12 Things You’ll Do on a Multi-Day Raft Trip Besides Rafting

By Kim Cassels   •   April 16, 2020

12 Things You’ll Do on a Multi-Day Raft Trip Besides Rafting


A multi-day raft trip might give some the impression that you’ll spend the entire time in a boat. Happily, we can attest that there’s a lot more to be done than just bounding along down the river, which is also a swell time. Camping and playing in remote canyons is a special kind of vacation. It comes with a lot of bonding with family and new friends, exploring those looming canyon walls, and indulging in the very underrated activity of doing absolutely nothing. 

1) Meet Hardworking Guides 

Gates of Lodore-Colorado Rafting-Utah Rafting-Mild to Wild Rafting

One of the best parts about starting a multi-day rafting trip is when you arrive at the put-in to meet your guides. These river experts do what they love and it shows! Guides handle everything, from making sure you get a nice healthy splash through the rapids to whipping up lovely meals three times a day. As professional adventurers, they have gut-busting campfires stories, a wealth of geologic and historical knowledge, and the down-low on the best hiking spots. They’re here not only to give you an experience of a lifetime but to ensure you’re comfortable the whole journey. By the end of the trip, they often feel like family. 

2) Soak it all in 

Yampa River Rafting - Dinosaur National Monument - Mild to Wild Rafting

Adrift through ancient canyons is a profound experience. You’re in a place that has been kept the same for millennia. Cliffs change with the river’s chisel, wildlife drinks from the banks, and the landscape sprawls one bend after the other. An isolated wilderness tends to beckon those quiet moments of appreciation and allows us to be absolutely present. There are few things as freeing when you find yourself in the depths of Earth’s untouched creations. 

3) Fully Relax 

Family Whitewater Raft Trip on Green River in Utah – Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours

Bows are for sunbathing as cottonwoods are for hammock swaying. Even exciting whitewater is relaxing in its refreshing and exhilarating rides. Actually, every aspect of a multi-rafting trip is pretty peaceful. Campfires are cozy, beaches are silky, hikes are scenically magical, and the water’s sparkle in and of itself is quite tranquilizing. When you’re here, you’re here, and the only thing you have to do is whatever you want. 

4) Play 

Yampa River Rafting - Dinosaur National Monument - Mild to Wild Rafting

Swan dives off the raft are completely permitted here, and often encouraged. However, splashing your guide may result in full-blown water gun battles. Splash your guide at your own risk. That water fight might last the whole day. Waterslides, cannonballs, squirt guns, & sandcastles. The river becomes your playground as you remember what it’s like to be a kid again.

5) Pilot your Own Craft 

Green River Rafting Desolation Canyon – Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours

Inflatable kayaks can accompany all multi-day trips and are splendid for all skill levels. They yield a bigger splash and let you choose how to run the rapids. Go solo, or hop in a double with someone you’ll like even when their paddling coordination is totally off. Stand-up paddle boards are another fun vessel to navigate on flat water. They’re a little more of a workout, and choppy waters are great fun if you’re a little more experienced.   

6) Travel off the Beaten Path 

Hiking Cataract Canyon - Colorado River - Mild to Wild Rafting

Throughout a day of rafting, you’ll periodically stop to explore the scenery. Canyons offer a slew of trails to traverse, and guides will often lead the way to caves and archaeological sites. Also, most camps have multiple routes with easy strolls while others require extra effort. Slot canyons are great places to roam as they often create their own ecosystems, making hikers feel like they’ve been transported into a completely new environment. Other walks ascend the canyon rim, which naturally comes with quintessential views. 

7) Discover a New World 

Petroglyphs and History in Desolation Canyon – Mild to Wild Rafting

Not too long ago, these canyons were home to generations of indigenous peoples. For thousands of years, tribes thrived along the river corridor until 19th-century colonists came along. Today, we can still find their beautiful arrowheads, heirlooms, and granaries scattered throughout all western river canyons. The most compelling sites left intact are their vivid petroglyphs and pictographs along the canyon walls.  

8) Enjoy Comfortable Camping 

Cataract Canyon Rafting Campsite - Colorado River - Mild to Wild Rafting

Camping on a multi-day rafting trip is better described as glamping. No sleeping on the ground, cowboy coffee or cat holes will be had. Paco pads ensure you still have a mattress away from home, and a nice seat on the raft too! Guides make the morning brew and meals on gas stoves, and we confidently reject the use of sporks. Also, the bathroom is placed in a sweet, secluded spot accompanied by a view and hand-washing station. 

9) Kick Back 

Camp Yampa River Rafting - Dinosaur National Monument - Mild to Wild Rafting

You’re here to have fun, understand? The only required exertion is grasping onto a strap as you drop into a lovely rapid, which may result in some full-bellied chuckles. On a multi-day rafting trip, the only thing you need to worry about is the perfect spot for your tent, and which side of the campfire you should be on. Chill the way you know best and you can’t go wrong. 

10) Camp Games 

arizona salt river camping

In camp, the party can look however you want it to, so don’t be afraid to bring that instrument you’re still trying to make yourself learn. Big beautiful beaches make for great soccer fields and bocce ball. Meanwhile, heated chess games may transgress into the twilight, and hide-and-go-seek will never be as thrilling as under a star-filled sky. Guides have their own great twists on games as well, like a strategic tug of war that requires some ammo can balance. 

11) Savor Gourmet Meals 

Desolation Canyon Rafting - Green River - Mild to Wild

We work hard to have a good time on the river, which means the food needs to be top-notch. Prior to the trip, we shop according to your preferences and dietary restrictions at the grocery store. Guides are also exceptional cooks and come with their own savory recipes. If you love classic dishes like bacon and eggs for breakfast and grilled steaks for dinner, you got it! Looking for vegetarian gluten-free lasagna baked in a dutch oven, we’re on it! Whatever you want, how you want it. 

12) Disconnect to Reconnect

Phoenix Arizona Salt River Camping – Mild to Wild Rafting

No Wi-FI, no electricity, no service (except for a satellite phone in case of emergency) makes us heave a big sigh of relief once we launch our boats. Without the buzzing burden of work and digital distractions, you can truly sink into your vacation. This frees up so much of our attention to truly appreciate the people we’re with in an inspiring wilderness. As we turn away from our screens, we are open to all the possibilities an outdoor experience has to offer. 

Whether you escape to a river for a couple of days or a week, there’s a well-rounded experience waiting out there. Multi-day rafting trips strengthen our connection to nature, family, and friends old and new. There’s just something about being on a river in its canyon, we fall into the natural rhythms of relief without hesitation. It makes us love the world we live in so much more. So come see what makes us so mushy about it, there are tear-jerking memories to be made!   

More Reading 

Top Spring Rafting Trips in the U.S.

What to Pack for your Utah Rafting Adventures

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