Guide to Squamish Whitewater Rafting
White water rafting in Squamish is one adventure you don’t want to miss. The region is home to two premier glacier-fed rivers — the Cheakamus and the Elaho rivers, offering guests year round rafting adventures. Both rivers offer guests a journey through stunning west coast nature, with fun splashes along the way. The Cheakamus is the family friendly river, while the mighty Elaho river offers class IV rapids. We created this complete guide to Whitewater Rafting in Squamish to help you navigate the differences between the different rafting products & seasons. Enjoy, share and contact us to book your next rafting adventure!
The Cheakamus River, Squamish
The Cheakamus river is a slow-paced river that is ideal for families, seniors, or individuals who seek a relaxing float trip with just a few stretches of whitewater. Professional rafting companies in the region offer half-day and full-day float trips down the river’s scenic expanse.
The turquoise coloured Cheakamus river starts at Cheakamus lake and flows for 70-kilometres through the Cheakamus Valley to Daisy Lake. While rafting the river, you can enjoy gentle Class II rapids that provide a refreshing cool-off, a few smiles, and some laughs. You will also catch views of a variety of birds, wildlife, picturesque Paradise Valley, and a few small waterfalls. Along the way, the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains set the perfect backdrop to the river’s stretching, winding beauty.
Season: The rafting season for the Cheakamus river runs from May 1st to the end of September.
The Elaho River
The Elaho river is an ideal day trip if you are wanting to combine some heart pounding fun on the river, with stunning west coast scenery. You can enjoy world class views, in between the river’s several Class III rapids and its two mighty Class IV rapids.
The Elaho whitewater rafting trip is also perfect for groups and corporate retreats who are looking to combine team building with a unique and fun adventure on the water. The trips generally take a full day, with the shortest tour being 5.5 hours, while the lunch package take 7 hours. We offer two rafting tours on the Elaho, one with a Salmon Bake Lunch and a shorter one without. For details or to book a Elaho rafting trip please see the product options below.
Unlike rafting the Cheakamus river, you are guaranteed to get overly wet on the Elaho, so dress accordingly. The river is glacier-fed, and even though it might be the height of summer the water is always exceptionally cold. For both tours all the equipment that you need is provided, so you just have to show up and have a blast!
Season: Rafting season for the Elaho river runs from May through September.
River Bald Eagle Watching
From mid-November and continuing through February, the rivers in Squamish are the perfect place to see the area’s wintering bald eagle population up close and personal. Peak viewing — when the eagle population is at its highest — is from mid-December to mid-January. It is highly suggested that you reserve your river rafting trip as early as possible because they do fill up rapidly.
During the autumn and winter months, you are guaranteed to see bald eagles, but the area is also home to over 60 species of birds. It is considered a bird lover’s paradise. You will get outstanding views of numerous species on any river trip. It is not uncommon to catch sight of flocks of cormorants, mergansers, and heron.
The winter months are also when the awe-inspiring salmon run commences. During your float trip, you will glimpse brilliant red bodies of the fish cutting through the water as they make their way on their migratory spawn cycle. Often the fish will even leap out of the water in a stunning display of athletic skill.
Rafting and eagle-watching are the main draws to the Squamish area rivers, but the region also offers world-class fishing, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing opportunities. Many of the area’s professional rafting companies offer two-plus day float trips that include opportunities to camp, hike and fish.
Season: Mid – November – February
Squamish Whitewater Rafting Tours:
If you would like to experience fun on any one of these rivers and rafting trips in Squamish, be sure to contact us to help arrange your Squamish Adventure.