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River Rapids Classification System

The river rapid classification system is NOT and exact science. This list covers a difficulty level far beyond anything you’ll find on the entire Kiamichi River. In rare cases the Kiamichi will form class III rapids, but only during a specific water level and not for long. It’s very likely you will never encounter a class III rapid at any point along the length we service. Most likely, you’ll be dealing with class II your entire trip.

  • Class I Easy. Smooth water; light riffles; clear passages, occasional sand banks and gentle curves. The most difficult problems might arise when paddling around bridges and other obvious obstructions.
  • Class II Moderate. Medium-quick water; rapids with regular waves; clear and open passages between rocks and ledges. Maneuvering required. Best handled by intermediates who can maneuver canoes and read water.
  • Class III Moderately difficult. Numerous high and irregular waves; rocks and eddies with passages clear but narrow and requiring experience to run. Visual inspection required if rapids are unknown. Open canoes without flotation bags will have difficulty. These rapids are best left to canoeists with expert skills.
  • Class IV Difficult. Long and powerful rapids and standing waves; souse holes and boiling eddies. Powerful and precise maneuvering required. Visual inspection mandatory. Cannot be run in canoes unless the craft is decked or properly equipped with flotation bags. Advance preparations for possible rescue work important.
  • Class V Extremely difficult. Long and violent rapids that follow each other almost without interruption. River filled with obstructions. Big drops and violent currents. Extremely steep gradient. Even reconnoitering may be difficult.
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