“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind”
-Peter, Paul, and Mary

Scroll down for more information about rafting, tubing, kayaking and caving; all of your frequently asked questions will be answered. Have a question about something we didn’t cover below? Reach out to us!

General Questions

1. How far in advance should we book a reservation?
There is no set time, but space is limited so reserve your space as soon as you get a date in mind. Walk-ins are accepted as space permits.

2. How many people do I need?
You can bring just yourself or a large group.

3. Do you accept people with disabilities?
Yes. Let us know the disability, and we can match our staff and rivers to meet those needs. River and Earth Adventures complies to ADA requirements.

4. Where can we stay?
Check out our “Where To Stay” page.

5. Can I bring my camera or video camera?
We don’t recommend bringing video cameras or even expensive still cameras on trips. Many people bring disposable waterproof cameras which work just fine. The quality of the pictures is pretty good, and if you lose it, it’s not the end of the world. They are well suited to rafting and caving (with a flash). On most trips we can take pictures and send you a CD from the day. Everyone is encouraged to bring their cameras along on hiking trips.

6. What is for lunch?
Our lunch centers around as much local foods and organic foods as possible. We grow the lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries and other produce ourselves. Our jams are from locally hand-picked fruits and made right in the River and Earth Adventures kitchen. Lunch includes assorted meats and cheeses, bread and wraps, peanut butter and jelly, cookies, and other deli-style foods. Lemonade, Gatorade and water are always served. Hot cocoa, tea and water on cold days.

7. Can I bring my own lunch?
Yes! Please let us know in advance so we may make special arrangements to transport those lunches. Within certain limits, we are happy to accommodate special dietary requirements with the lunches we provide.

8. What is included in the trip?
We provide instruction, your equipment, guide service, and snacks or lunch.
On all trips transportation to and from the check-in area is provided.

9. How can i pay for the trip?
River and Earth Adventures would like to make paying for your adventure as easy as possible. Feel free to write a check, pay with cash, or put it on a credit card. Just contact an River and Earth Adventures team member by phone or e-mail. 866 411 7238 orĀ grant@raftcavehike.com

10. What is the cancellation policy?
Ten or more days before your trip, receive a full refund. For guided trips 24 hours before, receive a 50% refund or a 100% voucher. Cancel the day of the trip and receive a 100% voucher. For all trips, no-shows are non-refundable. Even though you are not going on the trip we still have to pay guides, office staff, and drivers as well as deal with lunch that we prepaired for your group.

Rafting Questions

1.Which river is right for me?
There are many variables. Some aspects you want to consider are how much excitement do you want, what time of year you are planning, your past river experience, and the ages of the persons in your group. Not all of our river adventures are acceptable for beginners.

2. Are there age limits?
We recommend age 6 on the French Broad and Watauga section III, age 4 on Watauga section V and Lower Nolichucky rivers, cave trips age 6, and hiking trips at any age.

3. What if my child is younger, can they still go?
You know your child best, so use your best judgment. Please note that for safety reasons we do reserve the right to refuse services based on size or age.

4. Are guides in the rafts with us?
Yes, guides are in every boat, and guides are in other rafts and kayaks around you during rafting trips. On the Watauga river section V you may captain your own craft while the guides assist, direct, and rescue you throughout the day. On the French Broad and Watauga Section III there is guide in every raft. While canoeing you may choose to have a guided trip or have River and Earth Adventures provide your shuttle.

5. What size crafts do we use?
All of our rafts are 13-14 foot self bailers, most of our canoes are 16 feet.

6. What is a self-bailing raft?
This modern raft has an inflated elevated floor with holes along the side. When the water pours into the raft it goes right back out through these holes. This boat has great finesse on the water because it is not carrying around the heavy water. And you never have to pass the bailing-bucket around.

7. Do we have to paddle?
River and Earth Adventures will accommodate your needs. While paddling is typically considered a part of the rafting experience, we can design a trip around your needs.

8. I have never rafted before, do I need experience?
Most of our rivers are great for first timers, but also know your limitations.

9. What is included in the trip?

  • On guided raft tours, we provide instruction, your raft, paddle, PFD’s, helmets, guide service, and a scrumptious lunch.
  • On canoe trips we provide we provide instruction, your canoe, paddle, PFD’s, guide service upon request, and lunch.
  • On all trips transportation to and from the check-in area is provided if needed.

10. What happens if we fall out?
You get wet! Odds are about 10% of our guests will experience the refreshing water while on a rafting trip. Stay calm and listen closely to your guide’s instructions. Folks do not fall out of the boat on Watauga V trips.

11. Do we wear helmets?
Participants are required to wear helmets on some sections of the rivers we run but not while canoeing.

