficult rapids with continuous, violent rapids, high navigational difficulty, only for expert-level whitewater rafters who have full familiarity with the river
Class VI Extremely difficult and dangerous rapids. Rapids may only be navigatable during favorable conditions and this water should only be left to professionals using extreme caution

Note: Red River Adventure provides Class I – III rapids only. If you are looking for a specific level of difficulty, call us. We don’t always stick to a designated itinerary every single time, and we can take you to different parts of the river based on the level of difficulty you are seeking.

Book Your Whitewater Rafting Trip in Moab, Utah with Red River Adventures Today!

We are Moab’s only adventure guide service with permits for guided river rafting, rock climbing, canyon exploration, and National Park trips. We offer the best rafting in Moab, in either single-day or multiple-day adventures. Our professional whitewater rafting guides are all highly qualified and hold professional certifications. Our boats for rafting are smaller, which makes our river trips more personal and exciting!

On our rafting trips, we treat our guests like family, but we manage all equipment and raft handling with a great abundance of professional knowledge and skill, and safety is our top priority. It makes sense that Trip Advisor has named Red River Adventures among the best of its travel recommendations 5 times.

Start your whitewater rafting adventure by calling Red River Rafting Tours at (435) 259-4046, to schedule your river rafting trip, or contact us online anytime.

The River People
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We strive to ensure that time spent with us is time that you will always look back on fondly. We want to leave you with a memories that bring a smile to your face no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, and no matter how much time has passed. In addition to a deep reservoir of personal experience, our rafting guides are licensed by the state of Utah, have Wilderness First Responder and/or First Aid/CPR certifications, and are insured. Many guides also have swiftwater rescue training. Our climbing and canyoneering guides are AMGA-certified for the terrain in which they operate. Our skiing guides are certified for the terrain, and some are world-renowned for their experience. All of our guides are intimately acquainted with not only the river, rock and snow, but also with the incredible surroundings of the areas we guide.

River Rafting Reviews and Red River Adventure Testimonials!

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David Zane
September 25, 2022

Unbelievably professional and skilled - amazing time

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Keilah Butler
September 7, 2022

Great guides, great experience! Thanks!

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Savannah Houle
September 6, 2022

It Was Absolutely Amazing, Had Such A Wonderful Time ! Loved Being Able To Swim And Enjoy The Views

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Joe Carissimi
September 5, 2022

Great full day tour!! Sarah was an awesome guide. Good time had by all. Highly recommend it.

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Nathan Moon
September 5, 2022

McKayla was an incredible guide, friendly, helpful and safety conscious. Thank you!

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Danielle Brokens
September 4, 2022

We did both the half day rafting trip as well as the Bow and Arrow canyoneering. Both trips were great, especially the canyoneering. I had a 21, 13, and twin 10 year olds and this was such a fun way to spend our time in Moab for the wide range in ages of my boys. The guides were super knowledgable and fun! We had a couple of scared kiddos to do the rappelling and our guide helped make the boys feel comfortable and able. So much fun and would definitely recommend!

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Cherrie Weisel
September 2, 2022

Had a blast. Guide was very informative.

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Brian Johnson
September 1, 2022

Top notch.

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Rob Brachowski
September 1, 2022

We had a great rafting trip with Red River Adventures. Our guide was very knowledgeable and was a lot of fun. If we are back in the area we would love to go on another trip.

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Greg Wiessner
August 29, 2022

We want to thank Noah and Red River Adventures for an amazing climbing trip. We booked a half day trip to the Ice Cream Parlor for our first Utah, crack-climbing experience. As East Coast gym climbers with limited outdoor experience, we were looking for a guide who could get us climbing immediately in a crag where we could have a great outdoor experience. Noah was very skilled at assessing our skill level, stamina and willingness to fall trying. We'd highly recommend Red River Adventures and Noah in particular for getting you to a great spot. Better still, Noah gave us great advice about camp sites and food. You will do great if you go with this sevice.

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Jessica Putvin
August 26, 2022

I had such a blast! The guides were incredible and full of fun/amazing information!!! They provided a beautiful experience!💫

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Pat Huff
August 26, 2022

I had a great time! The river guide was helpful and knowledgeable.

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Kim Cameron
August 25, 2022

Although Emily provided a fun and informative tour, it ended 45 minutes earlier than scheduled.

Fun time on the Colorado river. Our guide was very nice and knowledgeable. It was much less time on the river than expected. But we had fun. Next time would go for more rapids as this was more of a float than a white water experience.

