MAKE A SPLASH with white water rafting in downtown South Bend… That’s right downtown South Bend. The East Race Waterway is the first man-made white water rafting course in North America. Since opening in 1984, the East Race Waterway has provided hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors with a fun, inexpensive recreational venue.
For years, the east race of St. Joseph River served as a driver of industry in South Bend when the first electricity-producing plant in the city used a steam-powered generator on the east race to produce vast quantities of power that lit and heated most of South Bend and helped companies like the Studebaker Corporation and Oliver Chilled Plow Works power their factories.
Back then, the east race helped shape South Bend. Fast forward to today and it continues to shape South Bend, although in a slightly different way. Instead of producing electricity, the East Race Waterway is now producing class 2 rapids for rafters to test their skills and get a taste of what it is like to go white water rafting.
If you have 5 minutes, you can take a ride down the East Race! This is fun for any family or group of friends to enjoy. Rafts do vary in size according to the size of the group.
Grab a paddle, a raft, a helmet and life vest (all equipment provided for rafting) before you leave the dock and enter the East Race. You and your fellow rafters will have to work together to keep a steady course as you try to battle the rapids. Get ready for all the twists, turns and drops as you paddle through the 1,900 foot long course.
Once you finish the course, you will want to walk back to the start and go again and again. This course is great for rafters just starting out and those who are more experienced as well. If you prefer kayaking, you can do that as well on the East Race. You can also improve your kayaking skills against the rapids. ***NOTE: Kayakers must supply their own equipment***
Need a break from white water rafting and kayaking? The East Race Waterway also has a rock climbing wall on site as well as Mobile Elliptical Bikes called Street Striders that visitors can rent to exercise in a new, fun way while seeing the beauty of the St. Joseph River and downtown South Bend.
The East Race Waterway is open June – August on Saturdays, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, and Sundays, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.