White Water Rafting In Texas


Have you ever considered going white water rafting in Texas?

Are there good opportunities for rafting throughout the state?

Does the white water rafting Texas experience differ from other places?

If you’ve never considered rafting in Texas, you may want to think about it. Although Texas might not be the first state many people associate with whitewater rafting, there are nevertheless plenty of great places to go if you’re looking for an excellent rafting experience.

In this article, we’ll show you three of our top picks for Texas-based whitewater rafting. For each location, we’ll give you some basics and help you understand how long you’ll potentially be out on the water when rafting these rivers as well as any pros and cons you should consider before you plan your trip.

Remember that, no matter which river you choose, you should always do some additional research and find out whether or not it’s suitable for you and everyone else who may be joining you. Some rivers are more intense than others, and some may be too much of a challenge for certain people.

It’s also important to plan rafting trips ahead of time, so you can call and book your seat on the raft. This way, you don’t have to worry about scrambling to make your vacation perfect at the last minute.

Read on to find out more about rafting opportunities in Texas!

Option #1. Big Bend National Park

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
Cost: $$$
Location: Lajitas, Texas
Trip durations available: Half-Day, Full-Day, Two-Day, and Multi-Day

If you’re looking for an incredible adventure you just can’t miss when it comes to white water rafting in Texas, the Big Bend National Park is sure to please! There are many different rafting locations and opportunities within this National Park, and there’s a little something for everyone.

  • Santa Elena Canyon: This portion of the river offers plenty of wildlife viewing and includes one rapid that can be Class IV when the water levels are high enough.
  • Mariscal Canyon: This is an extremely out-of-the-way location with mostly Class II rapids and a great chance to float along the river. Choose this canyon when you’re looking for a very private getaway.
  • Boquillas Canyon: Usually only available as part of a two-day or multi-day trip, this is an intermediate adventure that allows plenty of viewing and floating comfortably as well as a few rapids for extra entertainment.


  • There is a very low-impact beginner raft available at Big Bend Ranch State Park that’s perfect for families and riders who may have some physical limitations.
  • Some of the portions of the rivers available within the National Park are very advanced and can be challenging for more experienced rafters.


  • The water levels may be too low for the majority of these rafting trips, and in fact often are, so many rafting companies will offer canoeing as a backup option for anyone whose trip cannot be taken on a raft.
  • These are more commonly floating trips rather than high-impact rafting trips, with just a few exceptions.

Option #2. Rio Grande Gorge

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Cost: $$
Location: Taos, New Mexico
Trip durations available: Full-Day

To begin with, it’s important to note that this river rafting experience is not in Texas, but is in fact in New Mexico. However, if you’re looking for a truly intense rafting experience with plenty of whitewater rapids to enjoy, this is the closest location to Texas available. Many Texas-based rafting enthusiasts go out of their way at least once a year to raft in the Rio Grande Gorge because of its proximity and its high-quality rapids, too.


  • Depending on the rafting company you go with, you can find many full-day adventures on the Rio Grande that incorporate rapids of several different difficulty classes.
  • Most day-length trips include a break and lunch as well as plenty of guided information about the area.


  • Children must be at least 13 years of age to safely raft on the Rio Grande.
  • Portions of the river may be very crowded depending on the time of year when you visit.

Option #3. Guadalupe River

Difficulty: Beginner
Cost: $$
Location: Canyon Lake, TX
Trip durations available: Quarter-Day, Half-Day

The Guadalupe River provides ample opportunities for beginners to float and paddle their way through lush scenery and beautiful Texas sights. The vast majority of the tours offered on the Guadalupe River are innertube-based and do not take place on a raft; however, some are available on rafts as well, depending on the company you end up going with. Even the tubing trips are available with a guide, however, so you can learn about the area and make sure you have the best and safest possible experience when enjoying your time on the river.


  • There are plenty of floating opportunities available for families and beginners of all ages just looking to get their feet wet in Texas.
  • It’s easy to find this river, and the location is populated during peak season, so there’s no risk of tubing completely alone.


  • It may be impossible to stop your tour ahead of time if you choose to, because much of the land surrounding the river is private property.
  • There are many restrictions when it comes to bringing items along on this river, so be sure to read up on these ahead of time.


As you can see, there are plenty of good options to pick from when you want to go rafting in Texas. Depending on the skill level of you and everyone else in your party, you may be able to find one or more rivers to help meet all your needs.

But is white water rafting really the only thing you can do during your Texas outdoor vacation? What are some other activities you might want to try while you’re in Texas? Here are just some of the fun and exciting outdoor activities you might want to consider trying on your next trip to Texas:

  • Tubing: One of the most popular outdoor activities in Texas is tubing. Many rivers that are too calm for whitewater rafting can provide excellent opportunities for tubing, and families and individuals alike regularly enjoy drifting down these rivers and enjoying the scenery as they go.
  • White water kayaking: Kayaking is another fun alternative that’s popular in Texas. Unlike rafting, most kayaks only hold one person, so kayaking is a solo event. You can, however, often book a kayaking trip with a group that travels together down the river if you’re still looking for something you can participate in with your whole family.
  • Non-water activities: Of course, there is plenty of fun to be had outside the water, too! With many hiking, biking, and horseback riding adventures throughout the state, you’ll never have to worry about running out of things to do when you’re looking to fill up your vacation with fun in the sun in Texas.

No matter which activities you plan, be sure you call ahead, and make sure everyone in your party dresses accordingly for each activity, too. Brush up on safety tips and share them with everyone who will be traveling with you. And remember to always listen to your tour guides!

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