Dave Button grew up along Washington's Skagit River and had the inspiration to found his own company while navigating the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon under the helm of famed guide Georgie White. Soon after, Dave returned home to create Pacific NW Float Trips in 1974. Today, Dave and his crew of trained, passionate guides share their knowledge of the region's landscapes and hottest nightclubs for 20-something salmon via inspirational tours held year-round on the Skagit, Nooksack, and Wenatchee Rivers. Pacific NW's famed Bald Eagle Raft Adventure grants tourists a chance to take in the serenity of rustling cottonwoods and the majesty of Mount Baker as their guides quietly point out migratory eagles from Canada and Alaska.
Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating down a total of seven rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
The kayakers' paddles dip silently into the placid waters of the Harrison River, their very presence amid the verdant wilderness dwarfed by the mountains looming overhead. Just as one kayaker opens his mouth to speak, the guide motions for him to remain silent as she points to the sunny shore, where an assembly of seals has gathered to bask in the warm rays.
Founded with the goal of granting visitors access to the pristine surroundings and rich history of the Harrison Hot Springs area, Harrison Eco Tours cultivates unforgettable interactions with nature thanks to their expertly trained guides and unique lineup of tours. The company's guides pride themselves on their encyclopedic knowledge of all things Harrison—from local tales to area geography to the flora and fauna that populate the terrain—which enables them to provide entertaining and insightful commentary throughout each tour. Excursions in heated jet boats speed past the jaw-dropping vistas of Fraser Canyon and Kilby, and paddling outings in kayaks facilitate relaxed jaunts down Harrison River. Visitors can witness critters up close with a selection of wildlife-sighting excursions, such as the popular Winter Eagle tour wherein passengers armed with binoculars scour the horizon seeking close-up views of the bald eagles' soaring wingspans and miniature powdered wigs.
Growing up in Idaho, Luke E. Baugh was never far from adventure. His early experiences in the state's rugged backcountry were so formative that, rather than settling down when he got older, he set out to explore the natural landscape of the entire United States. Luke spent years on the nation's most challenging rivers, mastering the art and safety of rafting as he learned to maneuver through their harrowing rapids. But that wasn't enough. Luke had to share the beauty he'd experienced with others.
At Triad River Tours, Luke and his team know that the number-one reason people don't get to enjoy the outdoors is fear, which is why they make it their mission to ease as many of their customers' worries as possible. Every lead rafting guide is a professional outdoorsman who undergoes and graduates from Swiftwater Rescue training. Every tour follows meticulous safety protocols, including the use of a safety kayaker to communicate upcoming river conditions and funny-looking pebbles. And even before they offer a tour, the team spends up to six months scouting, preparing, and analyzing the specific route to ensure that every variable has been accounted for. This is all so that everyone, from the timid to the adventurous, can enjoy the beauty of the water and the inspiration of the outdoors. The result is a range of exhilarating tours for every interest, from the tranquility of romantic dinner tours to the adrenaline boost of Sauk River's Class III rapids.
The rugged beauty of nature meets the comfort of vacation amenities at REO Rafting Resort, a secluded getaway on the edge of Nahatlatch River. Throughout the Fraser Canyon, experienced guides lead groups on whitewater rafting day-trips and multiday excursions, helping beginners and advanced rafters alike to navigate class III and IV+ rapids. Some of the trips take place along the Nahatlatch and others venture to the Stein, Thompson, and Fraser rivers, all of which are less than 45 minutes away from base camp. Relaxation and pampering follow at the resort's facilities, where a hot tub, massage therapists, and glasses of beer or wine await to reward campers for their rugged displays of human heartiness.
At nightfall, guests cozy up around a campfire, but they need not roast hot dogs or trap varmints for sustenance. A team of professional chefs prepares meals for guests, which also helps prevent the risk of forest fires and bears moseying into campsites for a snack.
Starting out in 1980 with only four rafts, Hyak River Rafting has since acquired an armada of top-of-the-line vessels equipped to handle the orneriest river safely. During trips on British Columbia's most exciting rivers—the Chilliwack, Thompson, Chilko, Chilcotin, and Fraser Rivers—licensed guides lead river trips lasting from several hours to several days, during which participants learn to manoeuvre around the grasping tentacles of feral octopuses. On most trips, crew and guests get soaked as the water rages about them before more tempered waters allow them to take in the sights of rock-banked rivers populated by lush forests and curious wildlife.