Why choose Tahoe Whitewater Tours?

For over 20 years we have been running some of the best rivers in the Lake Tahoe area. Throughout the years we have been aiming to be the premier rafting company in California/ Nevada. Our effort to continuously do better is reflected in or safety protocols, our experienced guides, our trips, and the experience you will get when choosing us.

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What class are the rapids?

River Classification Scale:
Rivers, for the purpose of recreational boating are rated from easy to difficult on an international scale of I – VI. Ratings are meant to be a realistic judgment of technical difficulty at moderate flow rates. Difficulty, and therefore rating, can easily increase with higher flows and sometimes on some rivers at lower flows when runs become more technical. Below is the rating scale of rapids. 

• Class I: Slow moving water with relatively few obstacles. Easily boated by inexperienced paddlers. There are no major obstacles and a passable channel will be clearly defined. 
• Class II: Rapids have bigger waves and obstacles requiring basic maneuvering ability. There are no major obstacles and a passable channel will be clearly defined. 
• Class III: Longer and rougher rapids than Class II. Considerably bigger hydraulics, waves, holes, and cross currents. Precise maneuvering is a requirement to insure passenger safety. Class III rapids may seem easy to passengers who have been guided by experts. Intermediate and even advanced boaters sometimes run into trouble on Class III rapids. 
• Class IV: Generally steeper, longer, and more obstructed than Class III. Often technical runs requiring precise lateral moves and turns to negotiate best route. Scouting should be done if unfamiliar and guides should be highly skilled to insure a successful run. 
• Class V: Strong currents, big waves, boulders, and holes powerful enough to flip and hold boats. Class V rapids may have one or more vertical drops. Advanced expedition style guiding skills are a must. Scouting is recommended for all who enter. The extreme of whitewater boating. 
• Class VI: Generally considered unrunnable. Magnifies versions of Class V with additional problems and hazards. At certain water levels, teams of experts do try Class VI descents, successfully. These thrill seeking experts will always try to push the envelope. 

When is the best time to go rafting? 

Any day that ends in “y”!!! We offer river trips from April through September. Each month has unique qualities bringing a special attribute to each trip. Spring time offers big water due to snowmelt bringing the biggest waves of the year, waterfalls entering the river, as well as springtime flourishing wildflowers. Summer offers long sunny days, warmer water for swimming and great technical rapids. Fall is best for changing colors and peaceful solitude. 

What are the minimum age requirements for kids on your trips?

We encourage family rafting trips. Being together on these adventures is exciting for both parents and kids, and experiencing the beauty and thrill of being on the river creates for a strong family bond and lasting memories.

Our age minimums are set per trip based on the whitewater/ technical difficulty of that particular adventure.

General rafting age minimums
- Class I-II trips our minimum age is 6
- Class II-III trips our minimum age is 7
- Class III-IV trips our minimum age is 13

General Inflatable Kayaking age minimums
- Class I-II trips our minimum age is 6 and accompanied with an adult.

When choosing your trip it is important to keep in mind the swimming and athletic ability of those going. Consider the least experienced or most timid person when making your decision. We recommend that for first timers, you err on the side of caution to ensure everyone has a positive experience.

What Type of food do you serve? 

On our Full and Multi-day trips we bring our tag along kitchen with us to whip together some of the best food in the outdoors. We serve the finest quality fruits, vegetables, and meats. your guides will prepare meals that will make you wonder which cooking school they attended. If you have any special dietary needs please notify us a few days prior to departure of your trip, we will do our best to accommodate your requests. 

I can't swim! Can I still go rafting? 

Yes you can!!! Previous experience rafting or swimming is not required to be able to enjoy one of our fun and exciting river trips. We provide Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Devises (also known as life jackets) to be worn by everyone. For those who are non-swimmers or still learning we recommend choosing no higher than a class III trip. 

How do you ensure safe practices for your trips? 

At Tahoe Whitewater Tours your safety is our number one priority. We take great steps to ensuring that our safety record is excellent, and that your well being is always our concern. Our guides are professionally trained and continuously work to become better guides each season. They are well trained in swift water rescue techniques and CPR/ first aid. Every trip begins with an introduction to the appropriate gear to be worn, and a thorough safety orientation. Our guides are trained to perform the following: 

• Be capable of operating the emergency communications equipment carried and know the evacuation procedures. 
• Be knowledgeable of state regulations applicable to boats carrying passengers for hire. 
• Possess a current certification in CPR. 
• Possess a current Food Handlers Certification. 

What should I bring?

This is the most frequently asked question. The answer depends upon the season. In general for spring, you need to be prepared for cold air temperatures, the sun, and cold water. Cold air temperatures are not as important in the summer, but having something extra to put on in case of a sudden change in weather is desirable. Waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF is often sufficient sun protection. Sunglasses and a hat are also desirable, as long as you have retention straps for them. Be prepared to get wet so

plan on wearing a fabric that is either fast drying such as nylon, polyester, or capilene. For cold weather wear fabric that remains warm when wet such as polypropylene or wool. Cotton is the worst fabric to wear on the river. It retains water and loses warmth when wet.

Spring/Fall (April, May, and October): Polypro top or wool sweater, polypro or wool gloves, sunglasses and strap, tennis shoes with polypro, wool, or wetsuit sock, extra wool sweater optional, wool hat.

Summer (June, July, August, and September): Swimsuit, shorts, old tennis shoes or sandals that will not come off your feet, hat, string to tie hat on, sunscreen, sunglasses, safety strap for glasses, long sleeved shirt for sun protection, shorts.

Also, be sure to check out our Recommended Gear Checklist Page»

How many can fit in your boats?

At Tahoe Whitewater Tours we use different sized rafts. We generally use 13, 14, and 16’ rafts for our trips. We use certain size rafts for certain rivers. Depending on which trip you sign up for will decide the size of raft used.

Our 13’ rafts allow up to 6 passengers, plus a guide.
Our 14’ rafts allow up to 7 passengers, plus a guide.
Our 16’ rafts allow up to 9 passengers, plus a guide.

Depending on water levels we may choose to limit the amount of guest per boat. To ensure the boats can get through some of the tighter more technical sections. If your group size exceeds the raft limits we generally split your group into multiple rafts.

Our inflatable kayaks come in two different sizes. Single and doubles. If you choose to paddle on your own a single can give you the freedom to explore the river as you please. Doubles are great to paddle in sync with a friend. 

When is payment due? 

Payment is due the day of your trip. If you meet us at one of our office locations we prefer payment in cash, check, or debit. If we are meeting you at a location away from our offices payment can be done in a number of ways. you can either pay your trip leader the full amount of the trip in cash or check. Or our office will charge the credit card that was given to make the reservation. 

What is your cancellation policy?

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

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. 

Is there a weight limit for your tours? 

Safety is our number one concern while you’re here with us. Taking a trip on a whitewater river is taking part in an active sport, so being in good physical condition is important. On our trips all guests are required to paddle and work as a team to ensure a safe run. Accidentally falling out of the raft and swimming are potential risks that can and do occur. Most end up enjoying there whitewater swim afterwards, however if for any reason you end up in the water its important to be able to self rescue. Our policy is to not take guests over 250 lbs, however if you are in good physical condition at or above this weight we are happy to take you. Please call our office with any questions or concerns to this policy.