10 fun Whitewater Center adventures to try this summer

10 fun Whitewater Center adventures to try this summer
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With more than 30 recreational activities, the Whitewater Center is a no-brainer for a fun day outside.

The center is made up of over 1,300 acres of protected land, 50 miles of trails, and access to the Catawba River and Long Creek.

Here’s our guide on how to spend a day at the Whitewater Center.

Pro Tip: I recommend starting with a dry activity like rock climbing, zip-lining or a ropes course before doing a water-involved activity like whitewater rafting or deep water solo.

(1) Rock climb one of the 95+ routes.

Details: The Whitewater Center’s outdoor rock climbing complex is one of the largest on the east coast. It has 35-45 top-rope routes, nearly 50 bouldering problems and a 46-foot tall spire.

Cost: $25

What to wear: Shirts with mid-drift covered, shorts or pants and closed-toed shoes. Climbing shoes can be rented for $6-$9.

Whitewater Center Rock Climbing

(2) Zip line through the trees and over rapids.

Details: Zip over the water and through the trees on one of the Whitewater Center’s five zip-lining routes. Choose between Figure 8, Double Down, Pine Zip, Canyon Zip and Canyon Crossing.

Cost: $59 for adult, $49 for youth.

What to wear: Shirts with mid-drift covered, shorts or pants and closed-toed shoes.

Whitewater Center Zip Lining

(3) Explore the trails.

Details: Hike, run or bike through the center’s over 50 miles of trails. Find trail status in the top right-hand corner of the website.

Cost: Free. Use of the trail system does not require an activity pass.

Whitewater Center Trail

(4) Don’t look down. Just jump!

Details: Take a leap from heights up to 100 feet. These jumps utilize a belay system to simulate a brief free-fall experience before slowly lowering participants to the ground.

Cost: $59 for adult, $49 for youth

What to wear: Shirts with mid-drift covered, shorts or pants, and closed-toed shoes.

(5) Reach new heights on the ropes course.

Details: Traverse between suspended platforms, rope bridges, and cargo nets while at heights of up to 50 feet. The Center has eight ropes course ranging from 15 feet to 50 feet including Ridge Course, Adventure Course, Ridge Traverse, Obstacle Challenge, Triple Track, River Course, Ridge Challenge and Canyon Spur.

Cost: $59 for adult, $49 for youth

What to wear: Shirts with mid-drift covered, shorts or pants, and closed-toed shoes.

Whitewater Center Ropes Course

Whitewater Center Ropes Course

(6) Kayak over whitewater.

Details: Paddle through class II-IV rapids on the world’s largest manmade whitewater river. There are four river channels: the Instruction channel, the Freestyle channel, the Wilderness channel and the Competition channel.

Cost: $30

Prerequisites: Must be an “experienced kayaker,” which the Whitewater Center defines as one who has experience in Class III whitewater and owns personal kayaking equipment. If you are not an experienced kayaker, the center offers instructional packages.

(7) Go whitewater rafting with a guide.

Details: A professional guide will lead you and up to seven other rafters through class II-IV whitewater rapids. There are three rafting options: Family rafting which is an introductory whitewater experience; adventure rafting which is more fast-paced; and big water rafting which is a high-intensity, high-water flow rafting experience.

Cost: $59 for adult, $49 for youth

What to wear: For warmer weather, a bathing suit, shorts and a T-shirt are recommended. Rash guards or quick-drying clothing is ideal. For cooler weather, waterproof rain jackets/pants, splash jackets and wetsuits are recommended. Wet suits, booties, and splash jackets are available for rent. Bathing suits must be worn under wet suit rentals.

Whitewater Center Rafting

(8) Relax on flatwater with a kayak or SUP.

Details: Paddle along the Catawba River and Long Creek and explore its islands by flat water kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP).

Cost: $30

(9) Climb 45 feet up and drop into a pool with Deep Water Solo.

Details: It’s rock climbing with a twist, or should I say a drop. Deep Water Solo has five walls ranging in height from 20 to 45 feet and utilizes falling into a deep pool of water instead of traditional climbing protection.

Cost: $30

What to wear: Swim attire and secured footwear like sneakers, water shoes or sandals with a back-strap.

whitewater center deep water solo

(10) Grab some food.

Details: After a long day of activities, you’ll need it. The Whitewater Center has five on-site food options ranging from grab-and-go to full-service.

  • River’s Edge – This spot is a full-service dining option that has a wide selection of food, beer, and wine and overlooks the river.
  • Pump House Biergarten – Offers as many as 60 craft beers on tap and a variety of made-to-order food options.
  • The Market – Mainly a selection of lighter, quick-grab options like wraps and salads.
  • Outfitters – This is the spot to grab snacks and nutritional products along with cold brew coffee and rotating craft beers.
  • Trail Center – Choose from a variety of housemade sides and drinks.
    Whitewater Center Chicken Sandwich

    The Southern Fried Chicken sandwich ($13)  from River’s Edge

    Whitewater Center The Pump House


    Can I bring my pets? Yes. Leashed pets are allowed.

    Can I bring my own food and beverage? No.

    Does the park rent out kayaks or paddleboards? Yes. Flatwater kayaks are included with the price of a Day Pass or Single Activity Pass, but guests with their own boats are welcome to load them to the Flatwater Dock. Whitewater kayaks are provided during instruction. Kayaks are available to demo for $25.

    Where can I keep my stuff? There are two options: one being a one-time-use locker ($2) that’s about the size of a basketball that can hold small items like keys, a phone, and glasses. The second storage option is a bin that’s about the size of a recycling bin. Those go for $12 and can be accessed throughout the day as many times as you need.

    Can I walk around for free? Yes. It’s free to hang out, but parking is $6.

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