Ask Betty - Frequently Asked Questions

The All-American Rafting Girl answers your rafting questions.

Born and bred in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Betty is a true All-American girl. Betty grew up in the rafting industry - rafting the Snake River. She has a love for Jackson Hole and the river. Meet Betty at Mad River.

Do you have a question for Betty? Send your question to with the subject "ask betty" and I'll do my best to get your question answered quickly.

How old does a child have to be to go rafting?
Children must be 6 years of age or older to go whitewater rafting and children must be 4 years of age or older to go on a scenic float..
What is the difference between a scenic float and a whitewater trip?
The Scenic Float is a flat water float on the Snake River near the town of Jackson. The whitewater trip runs in the Snake River Canyon, just south of town - this trip has rapids..
What are the different boat sizes?
The Scenic Float trip has only one boat size that accommodates about 8-10 people per boat. We run multiple boats at a time, so if your group is larger than that, you'll just be in different boats.The whitewater trips have three different boat options. Our biggest boat holds 12-16 people. There are 8 paddling positions as well as some non-paddling positions in the middle of the boat. If you have younger children or if you have someone in your group that has never been rafting before, this would be a great choice for you. The small boats have 6 paddling positions and can hold up to 8 people. Everyone should be able to paddle, but since there are two non-paddling positions and the guide has oars, the adventurous younger kids can still go. The smallest boat, the super smalls, have 6 paddling positions and two non-paddling positions. Since this boat relies on the paddling crew for power, you should be physically fit and able to swim if you end up in the water! Ask us about our smallest specialty raft - built for only 2 people and a guide, this trip guarantees the biggest thrills. This trip is only suited for adults who are physically fit and ready to swim.
Where do the rafts put in and where do they take out?
For the Scenic Floats, the rafts put it at Wilson Bridge and take out at South Park Bridge. For the whitewater trips, the rafts put in at West Table and take out at Sheep Gulch.
What is a class II and III rapid?
A class II or III rapid indicates that it is "moderate" whitewater. You may have easy to moderate waves, some may be irregular. Most rapids may be runnable without scouting but may require precise maneuvers to pass through.
What does CFS mean?
CFS stands for "cubic feet per second" and it is a measure of volume. To visualize what this looks like, imagine that 1CFS is about the size of a basketball or a soccer ball. The CFS on the Snake River in the Snake River Canyon generally ranges from 2500CFS to 12000CFS in normal water conditions during the summer months. That's like saying that at any point in the river, 12,000 soccer balls pass by every second. That's a lot of water!
How far in advance do we need to make reservations?
We recommend making reservations as soon as you know which day you'd like to go. Some trips remain available until the day of, but others book up quickly. Make your reservations as soon as possible. We have a 48 hour (or 72 hour, depending on your group size) cancellation policy, so you can always make changes up until 48 hours (or 72 hours) before your trip with no financial penalties
What should we wear?
For scenic floats, we recommend light layers that you can remove as it warms up. Your shoes might get slightly wet getting in and out of the boat, so we recommend shoes that can get wet. For whitewater trips, we recommend synthetic clothing instead of cotton. For colder days, we rent wetsuits and wetsuit booties. For warmer days, a synthetic t-shirt and shorts will be fine. All whitewater trips require footwear because there is a gravel walkway up to the bus following your trip. For all trips, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat are recommended
What should we bring with us? Can we bring things on the raft?
For the scenic float, we recommend a waterproof camera. Binoculars are provided for your use and all scenic float trips come with a snack or a meal. For whitewater trips, we recommend bringing a waterproof camera. We have GoPros available for rent if you don't have your own. We also recommend that you leave a towel, a sweatshirt and a water bottle on the bus so it will be there for you following your trip.
How much time will we spend on the water?
Scenic floats usually take about 2 hours on the river and 3 hours from door to door. Please allocate about 4 hours from check in to return so that you do not miss your next activity. Whitewater trips generally take about 1.5 hours on the river and 3.5 hours door to door. Please allocate about 4 hours from check in to return so that you do not miss your next activity. All meal trips will add an additional 30-45 minutes to the trip time.
Where do we eat meals?
All breakfasts are served at the Mad River Wedge, (the Mad River Boathouse), where you check in. All lunches and dinners are served on the river. These meals are served in areas of river access only, so you will not have access to anything you left on the bus. If you need medication while you eat, please be sure to bring it with you!
I've never rafted before. Can I do this?
The Snake River is an excellent river to experience your first whitewater or scenic float trip. Always remember that this is an activity on a wild and scenic river. You will be asked to participate at a variety of levels - please make sure you have chosen the appropriate trip for your comfort level. Every Mad River guide is here to ensure that you have a wonderful experience, whether it is your first time or you are a seasoned river rat.
Where can I see my whitewater rafting photos?
You can visit Snake River Photo to view your rafting photos. There are a number of purchasing options. Visit The staff would be happy to assist you.
Is it safe?
No, it is not necessarily safe, but that is what makes this activity exciting! It is what makes this experience different than visiting a themepark, for example. Our guides spend a lot of time training and preparing to take you down the river. We do everything we can to minimize the risks without changing the nature of the activity. So, choose a trip that is right for you and enjoy yourself on the river! Rest assured, your guide will do their best to make sure it is a fun experience for everyone in your group!

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