White Water Rafting Indiana: East Race Waterway South Bend

white water rafting indiana

I know many of us get some ideas when we see the White River in downtown Indianapolis. It would be awesome if there was somewhere we could go whitewater rafting in the White River, or just somewhere to go white water rafting near me. We all know there are places to go tubing and river floating, but what about white water rapids?

Did you know that you CAN go whitewater rafting in Indiana?

South Bend, just two hours from Indianapolis, is home to the first man-made whitewater rafting course in the country. And I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s a pretty epic adventure. If we can’t have a natural whitewater river, we’ll just make one!

indiana white water rafting

East Race Waterway in South Bend, Indiana

There are so many fun things to do in South Bend, and whitewater rafting at East Race Waterway is tops on the list during the warm weather months.

Raft sizes are available for single riders, two-person rafts, four-person rafts, and a six+ person raft.  You’ll experience a 2,000-foot-long ride along the St. Joseph River, that’s full of excitement with several turns and drops! The water and obstacles are controlled to create an experience that simulates authentic whitewater rafting. Each ride will take about five minutes.

You can purchase a single-ride pass, two-ride pass, three-ride pass, or a day pass. All equipment is provided.

The required height for anyone participating is 54″. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult for all rides. Anyone over the age of 16 may participate without their adult in the raft with them.

Whitewater Rafting in South Bend

Street parking is available at the East Race Waterway rendezvous area. Additional parking is available in the area, including pay parking lots.

When you arrive at the East Race parking lot along the river, you’ll check in at a trailer office to pay and get your wristbands. Be sure to wear sunblock, as you’ll likely be in direct sunlight as you wait for a raft, as you load your raft into the water, as you raft down the whitewater rapids, and as you walk back to the East Race starting point.

After checking in, make your way to the containers with helmets, paddles, and life vests. Everyone in your group will need one of each. Stand on the boardwalk, careful to not block bicycle and pedestrian traffic. A truck will return every few minutes with rafts and other equipment, so if a raft isn’t available right when you arrive, it will be soon!

Grab the appropriate-sized raft (the staff members will help you) and carry it down the ramp. East Race team members will assist you in getting your raft into the water. After that, you’re sort of on your own.

whitewater rafting indiana

White Water Rafting Indiana

We had the best time going down the river and through the rapids at East Race Waterway. I took my 11 and 13-year-old children and we never tipped the white water raft and we wanted to go back and do it over and over again.

Before you get on the raft, a team member will talk to you about what to do if your raft flips. They’ll discuss the appropriate way to signal and remain safe if you need assistance.

All along the whitewater course, lifeguards and other staff members are there to watch and assist when needed.

At the completion of the whitewater rapids course, a guard will direct you to paddle towards the right to exit, but if you can’t get there and the water keeps you going, they’ll toss you a rope to grab onto and drag you in. Not only did we need the rope every time, on our final run (when I swore that we would get it right this time), we actually missed the first rope tossed to us and needed a second one!

Info About Rafting Near Me

When you’ve completed the course and exited the river, you’ll remove your life jacket and your helmet and add them to the back of a truck. You’ll also toss your paddle in there. From there, you begin the walk back to the East Race starting point. It takes 10-15 minutes to walk back along the trail along the river. If you follow the path, you won’t have to cross any streets, you’ll remain near the river. It’s a beautiful walk and you’ll get to see other white water rafters as they make their way down the course.

When you return to East Race, you can leave or take another ride, depending on which pass you’ve purchased.

indiana whitewater rafting

East Race Waterway White Water Rafting Passes

East Race white water rafting is available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The East Race Waterway is open during the months of June, July, August, and part of September.

You can white water raft on East Race Saturdays, 12 pm – 5 pm, and Sundays, 12 pm to 4 pm.

One ride is $6 per person, a two-ride wristband is $10, and a three-ride pass is $15. An all-day pass is $20 and a season pass is $50.

Exciting Indiana White Water Rafting Trips For Beginners

If your family is interested in white water rafting, East Race is a great place to dip your toes in the river and get started. East Race is also a wonderful place to fill in the gap between your last big trip and your next big trip.

We visited on a Sunday and arrived at noon and left at 2:30 pm after four rides. If we had more time in our schedule, I would have taken a break and returned for another ride or two later in the afternoon.

You WILL get wet. There’s no way around it. Your shoes will be soaked and most of your clothing will also be very wet. Flip flops are not allowed, but other sandals with a back strap and rubber-soled shoes can be worn as you white water raft through downtown South Bend.

If you’re searching for white water rafting near me and you live in Indiana, East Race Waterway in South Bend is a fantastic place to start. Beginners will love this and experienced white water rafters will have fun too!

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