East Race Waterway


Enjoy white water rafting in downtown South Bend on Niles Avenue. All equipment is provided. Rubber soled shoes with heel strap are required, no flip-flops and no sharp jewelry or objects may be worn. Prepare to get wet! Required height for rafting is 54”. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the raft. To see pictures from the East Race Waterway click here. 

Rafting/Kayaking FAQ

Are there changing rooms at the East Race?

No, but a handicap accessible restroom facility is available along with an outdoor rinse shower.

Will I get wet? 
Yes. It is recommended that you bring an extra set of clothes (e.g. socks, shorts, t-shirt, shoes) and towels. An old pair of shoes is recommended.


Is there a place to rent kayaks?
No, kayakers must supply own equipment.

Is there a kayak club?  
Please contact: Jason Tharp

Elements on Site:

  • Restrooms: Available in the Emporium Building
  • Picnic Tables: Eight tables, two tables on pads
  • Length: 3.1 miles of connected walkways.
  • Bandshell/Ampitheatre: One

East Race Information

  • A whitewater course for beginners & the advanced
  • Easy viewing of all waterway activities and competitions.
  • A fish ladder with seasonal viewing of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.
  • Nearby fishing for Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and small-mouth bass.
  • Part of a multiple park system that includes playgrounds, picnic facilities, & much more.
  • More than 5 miles of paved & lighted walking/running paths along the St. Joseph River

East Race FAQ

How long is the East Race Waterway?
1,900 feet

How long does it take to go down the East Race?
Approximately 5 minutes at a moderate speed.

Who helped build the East Race?
The South Bend engineering firm of Lawson & Fisher Associates, John Fisher Head Engineer.

How long did it take to build?
Two years.

How much did it cost to build?
$5 million with a $1 million grant and $4 million in local bonds.

When did the East Race open?
Approximately 270,000 people have enjoyed the East Race Waterway since opening in 1984.

What is the white water scale rating of the East Race?
The East Race runs at a 2 rating during recreational rafting and kayaking hours.

What is the flow speed of the East Race?
The East Race normally runs at a flow of 450 – 500 cubic feet per second.

Employment Opportunity

Apply here to be an East Race Lifeguard!