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Dulani Kulasinghe
August 22, 2022

We had a really great day! Everything was organised super smoothly and the whole red river adventures team made everything easy and safe in a really relaxed way. We did the full day trip from Fisher Towers with a 10 year old and a 13 year old. None of us had rafted before (though we'd all done a bit of kayaking) and it was exactly what we wanted. Apparently the river was running a bit low, but we still had a fun day - never terrifying and occasionally relaxing. As an introduction to rafting we couldn't have asked for more and we'd definitely book again with Red River next time we're in Moab - thoroughly recommended!

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Joanne Brunetti
August 20, 2022

Five years ago we did rafting with Red River Adventures & wanted to replicate the experience. We booked half day trip & we enjoyed this adventure as well. Our guide, Samantha, was lovely and really qualified. She answered all of our many questions about the river, the landscape and the life in Moab. We had fun in the 2 hours we spent together. We also loved the road trip to reach the drop off area as the bus drives through one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the U.S.A. Highly recommend! Italia

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Papa Fitzgerald
August 18, 2022

Our guide rocked!

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Brenda Fitzgerald
August 18, 2022

Noah was awesome!

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Svet Mc
August 15, 2022

This was well organized whitewater rafting. With timing , transportation , and safety masseurs. Our young guide Hudson was excellent. With a lot of experience in water sports and mountaineering . Did great job to help us skillfully go down the river with ease and it was fun . Will go back to Red River Adventures .

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Rhiannon Seneli
August 15, 2022

Guides were great and entertaining. Great family activity! Our youngest was 7 and he had as much fun as the adults.

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Féodora Zussy
August 14, 2022

Magnifique descente du Colorado, on a pu se baigner et profiter de la fraîcheur du fleuve. Une équipe jeune et dynamique.

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Jisu Kim
August 14, 2022

My son has really gotten into climbing for the past 4-5 months, so we booked this guided tour and took a quick trip out to Park City area for our first outdoor climbing adventure. I called a local climbing gym prior to booking and they highly recommend Red River Adventures and they did not disappoint. Full disclosure, I was a bit apprehensive and nervous, since I've only been climbing for a few weeks (to build up callouses mostly!). Thus, I was probably a bit "overzealous" about asking questions by calling and emailing, haha... However, Carl and the staff at Red River were AWESOME. They were patient and were able to guide me to the appropriate package (Full day climb, single pitch, top-roping, Wasatch mountain range). On the day of the climb, we met our guide, Cass, and she was able to feel out what we were capable of as well as what we wanted to get out of the day. Cass was a fantastic guide who was super friendly and worked HARD to set things up for us. She gave us enough instructions, but wasn't intrusive at all. That is, she allowed us to feel out and explore the climb on our own without just telling us where the next hold is, etc. This made us really think about what we were doing up there and made the experience much more personal...like, "I really did that on my own!"...a feeling of accomplishment. We were able to get in excellent climbing at all levels. Although we spent the whole day at the single location (Salt Lake Slips, Central Wasatch), there were plenty of climbs of different levels to push us (me, mostly!). The final climb, Witchhunt (5.10a), was awesome. Although it was a challenge I was unable to overcome, it ended up being the highlight of a fantastic day. I would highly, highly recommend Red River Adventures to anyone who asks and have already told a couple of my friends about them.

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Brian Deyaert
August 13, 2022

Wonderful, fun & safe experience. From checkin to drop off, smooth and top notch experience. Will use company again!

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Nick Bernfeld
August 13, 2022

What a true Amazing trip! Loved this white water rafting trip class 3/4 rapids, the guides did a great job at making us feel safe, would def try it again!

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Erin L
August 12, 2022

This was an Amazing trip! We came from Illinois and had never seen or done anything like it! Our guide, Kenzie was so great! I highly recommend this if you are looking for an adventure!

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Marco Colombo
August 12, 2022

Great Experience, Great Team, Great Ride ! Our leader Sam was super, RedRiver remains top rated in Moab ! Marco (Italy) .

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Gina Marino
August 11, 2022

This was an amazing first time adventure! From the well organized briefing to assigning safety gear to 30 minute bus ride, which was highly entertaining, to traveling down the gorgeous Colorado River! Huge shout out to all our guides! Yall funny! Emily was our river guide and we loved her! This ride is a nice and easy introduction to rafting, great for young and old! We wanted to wish those who are returning to their studies a great year!

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Brandon Nelson
August 10, 2022

We really enjoyed our 1/2 day river rafting trip. There was a bus full of guests that morning but our family of 5 got our own boat and guide Ryan. Ryan was awesome, professional and fun and let us swim and enjoy the water.

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Johnathan Hintz
August 9, 2022

The staff at Red River were fantastic and fun. Our guide was knowledgeable about the area, the geology of the region and shared a lot of info beyond rafting. The ride to and from the Moab site was beautiful. Our bus driver was a delight. It was a nice diversion from hiking in the parks on our weeks vacation.

