“It was the highlight of our vacation!” … Year after year, wave after wave, this is our most frequent compliment
Frequently Asked Questions
How much experience do you need?
None! Roughly half of our customers that we take down the river have never been whitewater rafting. All of our guides know this and go over a very detailed safety speech in which they will personally go around and show you how to sit and the best ways to keep yourself in the boat. To help ease some nerves, there are two great benefits to this river for first-timers. The first half of the trip is fairly mellow. You’ll get wet, but it is not too daunting. This allows you the time to get used to being in the boat. You are not going to be thrown into the boat and hit the biggest wave of the trip in the first five minutes. The second half of the trip is where all the bigger waves are. The other nice thing about the Snake River is that it is classified as a “Pool and drop river”, which basically means that after every section of waves, you are going to have a nice calm section afterwards before you hit your next set of waves. So you have time to sit back and relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the canyon between waves. The people who were nervous usually have the best time!
Do I need to paddle?
No, you do not. Our standard boat is probably the best boat for you as you can sit in the middle and be in the front of the boat and get soaked, or you can sit in the back of the boat closer to the guide (the closer to the guide, the drier you will be!) and not get as wet. If you would like to be in an 8 man raft, we can also make arrangements so that you would not have to paddle.
How do I know if my kids are ready for their first trip?
The most important thing is that your kids like to be around water and are not afraid of it. The next thing to ask is if your kids like exciting things. You know your kids the best, but as a general rule, if the answer to the two above questions is yes, then they are ready for their first whitewater trip.
Also, the layout of our river trip is perfect for kids. The first half of the trip has mostly class I and class II waves, so kids have time to get use to being on the river and getting a little wet before the bigger waves of the second part of the trip. There are also nice breaks between the waves where you are floating for a while and have time to laugh and talk about how cool the last wave was before you hit the next wave.
Lastly, our guides are very well trained and watch kids in the rafts closely. If they see that your child is a little timid, then they will suggest that your child sit towards the back of the raft in the middle. If they see that your child is excited and loves getting wet, then they will move them up so that they are sitting in the front of the raft.
Can kids be in an 8 man boat?
During most of the season it is not a problem if kids would like to ride in the 8 man raft. The most important thing is that we have enough able bodies to paddle in the raft. Certain high water conditions may cause us to raise the age limit for an 8 man boat.
Do I need to know how to swim?
No, you do not. Every person on the trip will be issued a type V Personal Flotation Device, better known as a life jacket. These devices are designed to float your head above the surface of the water even if you do not know how to swim. Having the ability to swim will enhance your comfort zone as well as your ability to get out of the river in the event you should find yourself out of the raft. A detailed safety lecture of instructions is given before the rafts are launched.
Do You Run Trips if it's Raining?
Our river trips leave as scheduled rain or shine. We supply splash gear for free, and wetsuits and booties are available to rent. However, we reserve the right to cancel or shorten a trip due to extreme weather conditions that would cause the trip to be unsafe. Whitewater rafting is a wet activity by nature, and assuming that you are dressed appropriately, we think this is the best outdoor activity for a rainy day!
We have a 48-hour cancellation policy for all of our trips and a 7-day cancellation policy for groups of 10 people or more. A 100% refund will be given for anyone who cancels before these time periods.
The number of trips and seats that Dave Hansen Whitewater can offer are limited by the U.S. Forest Service river management plan. Once you reserve your trip, we are no longer able to sell your seat to other individuals or groups. Therefore, if you do cancel your trip within the hours of our policy, we can only refund your money if we are able to fill your spots.
What should I bring? What should I wear?
Whitewater Trips: You want to wear as little cotton as possible on the river (especially no jeans or sweatshirts). Swimsuit is ideal and fleece, wool and polypropylene are also very good fabrics to wear if you are concerned about being cold. We do supply splash gear and you can rent wetsuits and neoprene booties. Renting wetsuits and booties are a great way to ensure that you will not be cold during the trip.
You also want to wear shoes that you can get wet…Tevas, Sneakers, or anything that is attached to your foot will work. You cannot go barefoot on the river (there is a short walk at the end of the trip up to where the bus is) and you cannot wear flip-flops because they can fall off and float away in the river. We do rent neoprene boots at our shop for $4 and they are perfect to wear if you want to keep your shoes dry and keep your body warmer.
