U.S. Rafting
About
Located on the National Scenic Byway, just steps from the Dead River. The West Forks is the center of outdoor recreation in western Maine and attracts visitors each season who come to enjoy the area's many activities.Rafting trips include helmet, PFD, paddle, lunch, & guide! $129 a person and bring a tip for the guide.We can help you find camping or stay at our new location, "The Outpost"!We do birthday parties, bachelor & bachelorette parties, family reunions, kid's camp, and Boy & Girl Scout groups too!We also rent canoes and kayaks and offer over night camping trips and hiking trips.
West Forks, Maine

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U.S. Rafting
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
329 reviews
Excellent
305
Very good
22
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
1

Kristeanity
Readville, MA50 contributions
Aug 2011 • Couples
I had always wanted to go whitewater rafting, so when I saw a deal on LivingSocial for U.S. Rafting, I bought it (unusual for me--I usually research every deal before purchasing). U.S. Rafting is a smaller company than many of its competitors in the area, and although I haven't toured with any of those groups, I'd bet that U.S. Rafting's experience is a lot more personal. You get to know the guides and the other people in your group, and they are able to accommodate you individually because of the size of the tour group.

This is a great trip for those who love nature and/or water. West Forks is beautiful. I loved driving through that part of Maine-- you can see the lakes and rivers and the mountains and trees are breathtaking. It's great to see nature unspoiled. I imagine it's even more beautiful in the spring when everything is blooming or towards the end of the season when fall foliage has begun. There are lots of moose crossing signs, but unfortunately, we didn't see any moose (I was really looking forward to that!)

U.S.Rafting also offers other trips, like canoeing and hiking for those who want a more mild experience or who want to add on to their rafting trip. Maybe I'll hike, too, next time.

CAMPING
U.S. Rafting works closely with a local campground and recommends that you camp overnight either before or after your rafting trip (or both) for a nominal fee (sometimes this is included in your package). I would highly recommend this--the trip is fun, but energy consuming, and unless you live nearby, it's a lot to handle in one day. Coming from Boston, my husband and I arrived and camped the night before and then made the 6 hour drive back home after rafting the next day. Next time, we'll probably stay two nights. The campground is way into the woods (the road to get there is great for SUVs but my poor Mustang was traumatized!) The area is quite beautiful if you're into nature. There is a lake where boating is allowed and access to a restroom, but no electricity on the sites. You can hear the coyotes singing at night--it was great! I also suspect that there is plenty of other wildlife in the area... Arrive early enough to pitch camp before it starts to get dark.

A representative from U.S. Rafting came to our campsite to greet us and see if we had any questions or concerns about the trip and to make sure we had everything we would need. He was really friendly.

OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS
If you're not into camping, that's okay--they can arrange room accommodations for you in the little "town" area. NOTE: I'm using that term "town" quite loosely--don't expect much!

I don't want to be too long winded, so I'll stick to the main points from here on out:

STAFF/SAFETY
All of the U.S. Rafting staff is very friendly and very professional. They go out of their way to make the trip fun and special by adapting to the crowd. They do a thorough safety presentation before you get on the bus to head to the river. They also assist you in putting on your floatation gear.

THE RIVER
We rode the Kennebec river. I don't remember how much water was released that day, but the rapids were great for a first time experience. I know that they also offer trips on "high release" days, where the rapids are even more intense, and you can also raft on other rivers. I hear the Dead River is more intense. The trip starts out near the dam and you ride about 5 intense rapids before the river starts to smooth out. You can swim one of the smaller rapids and when it completely smooths out, you can float and relax (or stay in the raft if you prefer).

KIDS
We didn't bring our son on this trip, but I think children have to be 10 years old or so to do the whole trip. However, there were kids who joined the group after the class 3 and 4 rapids, so I think it is okay to bring them and a staff member will wait with them for your raft to arrive at the calm part of the river where they can board the raft and enjoy the rest of the experience.

GETTING WET
Do not go on this trip with plans to stay dry. There are opportunities to swim along the way (the water feels warmer late in the season). You can swim in a class 2 rapid, you can swim in the calm part of the river, and there is also a waterhole with a waterfall (beautiful!) were you can swim or even jump from the cliffs! Even if you never leave the boat, water will splash you when you hit a rapid, sometimes soaking you. There is also the risk of falling out of the raft while on the rapids. I think that happened to two people on our trip.

PICTURES/VIDEO
For personal pics, a waterproof camera is a must, but keep in mind, you can also buy a DVD of your trip that chronicles the entire day for an extremely reasonable price (someone actually kayaks ahead of the group to catch you on film as you cross the various rapids). There are also still photos available for sale at a good price. Both the DVD and still shots are a good quality and you are able to watch them back at the lodge even if you decide not to buy (although you should buy them--especially if it's your first trip!).

WHAT TO WEAR
DO NOT bring or wear cotton on the raft!!! YOU WILL BE COLD! I was quite comfortable with UnderArmour brand fitted moisture wick clothing, which I even swam in comfortably. Wear old shoes that you don't mind getting wet. Your shoes actually help you to NOT fall out of the boat, so don't show up with flip flops (these would actually increase your chances of injury while hauling the raft to the river).

