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Top Ways To Avoid Injuries On a Rafting Trip

Perhaps the greatest concern guests interested in a river trip have is the fear of injury. Western River Expeditions and its staff and guides spend a significant amount of time preparing for and discussing ways to mitigate the risks of such an event. Serious injuries, though possible, are rare. Smaller injuries such as stubbed toes, sunburns, and blisters are the real bummers on a trip. Fortunately they are preventable!


Foot injuries are the most common, yet easily preventable discomforts of rafting. Wearing good water shoes is the first step to taking care of your feet. Try to wear your footwear for a few weeks prior to the trip to make sure they are comfortable, get used to wearing them before arriving. While on the trip, it’s a good idea to use sunscreen on your feet during the day. It seems unnecessary but sunburned feet are one of the most common mishaps that cause guests irritation.

Everyone is familiar with sunburns; don’t get sucked into thinking you’ll get a tan while on the river, you’ll end up with a nasty sunburn if you don’t stay covered. The sun in the southwest and Grand Canyon is more intense than other areas due to the desert’s low-humidity and long days. A sunburn on a longer Grand Canyon expedition is painful and can wreak havoc on your trip enjoyment. Pack long sleeve shirts with collars, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen.

“Being careful” is a vital mindset! An ounce of prevention goes a long ways. Watch your step and think about how your actions might lead to an injury. You’ve spent a lot of time and money to be on this river trip, don’t ruin it with a rolled ankle as a result of being careless. Part of a river trip’s beauty is its untamed nature, which has inherent hazards. Simply looking around you and being careful while boarding/un-boarding the raft or walking up the trail can prevent most injuries.

Ask a guide for help. If you’re nervous about a hike or need assistance don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your guides are trained, and carry extensive first aid kits to treat an array of ailments and injuries. If you’ve been injured in any way we can help! A quick patch job will improve your comfort level and keep things from getting worse.

Learn About Whitewater Rafting

Sam Hansen

Sam is an Idaho native who fell in love with desert redrock, guiding there the last 6 years while pursuing a degree in physics - and starting a ski guiding business in West Yellowstone.

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