Friday, November 22, 2019 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

10 Best Whitewater River Rafting Trips in the US

White water rafting is an amazing adventure, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter. Many of these featured whitewater rafting trips are on rivers that offer both calmer, easier sections for novices and up to Class V rapids for those who want an adrenaline pumping thrill.

Here are the 10 best whitewater river rafting trips in the US:


1    Colorado River, Arizona

The water on the Colorado River can be challenging, but the views as people are fighting the rapids are worth the work. People can see the Grand Canyon from a different vantage point as they travel down the river to their final destination. While there are many day trip options available, there are also many extended journeys that people can take along the river.
Colorado River, Arizona
2    Gauley River, West Virginia

The Gauley River has thirty-five miles of heavy duty challenges for even the most experienced whitewater rafters. The river winds through gorges and valleys and on an excellent day of rafting, there will be more than one hundred rapids to conquer. It is a very remote place, so it may not be the best place for a beginner to start their first or even second whitewater rafting journey.
Gauley River, West Virginia
3    Rogue River, Oregon

Rogue River goes from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and the scenery is nothing less than fabulous. There are multiple areas with challenging rapids including Rainie Falls, Upper and Lower Black Bar Falls, and Blossom Bar. Anyone just starting out with whitewater rafting will want to test out the gentler Argo rapids between Hog Creek and Grave Creek. While whitewater rafting anywhere on this river, people will want to watch out for bald eagles, osprey, and heron.
Rogue River, Oregon
4    Arkansas River, Colorado and Arkansas

The Arkansas River has some of the best rapids and people can whitewater along this river whether they live in Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, or Oklahoma. Any trip that begins at Buena Vista will be easy at first, but the challenges will happen, especially near the Browns Canyon section of the river.
Arkansas River, Colorado And Arkansas
5    Nenana River, Alaska

The Nenana River flows from the Mt. McKinley glacier in Alaska and continues to Denali National Park. There are at least ten miles of challenging rapids and people may be too busy with the rapids to notice any of the wildlife that is watching contently from the shoreline.
Nenana River, Alaska
6    Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania

Whitewater river rafting can even be found near major cities as is the case with the Youghiogheny River. The flow of this river is constant during the rafting season which is eight months long in this area. Each section of the river has different types of rapids and people are encouraged to choose the rapids that fit their level of experience. Anyone who has been whitewater rafting for a while will love the challenge of the Lower Youghiogheny River where the demanding and fun Double Hydraulics and Railroad rapids are located.
Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania
7    Deerfield River, Massachusetts

The Deerfield River is another one that is not too far from a major city. In this case, anyone who lives in Boston can travel for only two hours and then they are ready to hit the rapids. This river goes from Vermont over to Northern Massachusetts and the most fierce rapids can be found near the Monroe Bridge Dryway.
Deerfield River, Massachusetts
8    Salmon River, Idaho

There are plenty of options when it comes to the length of a whitewater rafting trip on the Salmon River. The middle fork offers challenging rapids while the rapids in the main Salmon and lower Salmon are a little calmer. Anyone who decides to do a multi-day tour will want to take advantage and stop at many of the hot springs that can be found near different sections of the river.
Salmon River, Idaho
9    Chattooga River, South Carolina and Georgia

The Chattooga River has a little bit for everyone, so beginners and experienced rafters will enjoy their time on this wonderful river. There are trips ranging from advanced courses requiring technical expertise to beginners’ trips that can be enjoyed by kids as young as eight years old. The scenery around the river is amazing and there are many towns where people can begin their journey.
Chattooga River, South Carolina And Georgia
10    Tuolumne River, California

There are multiple whitewater river rafting choices in California, but the Tuolumne River stands out as the best of the best. It begins inside Yosemite National Park before plunging into the Cherry Creek area. The main portion of the Tuolumne River is an easier trip and the eighteen miles can be completed in one day or multiple days, depending on who is making the trip.
Tuolumne River, California


Whitewater river rafting is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. Picking the right trip for your experience level will allow everyone from young children to seasoned pros to enjoy the thrill of paddling through pristine nature on these beautiful rivers. Everyone who attempts the rapids needs to make sure that they are ready for anything that happens while they are out in the water. Once a person is inside the raft, the fun and challenges can begin.


  1. April 19, 2017 - 6:08 am

    Amazing Adventures trips! Thanks for sharing the great knowledge

  2. September 27, 2017 - 9:08 pm

    I’ve only been rafting a few times, but I love the idea of going again next summer with my family on vacation. I especially like the idea of going on the Colorado River or the Rogue River. However, my youngest child is 10. Do any of the above rivers have any age limitations?

  3. Bobby Saint
    February 13, 2018 - 2:37 am

    I appreciate you sharing some of the best river rafting trips in the US. The places you listed are surely very beautiful such as the Gauley River in West Virginia and the Rogue River in Oregon. I personally haven’t tried water rafting myself but I would definitely try it out if given the opportunity. Thanks for sharing this.


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