FOOD
There is a small snack provided (snack pack crackers and maybe a few choices) while on the river. When you return to the logde, there is a full meal (typical cookout fare featuring bbq chicken prepared on the grill). The snack and meal are included in your trip. The bar is also open ($).

I LOVED rafting with this company. In fact, when I realized that U.S. Rafting wasn't listed on TripAdvisor I contacted them about it! This trip was the best time I had last summer (and I also spent a weekend in Newport, RI and a week at Disney World!) I'd give it 6 stars if I could!
Written March 28, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brock L
Saint Albans, ME36 contributions
Jul 2019 • Friends
U.S. Rafting is an incredible rafting outfit!! This was our second time with them, and certainly will not be our last! Johnny mac is the man!! he had us hitting every rapid right dead center for the most action! he kept us all very safe and inside the raft, great hospitality! the meal at the end is excellent also! please dont change a thing US Rafting, and we shall see you again!
Written July 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
So glad you enjoyed your adventure with us! Welcome to the US Rafting family!!
Written July 22, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Courtney L
11 contributions
Aug 2020 • Friends
Ryan was an amazing guide!!! Best experience you can get for rafting!!! Highly recommend Us rafting lunch and guides were personable, friendly and a great time!
Written August 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

prepper
michigan152 contributions
Aug 2019
We picked this rafting place because they were discounted on Groupon and had great reviews. All rafting companies in this area offer lunch but we wanted one that ate AFTER the trip not on the banks of the river midway in your trip. After finally finding an open date (thanks, Melinda!) we were booked. When we got there they had announced that they were having a special spaghetti lunch. Many people were very upset about that because that is not the lunch that was promised on the website. I spoke up and complained and she said they would find chicken for us. As it turned out they did offer people barbequed steak and chicken along with the spaghetti. The chicken was great and my husband said his steak was very good. I think they realized they were going to get a number of complaints about the change in menu. Our guide was Bill who was hilarious and holds no thought back- hahaha The group of people in our boat and Bill were a perfect match! We have been rafting in the Smokies with a guide and the Kennebec did not disappoint! After taking a 20 minute bus ride to the drop off point we received instructions, carried our raft down the many stairs and were off! Some of the waves were crazy! At one point Big Mama hit us on the left side and 3 out of 4 people were knocked out. I don't know how, but I was the only one on that side left in the boat! Everyone helped those who fell out and we were off. It was a ton of fun! Afterwards we had lunch and watched pictures from our trip. GREAT day!
Written August 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We are so happy you had a great time... Welcome to the US Rafting family! Can't wait to see you again next season!
Written August 28, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Eric N
Boston, MA3 contributions
Aug 2016 • Family
Amazing The staff at US Rafting are extremely helpful. I was visiting the area for the first time and they helped with lodging, where to eat, and even with other activities. Michelle and Roxy were excellent. The guides are the best - and they really make the trip. J-Mac was great with the raft but also knew so much about the history of the river, the area and plenty of stories. It was a trip I was taking one of my sons on so this was special time and US Rafting did not let us down.
Written August 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Glad to hear that the US Rafting staff showed you a great and memorable time with your son! Welcome to the US Rafting Family!
Written September 1, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Donald H
5 contributions
Jul 2015 • Family
I Love this place. It was so easy to make my reservation the girl in the office was so knowlegeable and the rafting staff was so friendly. I am already booking my next trip:)
Written July 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Can't wait to see you guys Don!
Written July 30, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kathleen A
Fall River, MA14 contributions
Jul 2015 • Friends
great time had by all; my first time and did it because it was on my bucket list; do not regret it at all; staff professional and our guide Ray was the best; would def recommend it; looking forward to another trip up there and will be bringing the family.
Written July 20, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Glad you had fun Kathleen and looking forward to seeing you guys again soon!
Written July 23, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Wendy T
Lakeville, MA1 contribution
Jul 2015 • Family
This was a great experience, it was my first time and We couldn't have asked for a better place to do it with, Billy,Ray,Chris,and the rest of the crew where outstanding .
It was a blast and we will be back .
Written July 15, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks Wendy and glad that you are a part of the US Rafting Family! See you soon!
Written July 23, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

CRCrockett
Fitchburg, ma2 contributions
Sep 2014
I went with another company earlier in the summer that I loved and was convinced couldn't be topped. I was wrong! The fun started the minute you boarded the bus. Our guide Bill was ridiculously fun, he sang, told (awesomely terrible) jokes and even busted out speakers to play music once we got past the big rapids. The food was really good too. I was also impressed when he informed us they would match and competitors deal! I will be back next year as often as my wallet will allow :D
Written September 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Welcome to the US Rafting Family!
Written October 8, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Karen I
Falmouth, MA1 contribution
Aug 2014 • Friends
Three women in their mid-sixties had a fabulous time. Communal lodging at the Outpost with three of to a room and a private bath was comfortable, clean and convenient. We had a view of the Dead River and could get up in the morning and walk over to the rafting center. The trip to the launch was well organized and we were on the river paddling furiously in no time loving the excitement of class 4 rapids. I got to jump out and float along and enjoy a spectacular cloudless, warm, late summer day. After the trip a great chicken,steak or veggie meal was waiting. Great day! We also took a hike to near-by Moxie Falls-the highest in the state of Maine.
Written August 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Glad you all had fun Karen! See you next year!
Written October 8, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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U.S. Rafting (West Forks) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go