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“Awesome family adventure”
Review of Wilderness Tours

Wilderness Tours
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Wilderness Tours is a 600-acre adventure resort situated on the shores of the Ottawa River. Just an hour west of Ottawa and the National Capital Region, Wilderness Tours is Canada's premier adventure resort. With accomodations and activities for every budget, Wilderness Tours is everyone's ultimate playground. Bungee jump, whitewater raft, rockclimb, kayak, stand-up paddle board, mountain bike, or simply relax on one of our two beautiful beaches. Featuring the best nightlife in the Ottawa Valley, Rafters Restaurant and Bar is the place to be every night of the week. Don't miss our outdoor movie theatre, communal campfires, beach volleyball tournaments, and weekend DJ parties.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Our family of 4 spent two days at Wilderness tours for the gentle family raft trip. We had a great time rafting, body surfing and making memories. When on the resort, the boys (12 and 9) found lots of things to do with other kids their ages. They played hockey, basketball and chess on the giant set. At night, my husband and I sat at the patio bar listening to the live music while the boys watched a movie and then played hockey on the lit up court under us. The chefs make amazing food and lunch on the river is great. The camping got a little loud at night but the security guards are pretty quick to pounce and shut it down. We left with a kid in tears because he didn't want to leave and he didn't get to say good bye to Josh, our river guide (who was back out with another group). The staff are great with the kids and make them feel important and included. Our only disappointment was we didn't stay longer.

1  Thank B D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"white water rafting"
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"the river"
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"gentle family rafting"
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"main building"
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"year olds"
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"food was great"
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Reviewed July 23, 2013

As the director of a high school that has kayak programs I observed Ottawa Kayak School's youth Keeners camp. First you note that the coaches are the world's best kayakers. The day I got to paddle with the group instructor Clay Wright was teaching safety and how to deal with potential river dangers. It was one of the greatest river activities I have observed. They made it a game so it was fun for the kids. For a parent to see their child playing in the water and trust that the instructors are safe and will challenge is worth the investment.

1  Thank JohnnieKayaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

I read Vacayandvino review- oursvisit was a check in - raft and check out-so we dd not have as much interaction and experience time however i agree with her review of Matt the guide- arrogant and a little condescending - we did not have a major flip- or resuce scene - so im sure their situation escalated and was scarey- these are just mine and another in the groups general review of comments i heard and the attitude- he was very knowledgable and i did feel that he knew exactly what he was doing- but he does need to know that others do not and this could be their first time and certainly people can be scared adn there is nothing worse than being afraid to ask a question or get spoke donw to when you paddle out of turn of fron tinstrad of back - etc and some of his comments were inappropriate-he make thinks he's"got it" but that depends on your perception of "it" he needs to be more empathetic - my kids had a blast aged 13, 15, 15, 17, 18- i had fun - kinda- would not do again just becasue im am clearly not that much of an adventure seeker- and it was an adventure- the place gave a well organized vibe, the lunch was just fine at the island - pack for sure- water shoes- and a water bottle than you can belt clip - and bring sunglasses that are plastic and can bungee to around your neck- and spray your legs with suncreen- they are exposed- lots! your own towel that you can leave in car etc and dry and change after - you cant bring anything on the boat- water was very warm and the day was warm but we did get chilled on the water with a breeze- so i wore a long black sleeve dryfit and i still got chilly but at least the sun warmed it - so this is essential

1  Thank JackiBoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

This trip was a Christmas present for our family and my staff. We are all different ages from 18 to 49, majority in 20's and early 30's with my husband and I being the oldest in our late 40's. White water rafting has always been on my bucket list! I would describe our group as adventurous and all of us are all very good swimmers.

We travelled during University weekend June 7th to 9th of this year. Even though our two kids are University students as well as my daughters boyfriend, we all found a few rafts of University groups to be rude and inconsiderate which is no fault of Wilderness Tours. We found ourselves trying to avoid their rafts being near ours on both raft days. I would not advise traveling at that time if you are with a family, are with coworkers or are a mature group. I would say half of the group were University stuents and the other half were families and groups not in the University crowd.

We stayed in The Lakehouse which was beautiful! I would highly recommend staying in The Lakehouse. It was very comfortable, nicely furnished and decorated and had everything you would need or expect when renting a cottage. There were issues with the plumbing and hot water. Hot water tank should be bigger as only a couple of us could shower with hot water before it turned cold. Toilets were sluggish and often didn't flush and would have to be plunged. My biggest complaint about booking and paying premium for the best accommodations offered was having to check out at 11 am when your call time for your tour is early morning and you have to get out of your accommodations at around 8 am. After our first day of rafting, we inquired about a late check out and were told it would be possible since there was no group checking in the next day but it had to be run by management first. So it was arranged but we had to pay an extra $100 for a late check out of 5 pm when we were gone all day rafting and not returning until about 4 pm. After paying for our group of eleven for this trip and spending thousands, you would think that they would have just granted us a late check out. We all had a 3 hour drive home and of course wanted to shower after a day of rafting and being in a stinky wet suit. So, basically we paid $100 for one hour in the Lake House on Sunday after rafting all day.

Food was good and with 3 vegetarians in our group including myself, I was thankful for the vegetarian options at all 3 meals throughout our stay.

