« Back to Blog & News

Classifications: What They Are and Why They Matter to You

When it comes to whitewater, knowing what you are getting in to is as critical as having all the proper safety gear. Lucky for you, we are experts in both fields of knowledge.

Whitewater is classified in terms of water speed, technicality of features and size of rapids to help everyone who passes through certain stretches of water, properly prepare for the adventure to come. Each of our River Adventures is classified to help you understand what you are getting in to and to help us make sure you are ready for the levels of physical work, fun and excitement for which you are signed up.

Class 1: Novice Fast moving water with ripples and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.

We recommend: American Adventure’s Family Float. A gentle excursion that allows you to take in the beautiful surroundings from the unique view of the Arkansas River, the Family Floats are perfect for those seeking some quality time in nature. Click here to learn more.

classification

Class 2: Beginner Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.

We recommend: American Adventure’s Bighorn Sheep Canyon and/or Brown’s Canyon. Both River Adventures offer rapids, history, wildlife and fun; both are available as full or half-day trips. Click here to learn more.

Class 3: Intermediate Waves numerous, high, irregular; rocks; eddies; rapids with passages clear though narrow, requiring expertise in maneuvering; scouting usually needed. It also requires good operator and boat.

We recommend: American Adventure’s Bighorn Sheep Canyon as a full-day adventure or Brown’s Canyon as a full day adventure. Both River Adventures offer rapids, history, wildlife and fun. Click here to learn more.

Class 4: Advanced Long, intense, powerful but predictable rapids; waves high, irregular; dangerous rocks; boiling eddies; best passages difficult to scout; scouting mandatory first time; powerful and precise maneuvering required. Demands expert boatman and excellent boat and good quality equipment.

We recommend: American Adventure’s Royal Gorge river adventure or The Numbers. Both river adventures offer consistent excitement with big rapid after big rapid, not for the feint of heart. 

Class 5: Expert Long distance obstructed or extreme rapids which expose paddlers to above average danger and excitement. Drops may contain large unavoidable waves or holes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, requiring a high level of fitness and commitment to the day.

We recommend: American Adventure’s Royal Gorge river adventure or The Numbers. Both river adventures offer consistent excitement with big rapid after big rapid, not for the feint of heart. Learn more about Class 4 and 5 rapids by watching this video of a day in the life of an American Adventurer here

Still not sure which class of rapid or type of trip is right for you and your group? Call our friendly and helpful guides for assistance in selecting the perfect trip for you and yours. Call us 719.395.2409 or send your questions to: [email protected].