Frequently Asked Questions

Health & Safety

Whitewater rafting is an active, outdoor, adventure sport. All participants must be in good health and weigh no more than 250 lbs.

As with all outdoor adventure sports, there is an inherent level of risk. Whitewater Rafting occurs on naturally flowing river systems. Safety is our priority and we do everything we can to reduce the risks.

You’ll be outfitted with a helmet, PFD – personal floatation device, and participate in a mandatory Safety Meeting before getting in your boat.

Whitewater rafting is an active, outdoor, adventure sport. All participants must be in good health and weigh no more than 250 lbs. If anyone in the group is over 250lbs or has any medical conditions, please call (530) 587-5777 to discuss.

We welcome adventurous people of all abilities and ages 7 or older. Each trip’s description includes age requirements and difficulty. For our Class IV trips, we require ages 13+ and recommend previous rafting experience.

Just a reminder that whitewater rafting is an adventure sport where all participants actively engage in the activity.

The minimum age for our Class III whitewater runs is 7. The minimum age for our Class IV whitewater runs is 13. 

Please see our minimum ages listed on each individual trip page. Please note that during seasons with high water levels, we may have to raise some of our minimum ages.

One of the most important aspects of  ‘what to wear’ rafting is footwear. All of our guests are required to wear shoes that strap or tie securely to their feet. Water shoes, a sturdy sandal with a heel strap, or tennis shoes work well for rafting. No flip-flops, crocs, or bare feet are allowed.

Clothes you are comfortable getting wet in. We recommend a swimsuit or quick-drying shorts/t-shirt.

About Rafting

Each raft is guided by a river guide. We take pride in making sure our guides have been thoroughly trained on each river section. Your guide will instruct, teach and entertain you throughout the entirety of the tour. 

There is no experience required for any of our Class II-III river trips. However, we encourage experience for our more difficult, Class IV Whitewater Trips. Whitewater rafting is an outdoor adventure sport. Please feel free to call us with any concerns  or questions about appropriate trips for your group. 

It is recommended but not mandatory. All guests are given Type V, US Coast Guard approved flotation devices (lifejackets). 

Whitewater rapids are rated on a scale of 1-5. Click here to see our Rapid Classification Page. We offer a variety of whitewater rafting trips to fit everyone’s adventure goals. Class I is for  beginners and Class V is for high adventure seekers.  

Class II Trips:

East Fork of the Carson River: Hangmans HOT SPRINGS!

Class III Trips:

Truckee River: Verdi-Mayberry

AVAILABLE JULY 16: Truckee River: Boca – Floriston

South Fork American: Chili Bar

South Fork American: Gorge

Class IV Trips:

Truckee River: Boca – Verdi

North Fork American: Chamberlain Falls

Middle Fork American: Tunnel Chute


River flows depend on snowpack and vary from year to year.  Make sure you get on the river with a professional whitewater outfitter.

  • Highest flows and the best chance of big whitewater splashes, we recommend going in Late May / early June 
  • Best chance for warm air/water temperatures in July / August
  • Less crowded trips in April / May or September when kids are back in school
These trips are only offered this spring until the snowpack melts out – Don’t Miss Them!

Class IV Full Day Truckee River Boca – Verdi

Class III Half Day Truckee River Verdi – Mayberry

Class II Full Day Carson River Hangman’s Run + Hot Spring Adventure

These trips are offered throughout the summer:

Class III Half Day Truckee River Boca – Floriston

Class IV Full Day Middle Fork American: Tunnel Chute

For 30 years we have run the best rivers in the Lake Tahoe and Northern California regions. We aim to be the premier rafting company in California / Nevada and our efforts are reflected in safety protocols, experienced guides, and the extraordinary adventure our guests experience. Check out what our guests are saying!



Trip Advisor

No matter how many people are in your group, we will pair you with the right number of rafts when you arrive.

Most of our rafts have a capacity of 6 paddlers. Depending on water levels and the river/section, some rafts can accommodate more or less. Our guides do a great job of keeping a big group’s rafts together throughout the trip to accommodate all the splash wars, bellyflop contests, and other fun river things.

Absolutely! We are proud to have the best guides and they are often requested by previous guests/referrals. Just let us know at the time of reservation and we will do our best to accommodate your request. 

After you park at your trip’s meeting location (see your trip confirmation email), we provide all transportation to and from the river. For large groups, we can arrange private / custom pick up and drop off at an additional cost.

We will do our best! We have carefully crafted our menus to be inclusive of a variety of dietary preferences. Please let us know your dietary restrictions so we can adjust our offerings to your needs.  

See Full Day Trips which offer meals.

We run our trips rain or shine. We are accustomed to mild afternoon rains from thunderheads in late July/ August. We have never had issues with thunderstorms on the river. Our Guides are extremely conscientious and well trained to keep your safety as their number one priority. 

Tahoe Whitewater Tours currently offers the most customer-friendly cancellation policy in the river  industry. We ask our guests to honor the policy so we can continue to offer it. Our policy is as follows: 

  • You may cancel or change group size up to 48 hours in advance of your reservation with no penalty
  • Within 48 hours of the tour time, any cancellations, changes, or “no shows” are responsible for payment in full

On the River

Yes, you’ll meet at your trip’s specific meeting location, park and check in. You’ll hop on our Tahoe Whitewater Shuttle Bus for a short drive to the river put-in location and begin the river rafting portion. After the river tour, the same bus will pick you up and drive you back to our original meeting location and vehicles.

See your Trip Confirmation Email or our What to Bring Page

River guiding is just like any other service industry position that relies on gratuities. Industry standard is anywhere from  15%-20% of the total trip cost factored in with the level of service you feel you received on your adventure. While cash gratuities are not mandatory, they are very much appreciated. We love what we do and we couldn’t do it without you!

Alcohol is not allowed before or during your rafting trip. As a reminder, this is an outdoor adventure sport where you are required to paddle and participate in all aspects of whitewater rafting.  We expect you to be at your top performance level during your time with us.

There is always a chance of falling in.  Safety is our top priority and you will be informed of protocols during our Safety Meeting.

Especially during the summer heat, our guests often jump into the river at their guide’s discretion.

We provide helmets for all our guests on our trips and require our guests to wear them. 

We recommend leaving valuables at home. If you love it, leave it at home!

For safety purposes, we do not allow anything in the rafts that cannot be securely attached to the raft itself. You should only have yourself and essential items while on the raft. Any item coming on the raft will get wet and possibly become lost or damaged. This includes items such as cell phones, go-pros, waterproof cameras, etc. Please travel light.

Wallets, cell phones, backpacks, towels, change of clothes, and jewelry can all be locked in your car.  Car keys can be left in the shuttle van or our office (please note that the shuttle van may be left unattended.) Tahoe Whitewater Tours is not responsible for the loss, theft, or damage of personal items.