Frequently Asked Questions
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 river trips. However, we encourage experience for our more difficult, Class IV Whitewater Trips. Please feel free to call us with any concerns or questions about appropriate trips for your group.
We welcome people of all abilities and ages 7 or older. Each trips’s description includes age requirements and difficulty. For our Class IV trips, we recommend ages 13+ and previous rafting experience.
As with all outdoor adventure activities, 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, lifejacket, (wetsuit and splash jacket optional) and participate in a mandatory Safety Meeting before getting in your boat.
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:
AVAILABLE JULY 16: Truckee River: Boca – Floriston
South Fork American: Chili Bar
Class IV Trips:
North Fork American: Chamberlain Falls
Our weight limit is 250 pounds. Please give us a call with any questions!
Our minimum age is 7. 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.
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 after JULY 16 after the flow decreases:
Class III Half Day Truckee River Boca – Floriston
Class IV Full Day Middle Fork American: Tunnel Chute
River flows depend on snowpack and vary from year to year. After a record breaking snowpack this winter, these are some of the best rafting flows we’ve seen in 30 years! Make sure you get on the river with a professional whitewater outfitter.
- Highest flows and best chance of big whitewater splashes, we recommend going Late May / early June
- Best chance for warm air / water temperatures in July / August
- Less crowded trips April / May or September when kids are back in school
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!
No matter how many people are in your group, we’ll 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 river sections, 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.
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. While cash gratuities are not mandatory, they are very much appreciated. We love what we do and we couldn’t do it without you! Like your servers at your favorite restaurant, a typical tip is between 15% and 20% of trip cost.
Alcohol is not allowed before or during your rafting trip.
There is always a chance of falling in (it’s why we have a photographer)! Don’t worry, safety is our top priority and you’ll be equipped with protocols discussed in 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. We do not recommend bringing any items onto the rafts that would be a major loss to lose to the water. If you love it, leave it at home!
On all our Truckee River trips, you will meet at our Rafting Headquarters (with restrooms and changing rooms). Most people keep their stuff in their vehicles and leave their keys/wallets with our office staff.
For our other river trips, you’re welcome to leave wallets, phones, backpacks, change of clothes, and car keys on our shuttle bus. The bus is constantly attended by our driver while you’re on the river and we’v enever had issues with theft or lost items.