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Calico River Rapids Makes Big Splash

by Russell Tom

Yee-Haw! Calico River Rapids has officially opened at Knott’s Berry Farm, bringing the excitement of the wild frontier to life through a brand new experience that can only be described as tremendous.

The attention to detail is fantastic, providing plenty of picturesque views of the local scenery and really setting you up for a truly authentic frontier experience. As travelers make their way through the trail, they are met with countless creatures, including woodpeckers. threatening rattlesnakes, and a lone wolf that howls towards passerby as they embark on their river journey.

An abandoned moonshine operation along the nature hike

There are so many stunning scenes, a personal favorite being when you get the chance to stumble upon a fallen piece of timber, home to a majestic bear seeking their meal from the river. The bear stands on a rushing riverbank, making a fresh catch of fish. The entire buildup to the attraction’s climax is so immersive, it’s hard not to fall in love with the imagery throughout the entire experience.

A farmer’s cabin settled on the edge of a riverbank. The nearby chicken coop is being raided by a hungry fox

The attraction’s new theme adds that next level of charm, fitting in perfectly with the unique qualities that make Knott’s Berry Farm stand out. It also delivers from different perspectives, building up anticipation on what comes next, giving each rider a chance to ease into the adventure.

Citizens of Calico getting rafters soaked from explosives

Even if you aren’t on the attraction, you can still be involved, as the experience welcomes spectators to join in the fun and soak riders as they go by. All it takes is a simple push down on the handle and aim away. But beware, as the plunger may backfire, leaving you running for cover from the downpour.

Rafts traversing treacherous waterways

For those who may not know, Calico River Rapids is an updated version of the original Knott’s attraction, Bigfoot Rapids. Though the mysterious creature was heavily alluded to in the past, fans never got the chance to see more than subtle hints of its existence, such as footprints throughout the ride’s queue. After 30 years, the veil is lifted, as we get our first look at the creature in the ride’s grand finale.

A lone wolf howls at explorers aboard their vessel

After flowing under the Pony Express track that looms overhead, the river follows a straight path past a wrecked covered wagon. Travelers then are taken right past the Bigfoot’s homestead, where they get to lock eyes with the legendary creature.

The new story line really ties the aging rapids ride to the rest of Ghost town.  Thematically for years, Bigfoot Rapids felt like an out of place outcast that didn’t feel like it belonged.  Knott’s Berry Farm and Garner Holt Productions can be proud the goal they set out to do has been accomplished.

The queue winds its way thru this new path. This area used to be a series of switchbacks in the outdoors. A night and day difference between being an amusement park versus a theme park.

A raft rips thru the raging river

This is a very welcome and fun addition to a sorely needed attraction that was a prime candidate for a facelift.  A job well done for reinvigorating life back into this corner of park. Make sure to visit for yourself during Knott’s Berry Farm’s Seasons of Fun event. There’s so much to see and do. Happy trails! Can’t wait to join you on the adventure.

A live band plays in celebration of the Calico River Rapids grand opening
Calico River Rapids signage marks the entrance
The name of the trading post up river is painted on the side of these crates at the ride's entrance
A farmer's cabin settled on the edge of a riverbank. The nearby chicken coop is being raided by a hungry fox
Rafts traversing treacherous waterways
A lost bear cub is occupied by a game of whack-a-mole
The queue reaches a moonshine operation before crossing a bridge
A lone wolf howls at explorers aboard their vessel
Rattlesnakes displaying signs of danger to passing rafts
Rafts departing from the trading post upriver in search of new settlements
An outhouse directly outside the trading post
The queue ends at the trading post for settlers to take in rest and supplies before a ride down the river
Newly themed trading post interior
New decor with period-specific shelves, lanterns, traps, and other supplies and equipment to get ready for exploring the western wilderness
Admire the new details for Calico River Rapids
Ready for lodging accomodations
The queue winds its way thru this new path. This area used to be a series of switchbacks in the outdoors. A night and day difference between being an amusement park versus a theme park.
New timber support the new trading post theme to the un/load station
Lift hill with new surrounding log cabin theme for the new trading post
Momma bear never letting go of her catch of the day
A raft rips thru the raging river
A diligent cougar perched on top of boulders ready to pounce on rafters below
Pony Express roller coaster flies over Calico River Rapids
TNT ready set to blow sky high. Beware, the water may backfire!
Citizens of Calico getting rafters soaked from explosives

 

 

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