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Trip Reports Offer Enhanced Sharing of River Trips

Posted: 12/06/2022
By: Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater has revitalized the Trip Report option on our website, and we hope paddlers will take advantage of it! Trip Reports allow anyone logged into the American Whitewater website to tell the story of a river trip by sharing any combination of photos, text, date, and water levels. The most recent three reports are found at the bottom of every river page, and all reports are located on the Trip Report tab on river pages. We encourage paddlers to give it a try; here are a few suggestions on how we hope paddlers use the Trip Report option. 


Recommended Trip Report Use


  • Current Conditions: Paddlers are always searching for up-to-date information on dynamic river conditions like strainers, rapid changes, access changes, etc. The top Trip Report on the page will offer the most recent check-in on the river. So if you head out on the water and see changes or want to give future paddlers a heads-up or an all-clear, Trip Reports are a good place to do it. If you see a new dangerous situation you can also use the Alert function on the News and Info tab of any river page for a succinct heads-up that will be prominently displayed on the river page.


  • Sharing Photos: Trip Reports are now the only way to add photos to the American Whitewater river pages. We love high quality, high resolution photos that show off a river’s scenery and rapids. Staff use these often in our river stewardship work, and other paddlers enjoy them too when planning a trip. 


  • Paddling History: Trip Reports offer paddlers a chance to share and read about early or noteworthy descents of a river. As a community we don’t track first known or early descents in any organized way, but Trip Reports offer a neat crowd-sourced way to document some of the exploratory paddling history of rivers. If you think you were on an early descent of a river, you can add a simple Trip Report with the date, but even better is to share who you were with, the story of your descent, and any photos you might have. 


  • Lesser Known and Poorly Documented Rivers: Many creeks only get paddled a few times a year, or sometimes even only once every few years. Often there is little information about these rivers. Other rivers get run a lot but the AW site is sparse on information. Trip Reports offer vital information for paddlers that come after you about seasonality, flows, rapids, wood, etc. While you could also update the river description on the general tab, the Trip Report option allows you to share some information on the river including photos in a more personal manner. 


  • Story Telling: If you like writing and had an interesting and memorable trip that you think people would be interested in, Trip Reports give you a forum for story telling. Be cognizant that political leaders, agency staff, hydropower operators, and non-paddlers read these stories, so keep the content appropriate for all audiences. 


Not Recommended for Trip Reports


Our vision for the Trip Report tab on each river page is that it offers engaging reading and photo viewing for website visitors. This focus on the reader means it is not the best place to record every photo of every personal descent of commonly-paddled rivers unless you are sharing photos or other compelling content that you think other paddlers would enjoy. In other words, we encourage you not to use the site as a personal river log, but rather as a public sharing tool. 


A Note About Old Content and Trip Reports


We’ve converted comments, photos, and trip reports from the old version of our site all into new trip reports, so you’ll see some trip reports that are light on content. If you are an author of some of this old content you might consider editing or removing it if it no longer conveys relevant information. You can also combine old or new photos into a single trip report through selecting “Assign to Report” on the page for any photo of yours on the Gallery Tab. This is a fun way to repackage older photos with more context, and can be used to consolidate multiple old trip reports into one new one (We'd appreciate it if you'd do this!).   


How to Add a Trip Report


Go to, and make sure you are logged in. If the site says log in in the upper right, you’ll need to log in as a registered user. Then click on River Info on the main menu and navigate to the river you are interested in either using the map or the state lists below. Once on the river page, select Trip Report from the menu on the left, and then click on the “+ New Trip Report” button. This will take you to the form for adding a Trip Report, in which you can add text, gage info, date, and photos. To add photos you can drag-and-drop multiple photos into the box at the bottom of the form that says “Drag and drop here or click to select,” or click in the box to open an upload form. We recommend that you drag and drop or upload one photo at a time to the form in chronological order, because the photos will appear in the order in which they were added to the Trip Report. Once you submit you can easily edit the Trip Report at any time from the Trip Report tab, after you click the edit pencil over the page menu.


We you enjoy Trip Reports! 


Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

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