Best U.S. Rivers For White Water Rafting

June 30, 2016 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

There are many rivers in the U.S. that offer thrills for even the most hardened adventure seeker. Those wanting such an adventure will want to make plans to go white water rafting down at least one of these rivers. Some extreme sports enthusiasts make it a goal to explore all of these rivers to check their white water rafting adventure trip off of their vacation bucket list. Here are some of the best rivers in the U.S. for white water rafting.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Arkansas RiverWhite water rafting trips along the Arkansas River will take you from Colorado to Arkansas as you pass through Kansas and Oklahoma. Those wanting a more challenging adventure will want to go rafting along the Rocky Mountains in Colorado or take extended trips through gorges, valleys and mountainous terrain. The Arkansas River offers rafting adventures for all skill levels, including beginner to advance.

No matter what your skill level is, there are tours available to take you white water rafting on the Arkansas River. Some of the more popular tours include Arkansas River Tours, Wilderness Aware Rafting and Buffalo Joe’s Rafting. All offer a variety of different tours including full-day, half-day and multi-day adventures.

Related: Outdoorsman’s Guide To Lake Havasu

Gauley RiverLocated in West Virginia is the Gauley River. This 35-mile stretch of river offers challenges for the most experienced rafters. This adventure will take you through gorges and valleys that offer a great backdrop for your whitewater experience. Your whitewater adventure will take you over more than one hundred rapids that are nationally ranked as some of the most technically difficult rivers in the entire country. Beginners who want to tackle the Gauley River will want to try out a single day trip on the Upper New River — this is more of a laid back experience and the rapids are not as challenging.

You will find tour companies offering white water rafting adventures on the Gauley River ranging from mild to wildest. Some of those companies include Ace Adventure Resort, River ExpeditionsGauley River Adventures and Adventures on the Gorge.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Colorado RiverWhite water rafting down the Colorado River will provide a view of the Grand Canyon that will take your breath away. This is a great way to experience this national park like you never have before. Though parts of this river can be challenging, there are sections of the Colorado River that offer single day trip experiences for beginning rafters. You can also challenge yourself for multi-day trips that will take you through some of the rougher waters of the river. No matter which tour or section of the river you tackle, you will be amazed by the rich orange hues of the western portions of the canyon.

Experience the might of the Colorado River by taking one of the guided tours available. Some of the popular companies operating on the Colorado River include Western River, Grand Canyon Whitewater, Wilderness River Adventures and Arizona River Runners. Check with each of these companies for a list of their different tours and schedules.

Kennebec RiverThe Kennebec River is a popular river for beginning whitewater rafters. Though this river has spots where you will be given a thrill, it is a very easy waterway to navigate and raft down. If you want a challenge, make your way down to Magi Falls where you will find some of the most harrowing rapids on this river. One of the best ways to enjoy this river is to take part in a guided white water rafting tour. Popular tour companies operating on the Kennebec River include Three Rivers, Kennebec River Rafting and Crab Apple Whitewater.

Related: Outdoorsman’s Guide To Jackson Hole

Nenana RiverThe Nenana River offers breathtaking views of glaciers, Denali National Park and the steep canyons of the Alaska Range Mountains. Rapids in this river can be very impressive and perfect for someone looking to improve their white water rafting skills. Those wanting to experience the wild side of Alaska will want to add a trip to Denali National Park and plan a white water rafting adventure. Tour companies in the area offer full-day, half-day and multi-day whitewater rafting excursions. Some of those companies include Raft Denali, Denali Raft Adventures, Denali Outdoor Center and Denali Park Village.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Salmon RiverMake plans to go on an adventure along one of the world’s most popular whitewater rivers. The Salmon River will take you through challenging rapids. During your adventures, you will see glorious alpine and forest scenes. In addition to the breathtaking landscape you will see, you will also encounter unique wildlife, including bears swimming in the water and elk sipping water on the shoreline.

Enjoy a guided tour of the Salmon River by signing up to be a part of a whitewater rafting excursion. There are many different companies that will take you down the river, through varying skill levels of rapids and on an adventure of a lifetime. Some of the more popular rafting companies in the area include Salmon River Experience, Sawtooth Adventure Company and Idaho River Adventures.

Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.

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