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Amanda Bailey
August 9, 2022

Such a fantastic day. My girls (9 and 13) were disappointed when it ended. Lucas was such a great guide. He totally knew what would make a great tour for us and just ran with it. We would absolutely book again and probably the full day next time. Such fun!!!

Great trip. Scenery was fantastic. Sam our guide was thorough and provided history of the area.

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David Stutman
August 8, 2022

Our trip was great and Hudson was a great guide. Thanks!

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Greg Lawrence
August 7, 2022

Lucas was a good guide, very good for neophytes to work with. Connor & Hudson are real good, too, good info on the bus rides up & back. We got to float out IN the river, too, very enjoyable. Highly recommended; my wife & I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as the oldest in our 3-boat group (63 & 55yo).

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Amanda DelliColli
August 6, 2022

Unfortunately due to drought the rapids were a little lack luster but our guide Hudson was amazing! He was telling jokes, spinning us in the rapids and keeping us very entertained! Def ask for Hudson:)

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Justine McGinley
August 6, 2022

We booked the 1/2 day float trip and had a great time. The entire staff was very friendly and knowledgeable about the area. The entire trip was very well organized and our family of 5 (including 3 teens) really enjoyed the experience. I would definitely recommend!!

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Nora & Damon Duncan
August 5, 2022

Had a blast with Sam @ Red River Adventures!

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Erin Arnoldi
August 4, 2022

My kids enjoyed the rock-climbing experience. The most experienced climber would have liked more challenges, but the lesser experienced climbers were challenged appropriately. I felt like they were safe at all times.

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Knox25
August 2, 2022

One day Guided Rock Climbing - Salt Lake City Could not recommend enough. Highly professional, very organised and an incredible intro to climbing outdoors. Shout out to Cass my guide who was seriously brilliant, so knowledgeable about everything I asked and was able to tailor the day to doing some intro to lead training too! Being a female (travelling alone) I was a little bit nervous about going alone - if you are in a similar situation, this is the company to go with. Thanks again, you made my trip. Hope to be back another time.

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Dany Elsener
August 2, 2022

Freundlicher Staff und motivierte Guides. Im Sommer wohl eher eine einfache Gummiboottour, denn River Rafting.

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Devon Davies
August 1, 2022

Our guide Emily was fantastic on the Chamisa canyoneering trip. I doubted my ability to complete some of the challenges on this hike and she encouraged and instructed me the whole way. She was equally great with the more able guests. Highly recommend.

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Jennifer Goldman
August 1, 2022

We had the best experience. Incredible hike, repelling and guide! Thank you. We’d definitely do it again.

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Samantha Walker
August 1, 2022

My friends and I did the 1/2 day Towers trip as our first time rafting. The guide, Hudson, was very knowledgeable and great at directing us on the paddle boat. It was so much fun! We can’t wait to try some higher level rafting next. Thank you!

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Maeve Kammerer
August 1, 2022

Carl is an awesome guide! My husband and I needed help learning multi-pitch climbing. Carl was super Knowledgeable, patient, and attentive to our needs. Thanks Red River Adventures for such an awesome experience!

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Jarrod Clark
July 31, 2022

We arranged a half day Canyoneering tour for me and 4 girls (ages 8-14). Red River Adventures was great in offering suggestions for this group. Booking online was easy. A member of this group had reservations about going, but Dan spoke honestly and gently. She decided to participate and was so happy she did. Dan is a great guide and helped when needed, but encouraged everyone during this great Canyoneering adventure. Looking forward to returning for another adventure.

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Judy Stoldt
July 30, 2022

We had Alex as our guide and she was wonderful!! The view is amazing and we had a lot of fun getting off the raft and swimming. My teenage girls really enjoyed it and got a lot of pics to share with their friends.

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Leah Sewell
July 29, 2022

Red River Adventures is so organized, thorough, and friendly. Appreciated all the information they shared about the area, the terrain, stories, and more. Emily is an amazing guide—personable, informative, and such a good driver of the raft. Any age would find this enjoyable!

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Jonah Neal
July 28, 2022

We had a blast! Sophie was an excellent guide and my 9 yo son said we need to do the full-day tour next time. :)

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Erin Gantz
July 28, 2022

Emily was a great guide! Relaxing trip down the river and lots of knowledge given about the area.

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Elaine Porter
July 28, 2022

We had a great trip! The staff was excellent and so helpful, and the trip was beautiful and scenic! Loved being able to swim in the river!

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Tyler DiF
July 28, 2022

Really fun experience overall, all the guides were welcoming and friendly, good for all ages