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A Go-To Guide for Rafting Adventure Levels

By Nathan

Here at Zoar, we’re excited for the new rafting season to get underway. There are few things as thrilling as rafting rivers and sharing the experience with family and friends.

However, we know that for those new to rafting, the difficulty rating used by kayakers might be a little intimidating or hard to understand. That’s why we put together this handy guide for anyone who wants to know how we classify the rivers and rapids, and what it means for bringing family and friends along.

Class I Rapids – Beginner with Young Children

Class I waters are very calm. Rarely will these be faster than a small current, and offer a great space for anyone bringing their families with young children, or those very new to the activity along with them. Because our routes sometimes go in between levels, we recommend families with very small children who are not strong swimmers not to go on routes that go anywhere beyond those classified as Class I and Class II. Check out our Family Rafting trip for Class I and II rapids!

Class II Rapids – Beginner

Class II is a little faster than Class I, but still very easy for anyone who’s relatively familiar with the water, and we promise, your guides are! Class II is fantastic if you have a family with children, or if you and a group of friends want a fun, social day out on the water. Our most popular rafting trip, the Zoar Gap Rafting trip, features Class II and some Class III rapids!

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you might want to explore what Class III has to offer…


Group of people excitedly rafting on the river at Zoar Outdoor

Class III Rapids – Intermediate

In Class III, the rapids are going to get a bit quicker, and you’re going to get parts of the river where you get some whitewater. Class III’s are great for those wanting a more thrilling day out, and want to really have some fun while still enjoying the calmer sections of Class I & II between rapids.

A number of our rafting trips feature both Class III rapids, including our Concord River Rafting, Millers River Rafting, and West River Rafting which all feature exciting Class III raids, and in some cases Class IV.

Because Class III waters are a little rougher, we don’t recommend families with children who cannot swim go on these routes.

Class IV Rapids – Adventurous!

Class IV is where the real adventure begins. Get ready for the rafts to crash through waves and for you to paddle with your guide through some exciting rapids bringing you on a serious thrill ride.

Level 4 is recommended for those who have had experience with rafting before and usually those who are definitely gung ho about the most exciting adventure they’ve had this season!

Our highest intensity rafting trip, featuring plenty of exciting Class IV rapids, is our Dryway Rafting trip!

If you’re interested in learning about how to register for an upcoming rafting trip, check out the upcoming dates, and learn how to register today.


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