Best time to visit Vancouver

Rafting in Vancouver

Some of North America's best rafting opportunities, thrilling moments, and stunning nature can be found near Vancouver

Best time: April–October


Looking for something a bit more extreme? Vancouver's rivers can give you some of the best rafting experiences in all of North America. Various rivers like the Thompson, the Nahatlatch, the Squamish, the Elaho, and the Chilliwack are all available to choose from when planning your trip. From easy going scenic rafts to a real adrenaline pumping journey, you can find it all.

The greatest fact about rafting in Vancouver is the proximity to the city. About an hour drive to the north and you'll find Squamish and Whistler, while in the east you'll find the Chilliwack River.

The Elaho River is not an adventure for the faint-hearted. Its big and strong waters together with stunning views make for an amazing journey. Your trip will be full of surprises, thrilling rapids, lots of wildlife, and amazing views of wild forests, volcanoes, glaciers, and waterfalls. The water level plays the main role in what your trip will be like. After winter snows melt you can find a more exciting experience and quicker currents.

Practical info

When is the best time to go rafting near Vancouver?

Rafting is ideal from April to October when the mountain snow melts, raising water levels and currents. The level of excitement depends on the water level - higher water levels mean faster currents, lower levels create smoother rides perfect for sightseeing. November to February's rainy season isn't the best time to go. Show more

Where are the best rafting spots near Vancouver?

Rafting is perfect for families and beginners in Squamish, Whistler, Chilliwack and the Nahatlatch River, north of the city. The Nahatlatch offers trips with Class I-IV rapids satisfying first-time rafters, while Chilliwack's combination of fast and slow inter-tidal rapids creates an exciting adventure. Elaho River's more experienced rafters challenge wild Class III-IV rapids with magnificent wildlife and views. Show more

What type of rapids can be expected when rafting in Vancouver?

Vancouver's rivers offer different rapid classes, from Class I smooth currents ideal for sightseeing to Class V for experienced rafters. The Elaho River offers Class III-IV rapids for the adrenaline junkie. Certain providers offer dedicated trips for families and first-timers, with scenery and excitement combined in Class II and III rapids. Check with your tour provider to ensure you get the right mix of rapids for you and your group. Show more

Is rafting in Vancouver only for experienced rafters?

Rafting in Vancouver offers something for everyone, not just the experienced. First-time rafters can try milder rapids on the Nahatlatch or Thompson rivers. Squamish and Whistler are also great for beginners and kids. Tour operators can arrange trips for specific groups, ensuring a memorable and safe time. Experienced rafters won't be disappointed with Vancouver's more challenging rapids either. Show more

What kind of wildlife can be seen while rafting on the Elaho River?

Rafting on the Elaho River offers stunning wildlife sightings, including eagles, deer, black bears, and even cougars. The exciting journey, including wild forests, glaciers and waterfalls, has breathtaking views. Enjoying the thrill of the rapids is crucial, but remembering to stay safe and follow eco-friendly practices is just as important to conserve the stunning natural beauty of the region. Show more

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