New York White Water Rafting


Is white water rafting a popular activity in New York?

If you’ll be visiting the area soon, should you consider rafting too?

When white water rafting NY, where are the best places to go?

Many times, when people visit New York as tourists, they want to see the sights and spend time in the city. This is a great way to enjoy some of your trip to New York, but for a break from the norm, why not try rafting as well?

There are many great places where you can enjoy white water rafting in New York. No matter whether you’re a beginner, an advanced rafter, or an intermediate somewhere in-between, you’ll be able to find a rafting experience best suited to your skills and abilities.

In this article, we’ll show you five of our top picks and give you all the information you need to know about how best to enjoy your outdoor adventures in New York. Check out our favorite NY rafting adventures and discover the pros and cons of each of them.

Take your time, look through our choices, and see which river or rivers are right for you!

Option #1. Moose River

Difficulty: Advanced
Cost: $$$
Location: Old Forge, New York
Trip durations available: Half-Day and Full-Day

The Moose River is one of the most intense whitewater rafting experiences in New York, especially when you visit during the earlier part of the rafting season. It’s ideal for those looking for a challenge, and it’s recommended for those who have had at least Class III rapids experience in the past. This is a 13-mile rafting adventure, although some shorter half-day versions of the trip are available depending on the company you go with.


  • This is a popular rafting experience for those who are more advanced, and as such, the guides and other people in your party are more likely to be advanced rafters as well.
  • Most of the companies that offer trips on the Moose River include at least one meal.


  • Rafters must be at least 18 years old for this trip.
  • Wetsuits are usually required by rafting companies on this trip.

Option #2. 1000 Islands

Difficulty: Intermediate
Cost: $$
Location: Watertown, NY
Trip durations available: Half-Day and Full-Day

1000 Islands is a unique place to visit, whether you’re planning to raft there or not. And with many other exciting outdoor adventures to find in the area, there are plenty of reasons to check out this charming location for yourself—or with the whole family.


  • Those who want a lazier river experience can travel up and down the quieter stretches of water and visit the small towns along the riverbanks.
  • For whitewater rafting, Black River Gorge in 1000 Islands offers a great intermediate experience that’s tough enough for most to feel challenged but reasonable enough for families to traverse together.


  • During spring and early summer, rafters must be at least 16.
  • During late summer, the water level may not be high enough at all times for rafting to take place.

Option #3. Sacandaga River

Difficulty: Beginner
Cost: $
Location: Lake George Village, NY
Trip durations available: Quarter-Day and Half-Day

The three-and-a-half-mile rafting trip down the Sacandaga River is the perfect way for beginners or families with young children to get out and enjoy the world of New York rafting! This is a shorter trip that only has one big rapid and a few smaller ones. Everyone is sure to get wet and have lots of fun on this simple and easy rafting excursion.


  • This river has access near some of the other popular rafting adventures in the area so it can easily become part of a bigger rafting day.
  • At the end of the trip, rafters can enjoy a swim section of the river.


  • Experienced rafters probably won’t enjoy this beginner-level ride.
  • There are only a few trips a day available on this river, even during the summer.

Option #4. Hudson River

Difficulty: Advanced
Cost: $$
Location: Adirondacks, NY
Trip durations available: Half-Day and Full-Day

The Hudson River is one of the most popular and well-known rafting experiences in New York. An upstream dam offers scheduled releases throughout the season and increases the water levels at certain times of the year, so the rafting trip is quite different during the spring when the water is higher than it is in fall when levels are low.


  • There’s something for everyone on this rafting trip, depending on the time of year when you visit.
  • Experienced rafters will enjoy the challenge of rafting the Hudson during the spring.


  • During spring, the trip is 18 and up only, although during fall the minimum age drops to 12 years.
  • Weather and water levels affect the availability of trips on this river more so than others on our list.

Option #5. Lake George

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
Cost: $$
Location: Lake George, NY
Trip durations available: Half-Day or Full-Day

Lake George is the name of a larger area that includes the Hudson River as well as some other whitewater rafting experiences and outdoor activities too.


  • This area has many different activities to pick from as well as several rafting skill levels represented.
  • Those who prefer kayaking will find plenty of kayaking opportunities throughout the Lake George area.


  • Lake George’s rafting availability may vary depending on the river or section of river you’re interested in checking out.
  • During the peak rafting season, this area may become very crowded and could be difficult to navigate because of the increased traffic on the rivers.


When does the rafting season begin in New York? Should you go during peak season or off-season? The most common time to visit New York for rafting purposes is June through August, but spring is also a great time to go. Depending on which river you choose and what kind of experience you’re looking for, spring might even be a better option for you than summer.

Here are some reasons to go during peak season:

  • Peak season has the best weather, so you’ll be sure to enjoy warm and sunny days more often than not when you go during the summer.
  • Many areas known for their rafting offer summer specials, and some stores and local businesses are only open during these months because of the influx of tourists at the time.
  • You should have no trouble scheduling a tour on any river you’re interested in during the peak season, since there are many time slots available and most companies run daily.

And here are some reasons to consider going during off-season:

  • Although there are a lot of scheduling availabilities during peak season, they may book up faster than they do during the off-season, so scheduling ahead is crucial during the summer.
  • If you’re planning to raft the Hudson River specifically, it’s usually at its highest during the spring instead of the summer.
  • Off-season hotel rooms are often a lot more affordable than peak season rooms.

Whenever you choose to visit New York, be sure to read up on rafting safety beforehand and listen to everything your instructor and guide has to tell you. Safety is an important factor in any whitewater rafting adventure, whether you’re experienced or not!

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