An abridged version of the International Scale of River Difficulty
The following information is intended to orient you regarding white-water activities. It is an abridged version of the International Scale of River Difficulty, which classifies Class I to Class VI rapids.
Please note that rivers jump one class on the rating scale during spring conditions or when they are located in wilderness areas.
Classification of Rapids
Calm waters, slow current, easy to navigate in an open canoe..
Small waves, a few obstacles that are easy to avoid, basic navigation skills required in an open canoe.
Big waves, eddies and lively counter-currents. Of course, these runs are straight and carry little risk. Difficult navigation in open canoes that are not equipped with spray decks.
Strong waves and eddies, difficult counter-currents, runs requiring precise maneuvering, and long sections of waves. Not recommended in open canoes.
Extremely difficult navigation involving serious risks, abrupt drops, explosive waves, strong currents and powerful eddies. These rapids require precise maneuvering and leave no room for error.
Generally impossible to attempt due to the nature of the river. Extremely difficult navigation. Reserved for teams of kayaking experts who make special preparations.
Description of the main rapids on the Rouge River.
From the moment you spot this feature, you will feel your heart begin to beat faster as the strength of the Rouge takes hold of you and your senses. You have reached the point of no return…there’s no turning back now…
At the heart of an impressive gorge that has been carving out the rock since Precambrian times, The Canyon’s two sets of waves pack some punch in high waters and give way to an abrupt drop off in the summer.
This section of rapids will definitely give you a jolt. Pillows, pummeling waves from either side and highly technical maneuvering. What are you doing? The Confusion – nearly one full kilometer of rapids that will throw you straight into the spin cycle…
Follow the S in the River as it narrows, but remember… stay to the right or you will be up against some furious hydraulic waves!
This run was named after the first guide to capsize his boat in the rapids. Who knows what it may hold in store for you?
Just when you think it’s over, this run introduces you to the joys of rodeo riding. You won’t soon forget…
Over the millennia, this canyon has carved out cavities and cliffs that are great for jumping straight down into the River’s misty cauldron.
Impassable for rafts… The story goes that the only person to ever attempt these falls was a dummy named Eddy, who had only his wet suit for protection. Maybe he made it, but no one has heard from him since.
Seven Sisters Section
Not to be confused with family-friendly rafting, this lovely stretch of waves is the perfect warm up for the other rapids to follow.
This is the first big set of rapids in this section. Better hold on tight…this is likely to get bumpy! Are you daring enough to attack the eddy line straight on? Better watch out! You and your boat might get flattened like a pancake!
Take your boat out to play in the Reactionary’s hole and you will learn a quick thing or two about Newton’s theory of Gravity. But watch out for the “third wave” or you will be joining countless others whose boats have flipped over and had to swim for…well, a good while.
To be avoided at all cost… This wave creates a perfect storm that will no doubt remind you of Hawaii Five-0.
Hit this hole in high waters and you will soon find out what it means to travel down river in a boat full of water and that is tough to control.
A must-stop along the Seven Sisters Section. Take a breather (at last, if you can…) and prepare for the more technical rapids ahead.
A beautiful, pyramid-shaped wave that you can attack straight on if you want to feel your raft touch the sky.
The crown jewel of this section. Follow the main artery straight into an impressive wall of water. Stay too far left and the can opener will flip you right over. Too far right, and you will be heading straight for the Burger, where your raft will turn into the bun and you will serve as the condiments!
A series of deadly falls that only expert kayakers are able to manage when the river is low. Make sure you get your raft out before hitting this massive drop.