White Water Rafting in Downtown South Bend

Since opening in 1984, the East Race Waterway has given over 400,000 residents and visitors the thrill of white water rafting in downtown South Bend.

The East Race Waterway is the first man-made white water rafting course built in North America.

Before it was a white water rafting course, the east race of the St. Joseph River served another purpose as it was once a driver of industry in the South Bend community. For years, companies in South Bend, like the Studebaker Corporation and Oliver Chilled Plow Works, relied on the east race to heat and power their factories using a steam-powered generator. The east race helped shape shape South Bend as a city of industry.

Fast forward to present day and it continues to shape South Bend… just in a slightly different way. Instead of producing heat and electricity, the East Race Waterway now produces class 2 rapids and lifelong memories for rafters to test their skills and have some summer fun.

East Race Waterway
Battle the rapids along the East Race!

Every steep drop and big splash are all part of the thrill of white water rafting in downtown South Bend. You may even hit one of the rapids and be thrown into the water. No need to worry—many say you have not truly experienced the East Race until you end up in the water so enjoy it and get ready to belly laugh as your friends and family try to pull you back into the raft before you approach the next big rapid.

You and your fellow rafters will have to work together to keep a steady path as you battle all the twists, turns, and drops along the 1,900 ft long course. Rafts vary in size and can accommodate between 2 – 5 rafters per ride. If you have 5 minutes free, you can take a ride down the East Race! This is fun for any family or group of friends to enjoy.

Once you finish the course, you will want to go again and again. This course is great for rafters of all skill levels. If you prefer kayaking*, you can do that as well on the East Race.  

Connected walkways and bridges along the course will allow your family and friends to cheer you on and take photos of your journey down the rapids.

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.

Open June – August on Saturdays and Sundays, the East Race Waterway is a perfect, inexpensive way to spend a summer afternoon in The Bend. You can ride down all day or if you only have an hour free, you still have plenty of time to go white water rafting. If you have some friends and family that are adventure seekers like you, then the East Race Waterway must be a part of your weekend agenda in The Bend.

We hope you will come join us for fun and excitement this summer in downtown South Bend.

*NOTE: Kayakers must supply their own equipment