What’s the best time to go rafting? Rafting season is generally April 1st thru Columbus Weekend in October. Dam releases are scheduled on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sundays. Spring season is the biggest water levels and the most excitement, with big waves and adventurous rapids. Spring water temps are cold with wetsuits required. Summer rafting features much warmer water temperatures and exciting rapids.
Who Can Go Rafting? Most anyone can enjoy rafting on the Upper Hudson River – in Spring the minimum age is 14 or 16, but it drops to 8 years old in the Summer. Check with individual outfitters as to specific age requirements. Experienced is generally not required except for very high water levels in the Spring. Seniors in their 80s have enjoyed the Gorge.
What if I can’t Swim? Non-swimmers do fine on the Hudson. All guests are outfitted with a Type V life jacket and guides ensure it is adjusted and fits perfectly. If a person is a non-swimmer because of a fear of water, you might try a more calm trip like the nearby Sacandaga River before attempting the Hudson.
What should we wear? In the Spring wetsuits are required. Under the wetsuits you can wear shorts or a bathing suit, but for colder weather synthethic (polyester or polypro) long underwear is very helpful. Over the wetsuit you can add a rain slicker or nylon pullover to further cut the wind and keep you warm. A thin wool beanie worn under the helmet can help keep you warm on the coldest days. Wetsuits come with booties and gloves or mittens. In Summer – dress to swim! Summer rafters wear shorts or a bathing suit with maybe a windbreaker on cool days, sneakers or sandals round out the kit.
What else should we bring? Outfitters will provide a snack or lunch on the river with water or other drinks (hot in Spring, cold in Summer). You can add your own light snacks, nutrition bars and extra water bottle. Cameras can be brought but they should be waterproof and secured to your life vest or stowed in a pocket. Most trips are filmed and you can view and purchase photos after the trip. If you require medication on the river, notify your outfitter/guide and they can stow it in a waterproof bag or give you guidance on how to carry it safely.
How long is the trip? The Upper Hudson River Gorge begins on the Indian River for 3.5 miles then follows the Hudson River to North River, for a total of 16 miles to the take-out in North River. Spring trips can be as short as 3 hours, but Summer levels are lower and slower, so plan on as long as 5 hours on the river.
Are their bathroom facilities? There are porta potties at the put-in in Indian Lake and also at the take-out in North River. In between there are no facilities, but most outfitters do stop about midway for primitive toilet stops.
What about our car keys? Don’t bring anything of value on the river – no wallets, watches, jewelry, or CAR KEYS! Lock all your valuables in your car and the outfitter will have a safe place to store your keys while you are on the river.