If you are looking for a summer adventure that will thrill everyone in your family, you would be wise to choose a whitewater rafting trip. The US is rich with an abundance of varied rivers, offering journeys for beginners or those who want more excitement. Here are six of the best whitewater rafting adventures to consider for your epic summer trip.
Colorado River – Arizona
You will get up close and personal with the grandeur of the Grand Canyon in a whole new way with a trip on the Colorado River. Choose from a quick one-day rafting trip or go all in with a two-week guided journey. For short trips, your route will likely run through the Hualapai Reservation. Here you will find the vibrant orange hues that distinguish the westernmost part of the canyon. Along the way, you will be treated to some of nature’s most stunning creations. Most average day-trippers will see Class II and Class III rapids, making this a moderate level of difficulty. Because this is such a popular destination, tours often book up more than one year in advance.
Arkansas River – Colorado through Arkansas
One of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the country is the mighty Arkansas River. The river begins in Colorado and travels through Kansas and Oklahoma into Arkansas. For a more gentle ride, start your trip in Buena Vista, Colorado. Here you will find an easy float surrounded by the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. From there, you can travel on an extended trip to the Browns Canyon section of the river, boasting Class II and Class III rapids with the exciting Zoom Flume and the Big Drop.
Kennebec River – Maine
A whitewater rafting trip along the Kennebec River is not for the faint of heart. The journey starts at the imposing Harris Station Dam, traversing through some of the country’s fastest rapids. This 12-mile trip is a full day of fun, making it a great choice if you are short on time but want maximum thrills. You will want to sign up for a tour with an expert before you tackle these Class III and Class IV rapids. Be ready to take on the Three Sisters portion of the trip and the harrowing Magic Falls drop.
New River Gorge – West Virginia
Dive deep into the beauty of West Virginia with a whitewater rafting trip along the New River Gorge. You will quench your family’s thirst for adventure on a variety of tours on the Gauley River. This river boasts 35 miles of choice, all the way up to thrilling Class V rapids. This gorge carries the distinction of being some of the most technical in the country, making it a good choice for adrenaline junkies. Beginners or families can choose a day trip meandering on the Upper New River. Here you will find opportunities to spot wildlife, get out and swim, and soak up the beauty of Mother Nature.
Salmon River – Idaho
The Salmon River features a wide range of trip lengths and intensities, giving you plenty of options as you plan your whitewater rafting trip. The Middle Fork section consists primarily of Class III and IV rapids while the Main Salmon and Lower Salmon sections are Class III. For a longer trip, you can choose the Middle Fork adventure. This trip will take approximately five or six days to complete. The journey starts on a chilly alpine river and ends in a colorful desert canyon, providing a wide range of scenery as you make your way down the river. Families and extreme adventurers alike will appreciate the offerings of the Main Salmon trip, ranging in length of just half-day to a full week.
Whatever your travel fancy, you will find a whitewater rafting trip to fit your preferences and budget all over the US. Adventure is waiting!