The United States has the largest concentration of commercial river runners than any other country in the world. River rafting continues to become a popular adventure among all generations, from Baby Boomers down the generation Y. A majority of the people who are on river rafting trips have rafted before, which means that once experienced, a return to the river is sure to come. With so many places to choose from, which rivers offer the best rafting trips in the country.
Most of these places and rivers offer a wide variety of trip options, ranging from short half-day river trips to longer multi-day excursions. Packages and trips durations vary depending on the location and outfitter of choice.
Tuolumne River, California
The 27 miles (43km) you can raft on the Tuolumne River, which originates in Yosemite National Park, blends a wilderness experience with the excitement of challenging Class IV and V rapids. On one trip, you can start with big jolts, as you go over rapids with names like Nemesis and Rock Garden, then hone your pad-dling skills as you descend over drops, through chutes and maneuver around boulders.
Royal Gorge, Colorado
On this stretch of the Arkansas River, you raft through rapids with names like Sledgehammer and the Narrows, which can reach Class IV and V when the water is high. The river flows through sheer 1,100-foot-high (330m) cliffs during this stretch. If you want to do lots of paddling, ask about the adrenaline rafts that only hold four people.
Salmon River, Idaho
The unique geology of this Class IV river makes it a very interesting place with the pulse of the river changing dramatically even just in the course of a single day. Of course during different parts of the year it changes from a tame and lazy river to a voluptuous, white water spewing rafting destination from June to August and then back again.
This particular Chattooga River begins in North Carolina, traveling to northeastern’s Georgia’s Lake Tugalo. You will find everything from calm pools to exciting rapids along the way. If you’ve seen the movie “Deliverance”, you will recognize some of the rapids.