Now to address the rafting, overall we had a blast as a group and it most certainly was an adventure but would we return to Wilderness Tours? No and the number one reason why is safety and an obvious lack of staff on day two. On day one when we were with our guide all was good and if I had to stop and rate there I would have given WT 4 stars. I would have given 5 stars if we were advised what the body surfing entailed before being rushed into the water as I would not have done it, nor would anyone in our group of eleven, majority of which were athletic and males may I add. I agree with past posters that stated this was not a necessary feature of this rafting trip. All it did was exhaust us, make you panic that you could not make it back to shore having to swim against the current of the powerful water and make you freeze to the point where it took your breathe away. I highly advise if you want more detail, read the prior posting dated June 10th - may I add, I do not know this poster but I agree with absolutely everything he is saying, our experience and feedback is exactly the same as travelers that yes we wanted and expected adventure but also expected more instruction, communication, preparation and safety.

It all comes down to this. On our day two when you are in a smaller raft without a guide there were not enough staff and experienced guides. The guide leader was heard even stating this to other WT staff at lunch. The rafting leader was an awesome guy, hard worker, took his job very seriously but was also stressed to the point where our group felt bad for him. I would also like to ask WT why a 14 year old brother of the rafting guide and another young newbie employee which repeatedly was yelled at by the raft leader could even be called professional rafting guides? All these two boys did was play in their kayaks!

After lunch on day two, we wiped out on the first big rapid and had to be rescued by the zodiak. We were all off in different directions being pulled by the rapids. Instead of being grateful for being pulled into the rescue boat we all wanted to remind him it was our first time rafting and I just wanted to tell him to shut his know it all mouth! The staff member Matt operating the rescue Zodiak boat is arrogant and condescending. He needs to take a course in how to treat not just customers, but people! All he did was call out how we did everything wrong because he had to drive around me twice before he could pick me up. He commented he had "other people in my group to rescue". Hello I was just in a scary situation and could barely breathe! He complained that he had to pick up my husband who was pushed into the rocks (hello he did not swim to the rocks the rapids took him there) and how my daughters boyfriend should not have tried to help her as she could swim just fine.... she was terrified of what just happened and that was why he was trying to help her, to calm her down which YOU Matt could have done too instead of making matters and everyone feel worse! If WT cares about their customers, how about you put someone in charge of the rescue boat who makes you feel better, not worse about an already scary situation.

The next rapid we thought we were doing great, making it down no problem then all of a sudden an empty raft clothes lined us knocking us all in the head and into the water. We were sent down the rapid when the timing was not right again, being rushed. We were five in our raft and when we went down we hit an empty raft that came straight at us giving our 20 year old son a bleeding fat lip. We were all hit in the head and this caused myself and my daughter to rise from the waters not once but twice with both rafts on top of us. This all could have been avoided had the timing of us going down matched the timing of the group ahead whom had capsized. We capsized due to the other raft flying right at us! Hmmmm is this why we were the only group that had no pictures of us going down this rapid? Perhaps because it directly showed bad judgement by WT staff. They were so busy rushing the experience that safety and timing took a back seat.

If you read the posts, you will see there definitely is not consistency at Wilderness Tours. if you happen to go when they have enough professional staff you would have a different experience then when we went and they were understaffed or had too young and too new staff. This is what made us feel unsafe. Not the rapids as we were mentally prepared for this high adventure and knew the risks going in. The raft leader was stressed, yelling at his young staff which may I say again, at 14 years old and being young teens, these boys should not have been on staff. None of us had rafted before, we were all good swimmers that signed up for adventure and all of us expected more communication, direction and staff to assist and GUIDE us at all times. it is a guided tour correct? It seemed like the staff just assumed yelling at us while in the water is the definition of communication when there should have been communication leading up to, before we were engulfed in a situation or after when it is too late! Our first day rafting was the best and it helped that we were with our guide Kyle who was very nice and a bit of an entertaining character.

Would I raft again? Yes just not with Wilderness Tours. Majority in our group ranging in age from 18 to 49 said that they would never raft again. What a shame!! They all said once was enough and even though day one was fun and they felt safe with a guide in the raft, day two sealed the deal that this was one adventure they would not want to experience again!

1  Thank Vacayandvino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 20, 2013

WT runs a series of different programs out of their site in Forresters Falls. I was there for their white water kayak program (Ottawa Kayak School). However, I mixed with folks there for the rafting and other programs.
1. I have been kayaking for 9 years (age 62) and have taken lessons at several other schools. Hands down this was the best program I have attended. My instructor Ryan figured out my kayak goals within minutes of being on the water and we spent the week working on improving my confidence to run bigger water; got used to using a bentshaft paddle; and my roll is once again solid. Most importantly, he really kept an eye out for my safety and that of the other OKS students that were on the water with us.

Ryan is not just an instructor, he is the Director of Kayak Instruction (as well as a famous competitive freestyle kayaker). He has assembled a group of world class paddlers to teach at OKS and it was remarkable to get "advice" from former World Champions while waiting in the line to surf the Push Button Wave.

OKS is the Harvard University of whitewater kayak schools (fortunately there is no homework.).

2. I didn't raft but while dining/hanging out I got to meet a lot of other visitors who felt that the rafting program was exciting and fun. Many of the guests were families and there was plenty of organized activities there to keep them all happy.

3. Food/staff - I was travelling solo so more often than note during meals, staff would take the time to check in on me to make sure that I was having a good time etc. which I appreciated (especially Marie, Danielle, Sue and Kristen the bartender/kayaker). The food was plentiful and I enjoyed the salad/fruit buffets.

I am now trying to schedule another trip to OKS next month to build on the new skills I learned while there. Ryan and the other instructors were so helpful and friendly. Don't think twice about going to kayak school at OKS.

Rob

Thank sherman97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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