Big Sky Montana Whitewater Rafting on the Gallatin River


Gallatin River Whitewater Rafters

Greater Yellowstone Region Whitewater Rafting

A happy boat full of Whitewater Rafters

Despite “Deliverance,” the 1972 Academy-award nominated film based on the novel of the same name by James Dickey, carved out a permanent dark corner in the American psyche with its unsettling combination of backwoods menace and masterly banjo playing, Whitewater rafting has become a hugely popular sport, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who has felt the addiction that the whitewater rapids hold that there are more people discovering the thrill of whitewater rafting every year. Dickey’s metaphorical river of concealed evil that no one seems ever to have forgotten: all these years later, you can’t go rafting down a wild river without someone in the group humming a few bars of “Dueling Banjos.” And the cultural resonance shows no sign of fading: T-shirts imprinted with the slogan “Paddle faster, I hear banjo music are a popular souvenir around here. Deliverance has become part of the fun!

All around the perimeter of Yellowstone there is whitewater action. The Gallatin, Yellowstone, Snake, Wind, Still Water, and the Shoshone Rivers all have commercial whitewater trips available. Many more of Yellowstone’s waters provide whitewater action for the private rafter, canoer, or kayaker. There are many whitewater outfitters in the towns of Jackson, West Yellowstone, Red Lodge, Gardiner, Big Sky Riverton, and Cody if you choose to leave the rowing to the experts (a wise decision).

Many of us have reached an age where we think we are too old for such frivolity fraught with perceived dangers. I must remind you that it is adventure that keeps us feeling young. Most river outfitters provide wetsuits mitigating the cold-water argument.

Yellowstone region rivers can provide big whitewater thrills.

For those of you that are do it yourselfers do your homework, know how to read water and cinch tight all live preservers on your passengers, the regions class three whitewater is reasonably safe for the cautious if you are going too tackle class four or five water, wear helmets and know what you are doing.

Many of the regions whitewater enthusiasts combine their whitewater adventure with a fishing adventure as well. The rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Region has superb trout fishing, and the whitewater sections are one of the better sections because many boat fishermen are scarred to float them and the access from the banks is poor for those without a boat.

White water rafting can be a dangerous sport, especially if basic safety precautions are not observed. Both commercial and private trips have seen their share of injuries and fatalities, though private travel has typically been associated with greater risk. Legislated safety measures exist for rafting operators. These range from certification of outfitters, rafts, and raft leaders, to more stringent regulations about equipment and procedures.

Whitewater rafting has become safer over the years. Expertise in the sport has increased, and equipment has become more specialized and increased in quality, hence, the difficulty rating of most river runs has changed.

Whitewate Rafting Wreck capsize
Yellowstone region rivers can provide big whitewater thrills but it can also provide danger for the unprepared or reckless.

Risks in white water rafting stem from both environmental dangers and from improper behavior. Certain features on rivers are inherently unsafe and have remained consistently so despite the passage of time. These would include "keeper holes (hydraulics)," "strainers" (e.g. fallen trees), dams (especially low-head dams, which tend to produce river-wide keeper hydraulics), undercut rocks, and waterfalls. Rafting with experienced guides is the safest way to avoid such features. Even in safe areas, however, moving water can always present risks, such as when swimmers attempt to stand up on a rocky riverbed in strong current, risking foot entrapment. Irresponsible behavior related to rafting while intoxicated has also contributed to many accidents. The flat-water sections of our rivers have killed many more people than the whitewater sections because people often don’t take proper precautions of flat-water sections as they underestimate their dangers.

The risk level of a rafting trip with experienced guides using proper precautions is very low at normal river flows but increase during peak runoff. Thousands of people safely enjoy raft trips every year in the Yellowstone Region.

Rafting contributes to the economy of many regions which in turn may contribute to the protection of rivers from hydroelectric power generation, diversion for irrigation, and other development. Additionally, white water rafting trips can promote environmentalism. By experiencing firsthand the beauty of a river, individuals who would otherwise be indifferent to environmental issues may gain a strong desire to protect and preserve that area because of their positive outdoor experience.

Another thing to consider is no summer trip to the Yellowstone Region is complete without either a Whitewater trip or a scenic float through this glorious crown of the Rocky Mountains.

Yellowstone Region Whitewater Rafting Companies
 
Whitewaters getting wet on the Gallatin River in Big Sky Montana

Mad River Boat Trips • (Jackson Hole)  Mad River Boat Trips is a river outfitter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Offering whitewater trips and scenic floats daily during the summer since 1977, Mad River  is your ticket to exploring the wild and scenic Snake River. The Mad River guides are well versed in the area's flora, fauna and geology. They'll also teach you about the rich history of the region and you'll understand why Jackson Hole is the "Last of the Old West". The boats may have changed over the years, but the passion for adventure remains the same.  Come join us for a day on the river. We look forward to seeing you here.

Jackson Hole Whitewater • (Jackson Hole) Voted The #1rafting company in Jackson Hole by our local newspaper the "Jackson Hole Guide." That says it all. We have been in business for 35 years and were the first company to have permits on the Snake River. We are a small company by choice. We have had the chance to expand but feel that "small is better"! Visit our website to find out why...

Wyoming River Trips • (Cody Wyoming) Wyoming River Trips was founded in 1978 with Rick and Ron Blanchard personally escorting trips; a practice that is still carried on today. Our Company has been featured on ESPN and Outdoor Life television network; along with national publications such as Travel and Leisure, Better Homes and Gardens, and Mature Outlook Magazines. Wyoming River Trips is the only continually owned and operated company in the historic Cody Area running the Shoshone river. The Shoshone river is the main eastern drainage of Yellowstone National Park. It reads like a flowing history book with almost as many scenic vistas as the colorful people and cultures who explored it. This river was used as a trade route during the fur-trading era for the mountain men and Native Americans who entered the "Yellow Rock" country in pursuit of its abundance of wildlife. This pursuit of adventure continues today.

Flying Pig Adventure Company • (Gardiner Montana) Ride the river with us! If you're looking for raft trip with exciting whitewater, breathtaking scenery, and safe and knowledgeable guides - our raft trips are for you. The longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, the Yellowstone River, offers fun and exciting white water rafting for all ages and experience levels. Slam through the waves of the Gardiner Town Stretch while helping to navigate your raft through the notorious rapids; Man Eater, Pickets Wave, Creighton's Hole, and Sleeping Giant in your white water rafting adventure near Yellowstone National Park.

Gallatin River Rafting • (Big Sky Montana) We offer canoe, kayak and rafting trips on rivers, creeks, streams and lakes near Gallatin River. You can experience rafting trips ranging from a brief two hour tour to a wilderness adventure lasting several days. Our guides are fully licenced and are carefully chosen on the basis of their skill and experience, their ability to make sound decisions and their ability to communicate and identify with our clients. We're experts in organizing family and group-travel! If you have any questions that are not addressed on this website, please call one of our friendly and knowledgeable whitewater rafting agents today!

 

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