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Vermillion River Rafting

Oglesby, IL, USA
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Vermillion River Rafting
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tbunga wrote a review Mar 2020
Deerwood, Minnesota58 contributions17 helpful votes
Fun rafting trip for Illinois. Overall a medium paced river. Has 2-3 "whitewater" areas. Follow their rules and wear life jackets. People have been thrown out at the cement plant dam. The under tow will pull you under. Overall fun time and great scenery. Must go in the spring when water levels are higher. After july it is usually too shallow.
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Date of experience: June 2019
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Navigator687059 wrote a review Jul 2019
3 contributions1 helpful vote
The kids had fun but the outfitters should provide water at stops and showers. Everyone smelled like farm waste after the trip. I had to wash the clothes 7 times to get the stench out.
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Date of experience: July 2019
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wshn4fshn2018 wrote a review Jun 2019
Geneva, Illinois3 contributions3 helpful votes
First off, I want to clarify this report of my last trip was May 2018, not July 2018, as this was limited by Tripadvisor's click menu. This matters as typically better rafting conditions are typically in the spring when more frequent rains generally provide better rafting conditions. Paddle craft venues on rivers do live and die with water levels. Too much can pose dangers, too low and the river might require too much walking the water craft, which also has it's dangers with slick boulders, etc. It's a good idea to read their website, then look up Water Watch on the USGS website. Keep in mind water levels do constantly change, Vermillion River Rafting is a very unique "thing to do" here in the flatland state of Illinois. In fact, I believe it is the only place in Illinois to have an actual whitewater venue, save for the short manmade rapid on the Fox River in Yorkville. The trip itself takes about 3 hours when allowing for short breaks. Many parties can make a longer trip out of it when stopping for picnicing, short swims and such along the way. First off, the scenery on the trip is gorgeous, unlike most of the rest of Illinois. The setting is in a deep river valley covered with bountiful hardwoods and occasional limestone bluffs. Soon, the lack of development along the river corridor is apparent. I believe along the entire 9 mile float, the only developments you will pass by besides the cement plant (just one 300 yard section), a couple of bridges and 2 or 3 farmhouses. In one section, you can float underneath a limestone cliff. Another unique feature is the change in geology along the way, which is noticed initially at Wildcat rapids. Many days, a few vultures can be seen in the skies high above, riding the thermals coming off the bluffs. Occasionally, an eagle or a hawk will be spotted doing the same. Blue herons will be seen here and there in the shallows looking for a fish meal. The only sounds you may hear is the sound of laughing water in the frequent riffles if you are so lucky to go when there's no people nearby, otherwise it will include the sound of rafting and kayaking parties having fun. The only true "whitewater", if you will is Wildcat Rapids, the cement factory dam slide, and the fun straight section about a quarter mile below the dam slide. For the uninitiated, just remember to stay tight to the right side at Wildcat and the dam. I have used Vermillion River Rafting for over 15 years and never had a problem. This is a family run operation, and one can expect larger crowds on the weekends during the spring and early summer. During the week, the crowd is much less to almost non-existent. When you keep in mind that their operation is all weather dependent and conditions can change rapidly, it pays to give them a call before you come out to make sure they are operating. Many times, they will have to close down after mid-July, but it depends on conditions. As far as a "beginner's" river, well, I would say that specifically for whitewater rafting, it is. But that said, you should have at least one person that is familiar with watercraft paddling basic skills. If you have questions on that, ask the staff. Though I haven't experienced it, I see some reviews saying they're rude. However, I have seen it the other way around with some of the groups and parties that come through. Enjoy, it's a great time and it's a nice, easy day trip from the Chicagoland area.
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Date of experience: July 2018
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Britney wrote a review Jun 2019
Chicago, Illinois11 contributions21 helpful votes
My honest opinion is that this was a lot of fun HOWEVER I agree with the other reviewers that there was not enough explanation. We left singing RIGHT RIGHT LEFT, because that is what they told us as far as avoiding dangerous areas. We started off backwards then spinning in circles so we were not off to a good start. We were definitely a below average paddle team... by the time we reached the wildcat we were not sure if we were supposed to go right or left but we all agreed last minute that it was RIGHT because we did not have enough time to see the huge rock. They did tell us about the rock and to avoid it but we made the wrong decision and BAM hit the rock. The person in front was screaming THIS IS HOW THE TITANIC WENT DOWN and my dear friend held on to me for her life screaming OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. I fought the rock with a paddle and our entire raft went under.. we popped up a few seconds later and our raft was full of water. Bring a cooler because that’s the only way we got the water out of the raft. Also bottles of water are useful but drink them before wildcat.. we saw some eagles and a raccoon. The views were actually very beautiful. Overall a fun experience and a lifelong story to tell. I will go again but will be wearing a helmet.
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Date of experience: June 2019
2 Helpful votes
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Lori S wrote a review Jul 2018
1 contribution5 helpful votes
Tried to make a reservation 3 times over the course of a week and was told the water was too low to send people out, but to call back on the day I wanted to go to see if it was any better, and when I did that suddenly the water was fine and they were all booked for the day. Really frustrating.
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Date of experience: July 2018
1 Helpful vote
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