In Idaho, Lochsa, Tuolumne, and the Gauley River are undoubtedly the top three Class V rivers in the United States and commercial rafting trips can take anywhere between 1 / 3 days to 3 days. I was lucky enough to lead excursions on these rivers and many others in the US and around the world to give a good perspective on a fantastic whitewater rafting trip. Beyond the waters of the nation’s most extreme rapids, these rivers offer paddlers of all levels some of the best whitewater rafting in the country from coast to coast.
As far as it goes with white water rafting Colorado has the Colorado River, which snakes 226 miles through Colorado, Utah and Arizona and is one of the most important rafting destinations in the country. With a total length of 1,450 miles from the mountains of Colorado to Mexico, you can find some of the best whitewater rafting in the states of Utah and Arizona. The Grand Canyon is never too far away when swimming or rafting on the challenging waters of the Colorado River.
Nine rafting companies operate on the river and offer a variety of excursions from half-day excursions to extended two-week trips. Those who want to experience the excitement of the Colorado River should start planning now, as rafting tours are only open to the public and are sold out two years in advance.
While most visitors head for the great rapids in the Middle Fork section of the river, those looking for a longer trip can enjoy a fantastic week of rafting, river tours and other attractions. The rapids in the middle fork are challenging enough for the hardy rafters, and when the water in the rapids is high enough, the river levels drop significantly in summer, making rafting more family-friendly. Beginners can opt for a day trip down the Upper New River for a more relaxed rafting experience with opportunities for swimming, wildlife watching and Class III rapids (optional).
This river, which runs through beautiful valleys and gorges, is a great destination for rafting in the southeast. Scenic forest river rides offer fun, bouncy Class II rapids, which are the perfect way to get kids excited about whitewater. The Mississippi is one of the best places in the country for white water rafting with the opportunity to involuntarily swim down a river that winds through volcanic canyons and pristine rainforest.
The famous Chattooga River has been the scene of white water rafting events since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and many of its rapids, including Bull Sluice, Magic Falls, Sock Em Dog and Woodall Shoal, are well-known and popular with rafters across the state. The Tuolumne River is one of the most sought after and challenging whitewater rafting rivers in the U.S. While the river may not be the best option for beginners, it will certainly provide some of the best white water rafting in the country for experienced paddlers looking for a satisfying challenge.
These rivers live up to their classification as “wild” as they offer a range of Class II and IV rapids and some of the best white water rafting in the USA. With Class I and II rapids where Class III is available, the Rogue River provides white water rapids in the Grant Pass area.