Two of the most popular rivers in the Northeast – the Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers – are right here in the Lake George Area’s metaphorical (and literal) backyard. Between the spring and fall seasons, thousands come to witness the flowing beauties that are these bodies of water.


Plenty of outdoor fun can be had on the water – boating, fishing, kayaking, the list goes on and on. However, one of the most sought out activities, attracting adventurers from all around, is the sport of Whitewater Rafting.


The ultimate group experience, whitewater rafting, has you paddle on varying wave intensities on a designated path across the waterways, providing an experience that can be either relaxing or exhilarating (especially with stronger rapids). The Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers provide plenty of ample opportunity for both tourists and sports enthusiasts alike, with rapid conditions ranging from easy to more of a distinct challenge.


Whichever river you and your group choose, the Lake George Area is home to an impressive amount of highly experienced rafting companies, each with expertly certified guides who are more than happy to assist you through every step of your rafting journey. Check out the list of companies and tours around the area, and don’t be afraid to try them all!

Understanding the Rapid Classification System

For the safety of you and your group, it is beneficial to understand the various classes that rapids can be listed as. Different spots of rivers feature different types of rapids depending on their course, so it’s a good idea to check that business’s description to know what you’ll be experiencing. Rapids can range from peaceful to thrilling, so make sure you sign up for a course you’ll be comfortable with.


Class I

Class I rapids are the easiest rapids you’ll encounter. They are often described as “smooth waterways with light waves and riffles.” There may be occasional sand banks and curves, but they are generally easy to navigate.


Class II

Class II rapids typically feature “clear and open passages between occasional rocks and ledges.” Some maneuvering may be required, so those with little to no experience in rafting might benefit from some assistance with paddling.


Class III

Class III rapids have “continuous stretches of high waves and rapids.” Rocks and eddies are present, creating clear, yet narrow passageways that require experience to traverse. It’s a good idea to have a guide with you, especially if you lack experience.


Class IV

Class IV rapids are “strong and continuous,” yet still predictable. Powerful and precise maneuvering will be required to successfully navigate. Only do these courses if you are experienced.


Class V

Class V rapids have the highest level of difficulty and should only be rafted by experts. These “long and violent” rapids feature drops and currents that require a high level of physical fitness to get through. Safety protocols and preparations are essential to have, along with proper guides.

The Spectacular Sacandaga River

The spectacular Sacandaga River is a tributary of the Hudson River, with access points located near Lake George. Much of the whitewater consists of slow-flowing Class I and II (and up to Class III) rapids, making this a safe and family-friendly outlet for rafting, as well as other recreational activities.

Looking to raft on the Sacandaga? Check out these local outfitters below:


Adirondack Adventure Center

Season: Early May - Early October

Dates: Daily

Time(s): 10:30AM-2:30PM

Located in Lake Luzerne (right outside Lake George), Adirondack Adventure Center hosts an affordable 2-hour whitewater rafting experience across 3.5 miles of fun and challenging Class II-III whitewater. This company has a private access point on the river, meaning there is no waiting for others. Must be 5 years of age or older.


Sacandaga Outdoor Center

Season: Memorial Day - Labor Day

Dates: Daily

Time(s): 10:30AM, 12:30PM and 2:30PM

Come join the Sacandaga Outdoor Center for a riveting family-friendly rafting experience that has been welcoming thousands for over 35 years. A staff of highly-trained guides oversees 6 daily departure trips, 7 days a week, ensuring the ultimate whitewater journey. They can match families and other small parties but can also accommodate groups of 25-200.


Wild Waters Outdoor Center (Sacandaga Base)

Season: May 25th - September 2nd (2024)

Dates: Daily

Time(s): 10:00AM, 12:00PM and 2:00PM

Discover the exciting world of whitewater rafting at Wild Waters Outdoor Center! Their 3.5-mile trip across the Sacandaga River includes an expertly-trained and enthusiastic guide as they navigate you through thrilling Class II and III rapids. Get splashed by clean and refreshing waves that will leave you with a smile on your face. Must be ages 5 and up.

