White Water Rafting For The Disabled

White Water Rafting For The Disabled

Whitewater rafting is undoubtedly one of the most challenging extreme adventure sports. It is also a popular recreational therapy everyone enjoys, including the disabled. While those with severe disabilities could not enjoy these rides before, nothing now stops the disabled from going on a river adventure or float trips.

Thanks to adaptive equipment, and the guidance and skills of efficient guides, people with limited mobility can now experience the thrill of the rapids. They even get to choose the experience they want; a relaxing float trip down the river or something adrenaline-filled.

We at Advantage Grand Canyon offer some of the most enjoyable river raft trips for disabled persons. Read on to learn more about these trips.

What is an adaptive rafting trip?

An adaptive rafting adventure lets the disabled go on a raft ride under the guidance and navigation of guides through rapids and around rocks. They, however, cannot go on the trip on their own. They should go in a group, or at least with; a parent or a caregiver accompanying them.

Our guides will also be on hand to help if required. However, disabled persons will have to inform us that they need assistance during the booking process.

And in the case of guests who do not have a collapsible wheelchair, they will have to mention this in the booking process. This is so that we can make arrangements to transport them to and from the river.

Wheelchair users should wheel to the drop-in location upon reaching the site. As this spot is not wheelchair accessible, guests with mobility issues may require help to access the place. Our guides, friends, and participating family members will provide the necessary aid.

Once everyone settles down, our guide will distribute personal and safety equipment to all participants. Consequently, they will give a safety briefing and inform everyone about what they should do in emergencies, like falling into the cold water.

Essential equipment for river trips


There are different types of rafts we offer for our passengers.

- Oar boat

Oar boats are large rafts where our guide sits or stands in its center. They then use the help of two large, long oars to steer the boat down the river. These boats are large enough to carry four passengers and food, supplies, and gear for the trip. There is enough space for passengers to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey comfortably.

- Paddle raft

Paddle rafts are comparatively smaller than oar boats but carry more people. It can accommodate about four to eight persons along the sides, while our guide sits in the back. As the name suggests, passengers need to paddle to move the raft down the river. This is why only participants who can and are up to the challenge to put in extra paddling effort go on these rides.

While the passengers do the paddling, the guide steers the raft from the back. This is a more extreme and exercise-intensive option than oar boat trips as much paddling is involved. For more details read about motorized rafting vs paddle oar dory rafting

General supplies

There are some general resources all passengers need to carry while going on a rafting adventure. Like any adventure water sport, you need to wear a helmet and life jacket. In addition to this, you will also have to bring sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing for sun protection. This includes long-sleeved pants, shirts, sunglasses, and a hat.

You can wear a bathing suit under loose, quick-drying long-sleeved clothes. And depending on when you go, you may require a wet suit and waterproof jacket for added warmth if you get wet. Don't forget to wear some closed-toed athletic or water shoes.

Adaptive equipment

In addition to the available equipment, we have different types of adaptive gear in store for the disabled. The choice of equipment we use depends on the participant's disability:

Adaptive rafting chair

Passengers with limited trunk mobility who require more balance or core support in the boat will need an adaptive rafting chair. Don't get misled with the name. This chair is nothing but a plastic lawn chair without any legs, secured safely to the raft.


Thwarts - Adaptive equipment

A thwart is an alternative we have for boats that do not have an adaptive chair. They are round, inflatable seats that you can use to give yourself as much leg, core, and back support as required.

Portable access path

We meet many people in wheelchairs who want to go on a raft trip every day, which is why we have a portable access path for them. This is nothing but a movable, rubber path measuring more than 5 feet in width and 30 feet in length.

It serves as a route for the disabled to easily access the raft on soft shore terrains like sand or clay where the wheelchair may otherwise sink or get stuck.

Our multiple rafting trip options

We offer a choice of rafting trips to choose based on the weather and the amount of time you have. Our one-day trips go through the Colorado Green River every day while our two-day trips traverse through the Colorado River, along with Fisher Towers and Westwater Canyon.

We also have a five-day rafting adventure tour through Utah's spectacular National Park, where you and your team can go walking, on a hike, and even get to spend the night camping under the stars. You can choose between a trip through Cataract Canyon, Canyonlands National Park on Colorado River, the Gate of Lodore on Green River, and the Dinosaur National Monument on Yampa River.

Popular Colorado river rafting spots

1. Fisher Towers section

You will enjoy the incredible sights you see while floating, swimming, or paddling down this section of the Colorado River. The sweeping views of fiery canyon walls are a sight to behold, including snow-capped mountains and Fisher Towers' sandstone spires. You also have the moderate rapids Ida, Cloudburst, White's, and Professor providing enough whitewater adrenaline excitement.

2. Ruby & Horsethief Canyon

This class II stretch of the Colorado River is known for its unique geology, history, and wildlife. It starts near Loma, Colorado, outside the Utah border, and is home to birds of prey like Red Tail Hawks and Bald Eagles.

The Black Rocks Campsite is famous for its geological phenomenon, the highly polished, unique, and ancient black rock schist. Rafting enthusiasts can run this stretch on either a raft or canoe on 3-4 day trips that start at the Ruby & Horsethief Canyon, ending at Westwater Canyon.

3. Westwater Canyon

This is perhaps the most exciting stretch of the Colorado River. The trip starts with a swift float past the historic 'Miner's Cabin. While you get to view the Canyon's wildlife and majestic scenery, the excitement builds as you approach the Little Delores rapids.

The river narrows as you move forward, and you end up surrounded by towering granite cliffs and black gneiss. You also get to experience the thrill of ten Class III-IV rapids like Funnel Falls and Skull, offering the utmost white-water action experience in the last six miles.

Are you now interested in riding the rapids with your disabilities? If yes, all you need to do is callt us at Advantage Grand Canyon. Let us organize a visit and memorable Grand Canyon rafting trips for you to enjoy and participate in.


Here are the most commonly asked questions disabled people ask us about rafting trips.