Water levels of the runnable rivers in Uttarakhand ebb and flow like our body water levels in different seasons. Sometimes the river water levels are too low for kayaking or rafting. Sometimes the levels are too high for negotiating the rivers on kayaks or rafts safely. However, all the rivers do not become dehydrated or excessively hydrated simultaneously for same number of days. These periods of dehydration and excessive hydration create deterrent conditions for both the adventure activities.
For example, Uttarakhand does not permit these outdoor recreational activities on any of the rivers in July-August because the rivers are overly hydrated. The Rule 3 of the Uttarakhand River Rafting / Kayaking Rules 2014 clearly defines the river-specific seasons for the safety of both the thrill seeker and the thrill provider:
The longest and shortest seasons for kayaking and rafting
Twelve (12) rivers of Uttarakhand allow river running for more than 2,770 days (more than 7.5 years) annually.
Nine (9) out of the twelve rivers compete for the rank of the longest season. All nine rivers are runnable for 275 days each.
The Ramganga East and West rivers have the shortest kayaking and rafting season of 77 days each.
The Alaknanda, the Bhagirathi, the Ganga, the Kali
These four rivers are runnable from September 15th to June 15th, for nine months every year. You can enjoy 275 days of river running on each of these four rivers every leap year and one less day during a non-leap year.
The Gori, the Kosi, the Pinder, the Saryu, and the Tons
The runs of these five rivers open on September 15th every year. The kayakers and rafters can safely chase the rapids until June 15th.
The Yamuna River
The Yamuna River is safe to kayak and raft from
- April 1 to June 15, 76 days and
- September 15 to November 30, 77 days
In total, you can therefore explore rapids of the Yamuna River in Uttarakhand for 153 days
The Ramganga East and the Ramganga West rivers have total of 154-day rafting and kayaking season stretching from September 15 to November 30.
What is kayaking and rafting season?
According to the Rule 3 (1), the season is the period in which both the activities are permitted on different rivers of Uttarakhand.
The Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board may revise the kayaking and rafting schedule depending on water volume in the rivers.
Do rivers of Uttarakhand go on a holiday?
Like us, the rivers also take an off every year. All the rivers except Yamuna and Ramganga East and West take a holiday (i.e. non-runnable) for only three months (91 days).
The Ramgangas take the longest holiday: 288 days each. The holiday season of the Yamuna is the second longest: 212 days.
What is off season?
The Rule 4 defines off season as annual rainy season stretching from June 16 to September 14. During this period, both outdoor recreational activities are prohibited.