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White Water Rafting in Golden, BC

I had always wanted to try white water rafting. It’s chill and crazy all at once with moments of serenity as you head down a river but there are inevitable challenges when the flow of water is taking you randomly around trees, rocks, and shorelines (as you can see in the photo above).

At one point we had a member of our group go overboard! She was fine and fully hydrated when she got back into the raft but she was visibly scared, of course. I got a bit of a nasty gash on my hand when I pushed off a rock, but hey, apparently scars are character building.


Upon arriving, you definitely connect with nature. A bunch of deer came up to us as we parked and walked to the cabin. The whole thing is very rustic and Hydra understand that us city slickers need some time to get comfortable. There’s a lot of joking around and conversation between the group that’s going together and the staff. When you get to the rafting spot they serve a pretty good BBQ lunch right away. That’s key. One must not risk life and limb on an empty stomach.

Kicking Horse River … aptly named, I’d say.
Kicking Horse River … aptly named, I’d say.

You then pick out your gear and start with training. Some of the jokes were a little too 90’s sitcom for me, but that’s just a matter of taste.

You then carry the raft with your group to the water for practice before hitting the white water. The instructions are simple enough, but this step is critical and very much appreciated as there is a good chance without them the panic of the moment when the water gets wild, a person would slip up.


There’s a ton of instruction from the coach at the back of the raft. I opted to sit at the front so I could see everything coming fast and furious at me. Let’s cover the chill first. There are quite a few moments on the river to enjoy the scenery, wildlife looking on trying to figure out why humans are crazy enough to do such things, and take in the day. That’s how it starts, anyway.

The relative calm before the storm.
The relative calm before the storm.

After about 5 minutes the rapids picked up and it was pretty much a straight thrill ride for the next couple of hours or so. The waves have a lot of impact. At times you’re looking straight up at the sky before crashing back down in the water, which is hella fun. For the most part it’ll feel like a rollercoaster on water but as mentioned above there are some risky situations, which is why you sign a waiver. Unless you have 8 people you’re relying on 8 strangers to work in unison and that doesn’t work at times. Different levels of panic exist in us all. We bounced off some rocks, and in a low tree area I definitely had to do a lot of ducking.

The storm!
The storm!

There is one section where Hydra does get pictures, and of course, it’s during the craziest part of the tour. That’s where the top picture came from. Unfortunately, I don’t have much in the way of photos or video aside from what I used my phone for as the strap snapped on my GoPro and some fish now have a wicked GoPro Hero 6 to take pictures with. Interestingly enough, this apparently happens a lot because the guide told me they find cameras all the time washed up on shore. Mine was never found.


Once you arrive at the end point … soaked, you get a ride back to the cabin and some bottled water. It’s a chill ride back, with at least half of our group falling asleep because white water rafting is quite exhausting. Now, it’s important to note that there are different rapids ratings:

  • Class 1: Moving water

  • Class 2: Splashy waves.

  • Class 3: Easy maneuvering through the rapids, bigger waves.

  • Class 4: Intense rapids, technical maneuvering, big waves.

  • Class 5: Long, powerful rapids with serious consequences (not commercially raftable).

  • Class 6: No go (think Niagara Falls).

Here comes a rock!
Here comes a rock!

Of course, being the adrenaline junkie, I chose Class 4. What a trip. Some of those waves could be surfed! It’s also important to note that you should read your rafting company FAQs and information. There’s a lot to consider and you could end up not going if you don’t follow the instructions in terms of gear, footwear, what you can bring, how you should act, etc.

White water rafting is no joke. While absolutely fun and a good time, it’s dangerous. Strap in, it’ll be a bumpy ride!

I highly recommend going rafting … many times. I plan to go whenever I get the chance in the future. It’s adrenaline filled and yes … completely crazy!

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