Utah Rafting Trip

River Rating Scale

All rivers are rated on a "class" scale to help you determine the size and technicality of the whitewater. Many of our guests are in search of more moderate whitewater - simply to relax and soak up the beauty of the scenery. Others are looking for a more intense whitewater. Regardless of your choice, be assured that Western has one of the best safety records in the industry. Note that the "class" scale was introduced after many of the rapids in Grand Canyon had already been rated. Therefore rapids in the Grand Canyon are rated on the older "1-10" system. A size 10 rapid in Grand Canyon would be a class V rapid, and so on. Here is what the standard class I though class VI descriptions mean:

Whitewater Rafting Class I - VI Rating Scale
CLASS I: Moving water with small waves that tug at the boat - it's a relaxing way to spend the day. Each of our trips have some stretches of calm class I water, creating a pleasant break between rapids.
CLASS II: Easy rapids, waves up to three feet tall that are readily seen, and wide channels that can be discovered without scouting. Some maneuvering is required during this little rock and roll.
CLASS III: Waves up to four feet and narrow passages that send the boat shimmying and water gushing over it's sides. Plenty of excitement.
CLASS IV: Long, difficult rapids, narrow passages, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering and sends hearts racing.
CLASS V: All of the above and then some - large, complex, gushing rapids, twisting, and spinning to deliver the consummate adrenaline rush.
CLASS VI: The ultimate extreme, only the most expert should attempt this. Raft trips don't go here. There's too much other water to enjoy.
See current and forecasted flows for the Colorado River Basin.
Grand Canyon Rating Scale
CLASS I - X: The Grand Canyon uses a unique river rating scale. The rapids in the Canyon are technically rated I - X ( 1 - 10) to accommodate such a wide variety of rapids and river variances. However, most people are familiar with the regular I - V river rating scale, so we often refer to that scale for familiarity reasons.

Western's Trips and the River Rating Scale

Green River » Class II - III
Main Salmon River » Class II - III
Grand Canyon 3 Day » Class III
Westwater Canyon » Class III - IV
Middle Fork Salmon River » Class IV
Cataract Canyon » Class IV - V
Grand Canyon 6 Day » Class IV - V

When is the best time of year to go rafting?

Western River Expeditions matches the size of it's boats to the size of the whitewater. When the rapids are more moderate, we will bring along paddleboats and inflatable kayaks to let you really get a "taste" of the whitewater. When the rapids are large, we may use our patented J-rig raft that is more stable and offers a fun ride. At the same time, every trip all summer long gives you the option to kick back and relax on either a a J-rig or an oar boat while a guide takes care of the rest.

Note: Grand Canyon trips are J-rig only.


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