If you are looking for a fun adventure, look no further than a whitewater rafting trip down the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia!
It’s been a crazy year, and we were looking for a last minute adventure before school started. We finally settled on taking our boys, ages 14 and 9, on their first whitewater rafting trip! It’s been years since I rafted down the Ocoee River in Tennessee, and I had no idea that there was a world class rafting course on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia!
Whitewater Express in Columbus offers 3 levels of whitewater rafting fun:
- Classic Trip – 2 hours – minimum age of 7
- Challenge Trip – 2.5 hours – minimum age of 12
- Carnage Trip – 2.5 hours – minimum age of 12
Family Friendly Fun
We selected the Classic Trip with Whitewater Express – Chattahoochee. Our family had such a great time. The RushSouth Whitewater Park on the Chattahoochee River is the longest urban whitewater rafting in the world! Our guide explained to us that when the developers were planning the course, they looked very carefully at the layout of the rocks and boulders that were already in the Chattahoochee River. They added some boulders and moved the location of others. This created a course that is easy enough for beginners, but challenging enough for experts. The result was exciting and fun rapids, even for beginners. Trips range from $39.95 to $74.95, and group rates are available, and military discounts are available.
From visitcolumbusga.com, “This course consists of over 5 class 4+ rapids and 10 smaller rapids. It’s one of the most exciting whitewater rafting rivers in the US! The biggest distinction between this river and other rivers is the volume of water which will be in the river when it is rafted. For comparison, the rapids on the Ocoee River can reach up to 1,100 cubic feet per second in volume, while the rapids at the Chattahoochee can reach up to 13,000 cubic feet per second in volume. This makes the rapids the largest south of Canada and east of the Chattahoochee!”
I purchased our tickets online a few days prior to our rafting trip. The Classic Course trips are taking in the morning, and the more challenging course trips are taken in the afternoon. This is because more water is released by the dam throughout the day, which increases the intensity level. Our trip was scheduled to begin at 10:00, and we were instructed to arrive 30 min prior to fill out paperwork. This paperwork is whitewater release forms as well as a Covid-19 waiver. There are lockers available in the restrooms, but we left our belongings in the car and put our keys in the storage bin.
After filling out everything, we were taken into the supply room and suited up with life jackets, helmets and given our paddles. Make sure to look for the aquarium that stores all the cool things they’ve found in the river, including giant shark teeth, tons of cell phones and even a grimy macbook!
We met our guide, Harris, and hopped in the transport van to take us to the drop off point. Harris gave us our safety spiel, and we were on our way.
Bonus tip: Be prepared to get VERY wet. We wore swimsuits and t-shirts. Shoes with a strap on the back, water shoes, or tennis shoes are required. Flip flops and sunglasses will get lost! I left my phone in the car because I was more afraid of losing it than I was of missing out on pictures.
Let’s get this party started!
If you’ve been rafting on most whitewater trips, the water tends to be very chilly. Not so for this time of year for the Chattahoochee. If you are traveling during cooler months, wet suits are available. The water felt amazing on our trip. We hoped in the raft and Harris showed us the proper way to hold our paddles, and we were off! My oldest son was super excited about our adventure, but my younger son was slightly hesitant. Good thing we just jumped right in, braving one of the bigger rapids on the classic course!
Unique Whitewater Rafting Fun
Rafting on the Chattahoochee River was very different from other rafting trips I’ve taken. For first, the water temperature was much more comfortable. Secondly, there were solid “breaks” in the action, so we were really able to take in the scenery and look for wildlife. I was much younger when I rafted on the Ocoee, and I think I really enjoyed calmer side of the Chattahoochee. There is enough adventure to keep it exciting, but enough calmness to be enjoyable.
Rafters on the classic course are able to jump in on a slower section of the river and enjoy a lazy river float. Make sure you keep you feet forward and stay floating on your back; those boulders and rocks can be hiding under the water! We thoroughly enjoyed floating down the river and looking for wildlife on the banks.
Listen to your Guide and Smile!!
After our float, we were back in the raft and ready for our next few rapids. Make sure to listen carefully to your guide, because it is their ultimate goal for you to be safe while having fun. The more rapids we went through the more comfortable our younger son became. By the end of the trip, he was begging to go again. Our guide, Harris, was extremely skilled in whitewater rafting, and was super engaging and entertaining. During our 2 hours with him we had a blast! Just before the end of the trip at one of the larger rapids, your guide will point out a photographer ready to take some action shots of your crew. You can purchase these for $24.95, and receive all of them. Definitely worth every penny for us to be able to have a permanent reminder of such a fun trip.
Let’s Wrap it Up!
After your raft trip you exit the river and then begin a short walk back to the store front to return your gear. There are clean bathrooms for you to get changed before you head home, as well as a very nice gift shop to browse. Please remember to tip your guide for doing a great job. I promise you they work hard to keep you safe!
If you are looking for a fun adventure, I would definitely recommend a whitewater rafting trip down the Chattahoochee River. We are already planning a trip back for one of the more challenging courses. This trip was the perfect end to our summer, and absolutely something we won’t forget!
Liked this adventure and looking for more Alabama adventures and fun? Be sure to check out my time spelunking in Alabama’s DeSoto Caverns!