You’re all set for a thrilling and adventurous holiday ahead! What better way to have the most mind blowing experience ever than to take part in some amazing adventure sports event. And when you think of extreme sports, river rafting comes to the mind. River rafting is considered to be one of the most exhilarating and challenging water sports till date. There’s nothing like the rush you feel paddling through the chaotic water, passing different landscapes which go by in a whirl and discovering new places in a unique way. It’s a wonderful way to be a part of nature, it requires little skill as there are provisions for beginners and for experts; also there’s a wide range of ages. So, you excited yet to begin your river rafting vacation?
Just one problem, you don’t know where to go. So to help you out, here is a list of top 10 best places in the USA to choose from to have a memorable river rafting experience:
10. Ocoee River, Polk County, Tennessee
This river has been a favorite of rafters and kayakers since the past 3 or 4 decades. Being a mountain river, its whitewater comes rushing down from northern Georgia to southeastern Tennessee from where it joins Lake Ocoee. Starting with only three rafting companies, today it has become a home for almost 3-4 lakh rafters that visit annually. You’ll be surrounded by greenery because of the Cherokee National Forest and you’ll find wild life enthusiasts, fisherman, campers and photographers everywhere. The only thing to remember is you have to be over 12 to participate in any of the rafting events. Considered the greatest whitewater center of the world, Ocoee will take you on roller coaster ride that will have you begging for more.
9. Gauley River, West Virginia
This is another very popular destination for whitewater rafting. It is rated as not only the one of the top 10 rivers for rafting in America but also in the world. If you’re looking for a 2 to 3 days rafting trip, this place will be ideal for you. With breathtaking scenery to surround the river, you’ll be offered about 100 major rapids or maybe even more. Rafting through this river can be challenging for some and that’s why Upper Gauley with a 650 feet vertical drop is not recommended for beginners. You’ll have a guide, you’ll have to peddle hard and strain your muscles a bit but the exhilaration you’ll feel will be worth it. The river is open all year round to rafters but for six weeks in the summer, something called Gauley season is considered the best time to hit the water.
8. New River, West Virginia
This place has it all and most people who visit think of it as almost heaven. It has some of the best restaurants, arts and crafts, and adventure sports. What more do you need? The New River is a historic place with the highlight of the trip for many being The New River Gorge Bridge which is along the quieter and calmer parts of the river hidden between the beautiful scenery. You can take your family along because ages as young as six are allowed in certain areas like Upper New River. There are high adventure, big waves and tame to crazy adventures waiting for you amidst this beautiful wilderness.
7. Rogue River, Oregon
This place has a different kind of charm because of the canyons with its enormous whitewater stretches with a sprinkling of mild and placid pools too. It’s usually described as dramatic because of the sudden changes in the water flow. There is a fir forest with an abundance of wildlife consisting of some of the rarest species. The river is about 40 miles long and there are lovely old world lodges on the banks. With Rogue River, you’re in for a unique experience.
6. Middle Fork of Salmon River, Idaho
This destination is considered a legend among all whitewater rafting rivers. A very long stretch of 150 miles greets you with fresh and clear water. The drop is of 3000 feet! The wilderness surrounding it is untamed, uneven and natural. More than 300 rapids are in store for you as you paddle your way through the wild water of this river. You’ll have a trip of a lifetime but first you need to get a permit if you want to get a piece of this action.
5. Great Rivers, Montana
If you have a taste for the slightly crazy, startling and adrenaline pumping adventures, this place is for you. You won’t be able to survive it if you have a weak heart! The rapids that will come your way have been given names like ‘Bone crusher’ and ‘Jaws’ which are among the less scary ones. On the way you’ll find strange rose colored rocks and warm water too. There are bigger rafts for little kids and elder people to float on milder waters. Also, you’ll be accompanied by a variety of birds.
4. Penobscot River, Maine
You’re guaranteed whitewater indulgence in this fantastic rafting destination. Surrounded by remarkable scenery, the river consists of hundreds of steep falls called little waterfalls. Fast flowing crystal clear water is present to make your rafting trip intense. The western branch of the river is considered as the most sensible whitewater rafting locations in the entire eastern United States. Due to the speed of the water, it’s sometimes hard to control the raft and that’s why ages over 15 are recommended. Be ready to get lots of sunshine, exercise and fun.
3. Deschutes River, Oregon
This is another river which is referred to as dramatic, and that too for a good reason. The river originates from the Little Lava Lake in the Cascade Mountains; hence along the way you’ll find rock formations of lava, asphalt rocks and stones, which got hardened as the lava cooled down. The river is 250 miles long and is easily a favorite destination in Oregon. This is a must-visit destination when in The States. To experience the river at its best, you should take a trip falling between early spring and late fall. It doesn’t matter how old you are as long as you’re ready for little fun, Oregon style!
2. Cache La Poudre, Colorado
The river’s name translates from French as the “The Powder’s Hiding Place,” and there are many stories floating around behind such an unusual name, but no one knows which one is true. As Colorado’s only National Wild and Scenic River, it is a very popular destination. Even though it is less crowded during some seasons, this adds to the charm and enjoyment of a rafting experience enveloped by such beauty. The minimum age limit is 7 years. The total drop of Cache La Poudre has been estimated as 7000 feet! There is continuous action in store for you with constant rapids named Liquid Thunder, The Maw of Death, Twin Pin, Cardiac Corner, and the like. You have to paddle hard, but it is worth the experience at one of America’s top spots for whitewater rafting!
1. Colorado River, Colorado, Utah & Arizona
To end the top ten list of river rafting places in America, let’s go with Colorado River. This destination is the number one must-raft place in the USA, which will provide you with thrills that will last for a lifetime. The highlight of this trip would be to see and experience how the Colorado River runs into the Grand Canyon, one of the most natural landscapes ever and the world’s biggest offering for environmental beauty. The place is overbooked all year round and you have to get a reservation in advance. Once it’s over, you’ll want more of the amazing rapids, the clear and very deep canyon waters, and the surrounding mountain scenery. So, what are you waiting for?! Grab an oar!
I hope you’re ready to begin your river rafting adventure now, and have a blast at one of these top ten destinations!