I’ll be the first to admit, I was a little nervous about taking small children river rafting. But I shouldn’t have been and I only wish that I’d taken them sooner. It can be completely safe, you just need to make sure to choose a mild river and make sure to bring along someone with experience.

For our rafting experience we booked a trip with High Country Adventure on the Provo River, which made everything really easy. They provided the raft, the life jackets, some instruction, and a shuttle to the start of the river trip. They also have guides that can take you down the river if you are feeling a little nervous. And they know what they are talking about since High Country Adventure has been outfitting rafters since 1989.

The first part of our adventure began with picking out our life jackets, getting safety information, and waiting for our shuttle.

Jensens in Life Jackets

When the rafts were loaded onto the trailer, we got into the shuttle for a trip up the canyon. Everyone in the shuttle was excited to be going on the river so there was a lot of excited chatter and it was a beautiful drive through Provo Canyon.

Once we reached the launching site we all got out of the shuttle. The guides unloaded the rafts and set them into the water one at a time. We were the first raft to go so we didn’t have to wait long. Our raft floated in the water, securely held by two guides, as we stepped into the raft one at a time.

Raft Loading on the Provo River

After everyone was in and sitting down, we set off down the river. The water was clear, the sun was shining, and we had the stunning backdrop of Mount Timpanogos and other alpine pinnacles. It was the perfect day to be on the river.

Rafting the Provo River

And the kids absolutely loved it. Adventure Boy and Girl had been a little nervous about being on the water but soon they were laughing and talking and constantly pointing out different landmarks or other rafters to each other.

Adventure Babe had no fear of being on the water and her bravery continued once we were. She immediately wanted to touch the water. So she leaned over and touched it with her hand and let us all know that it was really cold. Pretty soon she wanted to touch the water with her feet. Adventure Dad helped lower her so that her toes could touch and she loved that so much that she wanted to be dropped in even more. Eventually Adventure Babe was riding alongside the raft in the river and laughing her head off.

Surfing the Provo River

Adventure Boy also loved being on the river and I knew that he would. He is my water lover. (You can’t drag that boy out of the ocean.) He was brave enough to jump into the water completely in one of the deeper areas and lasted a whole lot longer than I did (if only rivers were warmer). And he loved pretending to be explorers with his sisters, navigating uncharted waters and discovering new territory.

Toe Dipping While Rafting the Provo River

Adventure Girl was also a lot braver than me. After she saw Adventure Babe get into the water, she was dying to get in (couldn’t be shown up by her little sister). Adventure Girl stayed in the water at least double the amount of time that I did. She was also the most excited for any rapids (my little thrill-seeker).

Dunking in the Provo River While Rafting

Adventure Dad loved being on the river and, even though he lost his Garmin to it’s depths, had a great time. He loved holding Adventure Babe in the water and daring the other kids to jump in. He especially loved pressuring me to jump in, mostly just so he could see the look of shock on my face and the quick, uncoordinated scramble to get out. He even jumped in himself and stayed in much longer than anyone besides Adventure Babe. And somehow he found a way to incorporate a few life lessons here and there for our kids like taking care of our planet by picking up garbage, being kind to others, putting safety first, and being willing to take risks.

Picking up Litter on the Provo River
Picking up Litter

My favorite part were the rapids. There weren’t too many of them on the section of the Provo River that we went down and they weren’t too big but they gave you just enough of a thrill, and sometimes a little splash. The mom in me loved that they were small but the adventurer in me wanted to see some bigger rapids. Maybe we’ll have to schedule a couple trip with some bigger rapids in the future.

Rapids on the Provo River

We loved the entire trip and were only sad when it ended. We had a great time with High Country Adventure and would recommend them to anyone looking to go down the Provo River. They are open from late April thru October and offer a great family adventure. It’s the perfect summer activity. Besides, don’t you want to see absolute joy on your kids’ faces.

Smiling and Rafting on the Provo River