Whether you’re a born thrill-seeker or take a decidedly less adventurous approach to life, you can find joy and excitement while whitewater rafting. There are hundreds of beautiful locations to consider, but some of the best places to go whitewater rafting are situated throughout the United States. If you’re thinking about booking a bus getaway to navigate the water and take in the stunning scenery, here are five of the most enticing destinations out there.
1. Jackson Hole, WY
Spending a warm day whitewater rafting in Jackson Hole is something of a tradition for many people. It’s a family-friendly location where you can easily immerse yourself in the trappings of the area’s countless waterways. There are a number of tours that you can join through a variety of local rafting companies. You can select from a relaxed, placid, and scenic float along the Snake River, or a more energetic whitewater trip that is sure to bring a rush of adrenaline as you negotiate the furious rapids with your raft mates. Pay special attention to the area that runs through Grand Teton National Park into Jackson Hole — you’re surrounded at every turn by brilliant scenery.
2. Tuolumne River, CA
You could easily spend a few days enjoying the incredible scenery as you enjoy a trip along the Tuolumne River, located a couple of hours from Sacramento and just 40 minutes from Yosemite. There’s something for any water sports enthusiast here, although many parts of the Tuolumne are quite steep and challenging. You’ll encounter serious drops and large boulders before you approach a more mellow, scenic area that soothes your nerves. In this area, you can take a few calming breaths and enjoy the crisp, fresh air, the clear streams around you, and the waterfalls in the midst of the Sierra foothills. Then it’s back to the more challenging, intense waters. Feel free to book a single 18-mile trip over the course of a few days if you prefer a more relaxed whitewater rafting pace.
3. Deschutes River, OR
People of all ages will enjoy a raucous trip along the Deschutes River. Everyone can enjoy the simplicity of splashing around in a few class I rapids before attempting more challenging waters. Some of the best action happens on the lower Deschutes River, where the class III Boxcar Rapids and class IV Oak Springs Rapids are. You’ll meet thick slashes of water as you navigate these portions — especially in Oak Springs, where the waters are consistent and often turbulent. There are sharp stones situated throughout, so it’s best to go straight through without stopping for a swim! Keep your eyes wide open throughout the journey — you may spot ospreys or bighorn sheep along the way.
4. Salmon River, ID
The Salmon River provides about 425 miles of beauty that you can truly only find in Idaho. The appeal here is in its versatility — you can confidently bring the whole family along to partake in a variety of different challenges. There are rich, aggressive rapids from time to time mingling with serene floats. Of course, you’re welcome to swim if you want to feel a rush of cool water on your skin. It’s worth a trek to the Middle Fork Salmon River, which is home to more than 100 different whitewater rapids, plus waterfalls and hot springs. Or take the family to the Lower Salmon and enjoy some quality time camping on the beach and splashing in the water. For a more nature-driven experience, make your way to the Main Salmon, where whitewater excursions are a little more ambitious — but the payoff comes in the form of dramatic wilderness and astounding scenery that’s impossible to resist.
5. Gauley River, WV
If you’re more of a competitive rafter in search of the best places to whitewater raft in the country, look no further than the Gauley River. There’s nothing here for the timid — in fact, this dramatic waterway is known as one of the world’s finest and most challenging. The rapids require skill to manage, but the scenery is nothing short of dramatic. It’s a delight for anyone with at least intermediary experience rafting, but the advanced set will appreciate the rugged experience of more challenging class V+ waters. If you do wish to take on a more aggressive rafting trip, you’ll need to have prior experience and a proven ability to handle tricky waters with ease.
Book Your Whitewater Rafting Adventure Today
You don’t need to look far to book the adventure of your dreams. Now that you have an idea of some of the best places to whitewater raft in America, it’s time