Overall, don’t bring anything that you don’t want to get wet. Keys can be left at our front desk or in the bus. You will want to wear sunscreen and you can leave sweatshirts and towels on the bus for when the trip is over. It is not recommended to bring cameras on the whitewater trip unless they are waterproof (we do sell waterproof disposable cameras at the office).
Scenic Trips: Wear clothes that you are comfortable in. Most any morning in Jackson Hole, even in the summer months, will be cool. But as soon as the sun pops up, the air temperature warms up pretty fast. If you are doing a morning scenic float, it would be a good idea to bring a sweatshirt or light jacket along that you can put on underneath your life jacket. If you get to the river and decide that you do not need a jacket, then you can leave it on the bus before you get in the raft.
We also ask you to wear shoes that you would not mind getting wet. We do our best to keep your shoes dry, but we are surrounded by water and feet sometimes get wet getting in and out of the boat.
Feel free to bring your own camera or set of binoculars. It is recommended to have a secure strap to hold them so that they do not fall into the water.
What class rapids are on the Snake River?
On a scale from I-VI, the rapids on the Snake River are class II-III during normal water flows. During the springtime run-off (typically the first couple weeks in June), we do have waves that can get up to a class IV. When the river gets up to these levels, our minimum age limit may change. We do suggest that if you are planning a trip for the first couple weeks of June and you are traveling with kids, to give us a call to make sure that our age limit has not been raised.
Could I fall out?
Going for a short swim is always a possibility, but as a general rule, if you are scared about falling out, you probably won’t fall out. All of our guides go over an extensive safety speech before the trip begins, which includes how to keep yourself in the raft and the proper way to sit. We find that the people who are worried about falling listen carefully to these suggestions.
However, if you do fall out, there is no need to panic. Everyone wears a Class V life jacket that will keep you head above the level of the water. Most of our rapids end in pools or calm sections before the next wave, so we can get you back in the raft fairly quick if you happen to fall out.
What is your minimum age?
Our age limit for kids is usually 6 years old. There are some trips and times of the year where we do take down kids as young as 4 years old. There are certain water levels during the run-off season where we may raise our age limit. Please give us a call to discuss if you have more questions.
Is there an upper age limit?
No, we only have age restrictions for the younger kids, which is usually six years old. The oldest person that we took down last year in the whitewater section was 86 years old. We do, however, expect everyone to reasonably evaluate his or her fitness and health levels before taking a whitewater rafting trip. If you have any questions or concerns, then it would be best to contact your physician.
Where do we meet?
Our office in downtown Jackson is located at 225 West Broadway, which is right on the corner of Broadway and Millward, about 2 blocks west of the town square.
We also have an alternate location 10 miles south of town on Highway 89 at Snake River Park KOA. This location is closer to the whitewater and upper canyon scenic sections. Some people find it more convenient to be picked up at this location, but be sure to let our office know so the bus picks you up!
If you prefer, we can also meet you at where your trip begins. For whitewater trips that would be at West Table boat ramp and for scenic trips it would be either at Pritchard Creek or Wilson Bridge, depending on your trip. If you would like to meet us at where your trip begins, please give us a call so we can give you directions. If you are planning to drive down to Salt Lake after your trip, driving your car down to West Table and leaving your car there can save you about an hour.
Do you take our picture?
We do not take your pictures, but there is an excellent company in town called Float O Graphs that will be taking your picture while you are going through either Big Kahuna or Lunch Counter. They are located in the town of Jackson and photos of your trip can be viewed after you get back from town or online when you get home (they keep the pictures for five years). If you have time, we really suggest that you swing by their shop in town to see your pictures because they have many great picture combinations and packages to choose from.
Where should we stay?
There are a lot of great places to stay in Jackson Hole. If you are looking for a great place to camp, please check out Snake River Park KOA, our sister company. Located right on the Snake River, there are sites for camping, RV hook-ups, and “Kamping Kabins.”
Also, The Virginian, The Parkway Inn, Snow King Resort, Trapper Inn, the Ranch Inn, and Flat Creek Motel are all places we highly recommend.