Our Story

Since our inception, our goal at Swiftwater has always been to supply whitewater rafting adventures to anyone and everyone, no experience necessary. Our objective for those adventures is to make them safe, fun and interactive as possible. From families and friends, to youth groups and company outings, we want all kinds of people on the river having fun, and do so in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Swiftwater Adventures is guide owned and operated. It was founded in 2014 by guide, kayaker and naturalist Cliff Langley; long time guide and world traveler Luke Aker; and guide, wood working aficionado, and music professor Brian Pfeifer. With well over 50 years of river running experience between the three of us we wanted safety and fun to be our number one goal. We also wanted to create an immersive experience where everyone is part of the trip rather than just an observer.

Through our experiences guiding on the St. Louis River as well as other rivers and adventures across the globe we decided on the Swiftwater method to accomplish our goal of providing a fun, safe and interactive trip:

As far as safety and fun are concerned: We learned the value of in raft guides the hard way. Brian, Cliff and Luke all worked for a company called Superior Whitewater back in the day. The unique thing about SW was that there was no guide in the raft (sounds crazy, yes). The guides/trip leaders were in kayaks and they verbally coached you down the river. If a family showed up it was usually dad who was given a literal crash course on how to steer a raft, then follow us down the river. We were good at the safety briefing and getting people down the river safely but it was often an exercise in frustration for both the clients and the guides. When we started Swiftwater an in-raft guide became a necessary!!

We train our guides in swiftwater rescue, reading and running whitewater, paddling skills, communication skills, and the art of fun! Having an in-raft guide not only allows everyone to just focus on paddling and the guide’s commands, but it’s safer. All equating to more fun! Additionally, we have each trip led by an experienced safety kayaker to ensure high safety standards and quality control.

Our veteran guides and trip leaders aren’t just experienced in the art of whitewater but also in natural history of the river. For those that are interested they can learn more about the river ecosystem. We also offer you mini adventures within the rafting adventure, like the adventure swim, raft surfing, side hike, and more! We do so with our challenge by choice philosophy: you can participate in the extra adventures or chose not to. The objective of all these is to create and interactive adventure that is more than just rafting. Sometimes the river is big water class III+ action and it’s all consuming, and sometimes the first few are class II+ rapids and the last 3 class III technical so things slow down a bit and you can do extra. Regardless of the flows, we strive to give you a fun experience every time!

Today, we have a great staff of veteran guides and new talent trained in the art of fun, safe and interactive adventures. It’s an ever evolving process as we try to better ourselves each day. Click on About Us to learn more about our trip leaders and guides.

What Our Clients Say!

Very enjoyable experience

Great experience , we had good weather and the guides were great and very informative Well organized and up-to-date on Covid precautions.

It was a blast can’t wait yo go back!!!

Very professional!!! A Lot of fun!! Highly recommended. Guides made sure it was fun and that you were having a good time!!

Great time!

It was great! My family of four (youngest 11 years old) had no experience with whitewater rafting and felt safe and had a ton of fun throughout the whole trip. We would definitely recommend it!

Great fun rafting!

It was an amazing experience. The staff was very professional yet extremely welcoming. Will go again.

Awesome experience!

Awesome trip! We had a great time! The staff was amazing and we got to surf the rapids. The drop was super fun! Would totally do it again!!

Great family day trip!

This was a great family adventure, ages 14-50s. We all loved it! Our guides were skilled, friendly, and fun! Keep us all safe and helped us have an awesome day on the river. Highly recommend it.

Fun Family Adventure!

The whole set up was perfect for a fun family adventure of all skill levels. The tour guides were fantastic!

Great experience

I went there yesterday for my birthday and it was AMAZING!! Will definitely go back! Caleb was awesome.

Day on the river

Whitewater rafting with Swiftwater Adventures was the highlight of our trip. Highly recommended. Everyone that works there from the bus driver to the very competent guides were pleasant and fun. Our family loved it.

Do it!!!

I have lived in Duluth 20 years, and cannot believe I haven't tried this until this year! It was a blast, and a very memorable highlight of the summer. The water level was high, making for a very wet ride. I wish I had worn a bathing suit for the experience we had. There was an adventure swim and the option to jump from a granite cliff, during a picturesque stop. The scenery is like the BWCA, with the cliff and pines. The staff were very organized, capable, and friendly. Two staff accompanied our group of rafts for safety and photos. I cannot wait to do this again, and I have been raving about the experience to my friends.


Did not expect to have this much fun on our rafting trip. The rapids are much more than we expected which was awesome. We were worried it might be lame but it exceeded our expectations. Our guide, Trent, was so much fun.


It was an excellent experience that is exciting for everyone of all ages. The rapids are perfect, not too intimidating, yet incredibly thrilling. Great guides, definitely coming back!

Rafting on the St Louis River, MN

Surfing and the Electric Ledge. Patrick was our guide, he was awesome. Great photos! We will go again.

Awesome Ride for all ages

This was an awesome Ride! We went along with friends and family and really enjoyed it. It's not scary or risky, it's kids friendly. Our kids jumped into the water and swimmed also. The guides who came with our group are very friendly and gave us safe instructions and took care of us. Kory and Luke, Andy good Pictures! Carlson nice support! Thank you for this awesome experience!


We had a fantastic time and loved our guides. Lucas, Andy and Karsten were the best!! It was our first time and wasn’t nearly as scary as I worried it would be... in large thanks to Lucas! Thanks guys!!!!

Amazing rafting experience on the St. Louis River!

My son and I had a fantastic time! Our guide was amazing and informative! Plus, he kept me from getting sucked into the water when "surfing" our raft, which was an added bonus! Thanks for that Carston! The view was amazing along the St. Louis river too. Would love to kayak the Thomson Reservoir someday after this trip opened my eyes to it. Everything was done professionally following COVID guidelines too. We had so much fun and would highly recommend company and the adventure itself to anyone visiting Duluth! You won't regret it!

Great Family Experience

Our family of five had a great trip. 17 yr old, 14 and 10. We had never whitewater rafted before. We felt safe and our guide was great. The precautions taken for covid were fantastic. Thank you very much!