12. Is rafting dangerous?
Rafting is thrilling, exciting, wet, wild and unbelievably fun and educational. However, as in all adventure sports, there is an inherent risk involved. That risk contributes to the excitement and is one of the reasons people enjoy it so much. Our guides are trained to minimize risks. One state government found in an investigation that the injury rate for whitewater rafting is similar to that for golfing! But still, there is a risk, and you must accept that risk when you go on the river. By the way, the most common injury is sunburn, and most other injuries occur on land, especially getting into and out of the boats.

13. I can’t swim. Can I still go rafting?
Everyone on commercial rafting trips wears a coast guard approved buoyancy vest. This will keep you afloat in the event that you find yourself in the river. Many non-swimmers go on rafting trips, and they have a great time. It is more important that you are not afraid of the water.

14. How fit should I be to go rafting? Is it strenuous?
You will have a paddle in your hands and will be paddling. You should be reasonably healthy and must be able to fit into the buoyancy vests supplied by RIVER and EARTH ADVENTURES. Paddling can be tiring, but guides will instruct you on paddling technique. Oar boats, where you ride along as a passenger, are also available on many rivers. If you’re in doubt about your ability to go rafting, or your fitness, check with your doctor before you go. Caving is a different story… see below.

15. What should I wear on the river?
This depends on the time of year, water temperature, and weather. As a rule of thumb we recommend you dress for the water temperature, rather than the air temperature, since you’ll be getting wet. You should bring some synthetic fleece, polypro, capilene, or wool garments. Don’t wear cotton. It will just make you colder. An old pair of tennis shoes or running shoes are the best on the river. Sandals are ok but don’t offer as much protection, and tend to come off easily in a swim. Sunglasses, especially prescription glasses, should have a croakie or other retainer that cinches tight. In warmer weather and late season warmer water, shorts and a T-shirt are good. Use sunscreen but don’t put it on your forehead or the backs of your legs. It may run into your eyes or cause you to be slipping all over the boat.

16. I’ve never been before. Which trips are best for me?
Start off with a class III or an easier class IV trip. If you’re confident in the water, healthy, and feel adventurous, you can drop right into a class IV river without prior experience. Guides will make sure you are trained in safety and paddle techniques.

17. I have a family with young children. Can they go rafting?
RIVER and EARTH ADVENTURES has special family trips available, on which you can take children as young as four. Each particular river trip has it’s own suggested age limits.

18. I am a senior citizen. Can I go rafting?
For fit, active seniors over 65 we recommend the Watauga section 5 trip. Healthy people of all ages, including folks in their 70’s and 80’s enjoy rafting.

19. What happens on a typical trip? How are the boats set up?
You’ll meet the trip leader at your designated place and time. He or she will distribute and collect your release forms and get everyone on the Armadillo (our bus). You’ll go to the put-in, from where the trip will start, and the trip leader will give you a safety talk. This is a vital 20 minutes or so of information about how to be safe on the water. Then you’ll head to your boat. The boats typically seat six to seven people and a guide. The guide will give you further instruction on how to paddle and how to follow his or her commands. Then you’ll head on down the river and have the time of your life!

20. What are my chances of falling out of the boat? What should I do if I do?
Believe it or not, many people love falling out of the boat. It’s exciting. But it can be disorienting and a little overwhelming at first. Many people have taken multiple trips and never fallen in. Some people swim on their first trip. It’s a part of rafting. Before you go on any trip, you’ll be given extensive instructions on what to do if you fall in and how to stay safe. Follow you’re guide’s instructions, and your “swim” could be the most exciting part of your trip!

Cave Questions

1. What is the temperature of the cave?
The cave stays at an average of 57 year around. It is best to dress in layers.

2. What should I wear?
The cave does remain cool through out the year, so we recommend thermals to keep you warm. We also recommend wearing clothes that you can get dirty: blue jeans and a cotton shirt work great. In addition, we recommend that you wear a pair of boots or a pair of sneakers that tie securely. The key is to dress in layers.

3. What should I bring?
We recommend that you bring a change of clothes including socks and shoes for the end of the day, because you will be dirty and maybe a little wet. A water bottle is also good idea.

4. Do we wear helmets?
Participants are required to wear helmets. You will learn why real fast.

5. Do we use headlamps?
All participants will be equipped with Black Diamond headlamps with supper bright Xenon bulbs.

6. How fit do I need to be to go caving?
Caving with River and Earth Adventures is real caving. The cave we explore is an introduction to the underworld, but it is still real caving. You need to be fit enough to go on a strenuous hike, and you should be able to at least climb up on your kitchen counters (go try and tell your family you are training for caving).