GEYSER WHITEWATER EXPEDITIONS' TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST WHITEWATER RAFTING TRIP ON THE ON THE GALLATIN RIVER NEAR BIG SKY
There are lots of exciting adventures available when visiting Yellowstone Park and Big Sky Montana, but whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River with Geyser Whitewater is a true bucket list item that tens of thousands of guests participate in while visiting Yellowstone Park and Big Sky. You’ve decided that you’re ready to experience the rush of paddling down the whitewater of the Gallatin River, splashing and laughing with friends and family. When preparing for your first whitewater rafting adventure, there are numerous beginner rafting tips that can help you be prepared. By understanding what to expect and how to stay safe, you will be ready to go on the rafting trip of a lifetime!
Tips for Preparing for A Gallatin River Whitewater Rafting Trip
Tip #1: Listen Closely to Your Whitewater Rafting Guide
Probably the most important tip is to pay special attention to everything your guide has to say. Our raft guides on the Gallatin River are highly trained river-lovers who are committed to making your trip as safe and fun as possible.
Before you head out, your raft guide will talk to the group about safety tips and what to expect. Be sure to listen closely to this introduction as they will tell you what you need to know before you head out on your river adventure.
Once you’re on the raft, continue to listen to your guide. They will tell you when and how to paddle, if you need to lean to one side of the raft to keep everything balanced, and even what to do if a paddler should happen to slip out of the raft.
What’s more, your guides are personable and knowledgeable individuals who will share interesting tidbits about the Montana wilderness and history of the regions that you paddle through. These stories are a great part of a raft trip!
Tip #2: Always Wear Your Life Jacket and Helmet
At every moment when you’re on the river, your life jacket and helmet need to be secured. Before you step onto the raft, ensure that they both feel snug and comfortable. If you need any assistance making sure that your safety equipment is on and fitting properly, ask our staff to help you.
Tip #3: Be Sure to Review Our Confirmation Email on What to Wear
While there isn’t much that you need to do to prepare for your river float trip, the one thing that you should check out before you head over is our confirmation email. You want to make sure that you bring what you need to make your trip an enjoyable one. This includes:
- A bathing suit or workout clothing
- Sunglasses, we have inexpensive straps in our shop to secure them.
- Secure, comfortable footwear. You can rent wetsuit booties for only $3 if you don't want to deal with wet shoes.
- Water bottle
- A change of clothing/dry clothing for after the trip
- Water shoes or wet suit (also available for rent)
- If you happen to forget any of the above, don’t worry! We have most everything that you could need for purchase at our headquarters.
Tip #4: Keep Your Hands on the T-Grip
The end of your paddle has what is known as a T-grip. It is absolutely essential that you always keep one of your hands over the T-grip. One of the most common injuries that can occur whitewater rafting is injuring another rafter by taking your hand off of the end of your paddle. If this happens when you go through one of the Gallatin River's rapids, the T-grip can end up making contact with another rafter.
Tip #5: Wear Sunscreen
Day trips on the Gallatin River in sunny Montana carry the danger of sunburns. Do yourself a favor and wear waterproof sunblock to protect yourself from the powerful rays of the sun. It is easy to get burned at elevation!
Tip #6: Hydrate
Raft trips are a great combination of nature, scenery, and exercise, and as such, require ample hydration. Warm weather and physical exhaustion can happen, and you want to keep yourself hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you so you can bring it on the raft.
Tip #7: Don’t Panic
While whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River. There might be times when the river shells out some surprises. Maybe you weren’t prepared for a rapid or your raft gets stuck on a rock. In these situations, the key is to stay calm and listen for instruction from your guide. When you’re calm, your mind and body will be more capable of listening and doing what you need to do to keep yourself and others safe.
Tip #8: Have Fun!
While you want to be sure to pay attention to safety and prepare yourself well for your day trip, the most important part is to relax, enjoy, and have a good time! Rafting is a great way to escape the city, exercise, and let go of any stress that your day job might carry. Let yourself be fully present and enjoy the time spent on the river.
Commonly Asked Questions
1. Can I Go Rafting if I Can’t Swim?
You can go whitewater rafting if you don’t know how to swim, but having the ability to swim is always recommended. Let’s clarify. Everyone wears a Personal Floatation Device (or PFD) otherwise known as a life jacket, but it’s only designed to help you float. On the Gallatin River's more adventurous tours, if you find yourself out of the raft then simply floating won’t necessarily bring you to safety – it’s best to swim to safety. Milder trips on the Gallatin River see smaller waves and better conditions for those who aren’t the best swimmers. Being able to swim gives a rafter confidence. So, if you slip out of the raft but you have some swimming skills, it’ll make your swim a lot less stressful.
2. How do You Prepare for River Rafting?
There isn’t much that you need to do to prepare for your whitewater rafting adventure on the Gallatin river. Many of our first-time rafters just show up on the day of the trip with a change of clothes. We encourage rafters to read our guest responsibility info to learn more about the sport. Be sure to check out the information provided in the confirmation email and on https://wwwraftmontana.com.
3. Is White Water Rafting Dangerous?
White water rafting on the Gallatin River near Big Sky certainly has some inherent risk associated with it, but then so do all outdoor adventure activities. Of course, the Gallatin river is under the control of mother nature, not us, so it is important to be respectful of this and take every step to stay as safe as possible. This includes selecting an appropriate trip, listening to your raft guide, wearing your safety equipment, and paddling when and how you’re instructed to.
If anything goes awry, every one of our guides has training in rafting and water safety. In fact, our guides at Geyser Whitewater Expeditions have certification in CPR, Wilderness First Aid, Swift Water Rescue, and Youth Protection Training.
4. How Do I Stay in the Raft When White Water Rafting?
No one wants to fall out of the raft when white water rafting on the Gallatin River. Fortunately, if you listen to the instructions that your raft guide gives you before and during your trip, the chances of this happening are reduced. You will want to keep your feet secured in the raft where you’re instructed to, and paddle when you’re told to.
Listening to your guide is the key to staying in the raft!
Are You Ready?
At Geyser Whitewater Expeditions, we offer whitewater raft trips designed for the first timer and the adventurous alike. With full-day and half-day excursions from Big Sky Montana, we have great options for you. Give us a call if you would like to experience the joy of paddling down the Gallatin River! If it's fun we do it! The only place in Big Sky Montana to book Rafting, Zipline, Horseback riding, JEEP rentals, SUP rentals and ATV Side by Side rentals.