The Honorable Hudson River

One of the biggest prides and joys of New York State. The Hudson River offers adventurers some of the most rip-roaring rafting around. Due to mass amounts of snowfall, giant whitewater is built up, resulting in Class III-V rapids (though conditions do tend to become more manageable by summer time). Do you have what it takes to conquer one of the biggest and best natural attractions in the Adirondacks?

Looking to raft on the Hudson? Check out these local outfitters below:


Adirondack Adventures

Season: Early May - Early October

Dates: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Time(s): 9:00AM

Come discover what everyone loves about the majestic Hudson River at Adirondack Adventures. Enjoy a scenic trip through the Adirondack Wilderness on this 3-4 hour adventure filled with excitement. A gourmet lunch is even provided by a local shop. Scream with exhilaration in big spring rapids or cannonball off a boulder during the warmer summer months.


Adirondack River Outfitters

Season: Early April - Early October

Dates: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Time(s): 9:00AM

Rafting the Hudson with Adirondack River Outfitters is a memory that will last forever. This 17-mile trek takes you through the “Grand Daddy” of NY whitewater rivers (it’s the longest stretch of whitewater in NY). Enjoy spectacular Adirondack scenery alongside one of their master storyteller guides.


Beaver Brook Outfitters

Season: April 13th - Columbus Day (2024)

Dates: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Time(s): 9:00AM

Plan the ultimate Adirondack adventure at Beaver Brook Outfitters. With varying Class III to V rapids (based on the month and time of season), this full-day trip takes you through 15 miles of whitewater, filled with spectacular scenery, splash fights, and even lunch on the river.


North Creek Rafting Company

Season: Early April - Early October

Dates: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Time(s): 9:00AM

Rafting the Hudson River is the perfect way to spend a day with friends or family, and North Creek Rafting Company is here to help you do just that. Paddle through over 17 series of awe-inspiring rapids as the 650-foot plunge through the Upper Hudson Gorge will take your breath away. Each season yields different thrills, so multiple trips may be needed. Lunches and gear are included.


Square Eddy Expeditions

Season: Early April - Early October

Dates: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Time(s): 9:00AM

Enjoy a full day of “laugh out loud fun” in the wild and scenic Adirondacks with Square Eddy Expeditions. Their just over 16-mile course runs through a series of rapids, though there are intentional swim holes scattered throughout. No previous paddling experience is necessary, but fun and laughter are guaranteed. Ages 8 and up are welcome, and riverside lunches are provided.


Whitewater Challengers

Season: Early April - Early October

Dates: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Time(s): 9:00AM

The Adventure Center at Whitewater Challengers and their team of outdoor lovers are ready to guide you on a thrilling whitewater rafting journey. Enjoy 15 miles of action, consisting of dozens of breathtaking rapids. Visit in the spring for the most intense experience, while a more family-oriented trip awaits in the summer and fall.


Wild Waters Outdoor Center (Hudson Base)

Season: April 13th - October 6th (2024)

Dates: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Time(s): 9:00AM

Discover the exciting world of whitewater rafting at Wild Waters Outdoor Center! Their 17-mile trip across the Hudson River consists of stunning scenery, adventurous whitewater, and a day filled with fun. Learn more about this area, rich in history, with one of their fun and knowledgeable guides. Ages 8 and up are allowed. Lunches are included.


(*Please Note: Due to the changing intensity of the rapids between seasons, age requirements may vary. Please review the terms and policies on the webpages of the selected companies above.)

Before Boarding the Raft

Before beginning your riverside adventure, it’s important to know what you need to bring with you. Most rafting companies provide the essentials, like rafting gear and equipment, as well as lunches (if it’s an all-day tour). However, there are certain criteria that you’ll need to consider before checking in.

Generally, most places will request:

  • Swimwear
  • Towels
  • Sunscreen
  • Sturdy Footwear (Not flip-flops or crocs)
  • Dry Change of Clothes (A good idea for the ride back)

Of course, individual places may have their own requirements and/or recommendations, so make sure you thoroughly review their website ahead of time.


Here’s to Happy Rafting!

*Outside research on the Rapid Classification System was found through New Mexico River Adventures and Colorado River Rentals.