10 Best White Water Rafting Trips in the USA

10 Best White Water Rafting Trips in the USA

The Colorado River and Chattooga River will give you the 10 best white water rafting trips in the USA. They offer an exhilarating experience as they let you take in some of the most stunning sceneries that the country has to offer at the same time.

Whether you’re looking for some adventure or a way to connect with nature, these places should be on top of your list.

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular adventure sports all over the world. This is because it offers both some adrenaline rush and breathtakingly beautiful sights.

And for sure, even once in your life, this sport has piqued your interest too. And if you’re still on a quest to find the finest spot for this activity, lucky you, as you don’t need to look any further. Here’s a quick list where you can find the 10 best white water rafting trips in the USA today.

Chattooga River

If you’re from the southeast, you’ve guessed it right. Chattooga River offers one of the 10 best white water rafting trips in the USA. And, if you’re not from around here, you should add this to your bucket list quickly.

Apart from its intriguing name, this place also makes many people wonder what’s with it that even people from other countries flock to it for some whitewater adventure.

For starters, this place offers outstandingly remarkable values, which include wildlife, geology, history, and scenery. It’s perfect for those who are new to whitewater rafting as it has rafting sections that are classed as section III.

This means that it’s mild enough for beginners and families. Even if you come here with an eight-year-old family member, you need not worry much about the rapids.

Plus, the rapids aren’t too harsh, which gives you time to enjoy the scenic views surrounding the area. It also has swimming holes, which makes the rafting experience even better.

The trips here range from $90 to $130 depending on the day of your visit. There are also group prices available and the prices may vary too.

Nenana River

Another popular whitewater rafting spot is the Nenana River. Located in Alaska, this place is well-loved by locals and tourists alike. First, this is due to the endless sunny days that the location has to offer.

What’s more, this river flows through the Denali National Park. And that place is known for its legendary wildlife. That said, expect to see majestic eagles, cute wild sheep, and other adorable wildlife as you raft.

This place offers raft trips classed II and III. So, if you’re a beginner, you will enjoy it. Even if you’re an intermediate rafter, you will love this place too as it also has class IV rapids.

And since it runs through the Denali National Park, you have plenty of outdoor adventures waiting. Once you get tired of rafting, there’s backcountry camping, mountaineering, and more activities that people of all ages will love.

The rafting and/or tour prices at Nenana River hover between $97 and around $240 depending on the tour package or rafting options you choose.

Rogue River

As its name suggests, Rogue River offers some of the most challenging rapids in the United States and Pacific Northwest alike. If you’re a beginner at this sport, you might want to consider other sites. But, if you’re already confident with your rafting skills, this place is for you.

What makes it one of the 10 best white water rafting trips in the USA is its rapids that can get as challenging as class V. Rainie Falls is where you will experience it.

The best part of being here is the area that surrounds the river. Here, you can get to enjoy the pristine forested canyons where the Rogue River runs through. And this is what sets it apart front the whitewater rafting experience in the further south.

So, if you’re looking for the best adventure in Oregon, you should never miss this place. Of course, if you’re from the further south, don’t forget to add this to your list too. This place will offer you the best whitewater rafting trip you won’t experience in the south.

Arkansas River

Arkansas River

When talking about whitewater rafting, many people never miss mentioning Arkansas River as one of the top 10 best white water rafting trips in the USA.

This is due to the kind of heart-pounding adventure that it can give. Here, the rapids are rated Class IV to V. This is ideal for those who are confident enough with their whitewater rafting skills and who are looking for some heart-racing trip.

What makes this place worth the hype is that it is also perfect for families. Despite the scary rapids, the Arkansas River also lets you experience leisurely floats. So, if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure trip with your family and/or friends, this place is the one.

Furthermore, this place offers other opportunities to explore the great outdoors.  APart from white water rafting, you can also try hiking and biking in the Rockies with your group. The site is perfectly located near towns with great restaurants and bars.

Youghiogheny River

Youghiogheny River is as interesting as its name. Here, people of all ages can have fun. Hence, people love it.

With Class III to IV rapids, everyone – even with families with kids – will be able to make the most out of the white water rafting trips here.

Of course, the place also has terrific wildlife. And you can see them as you enjoy the waters of the Youghiogheny River.

The scenery in the area is also superb. With great flora and fauna, you will not only go home with your thirst for some outdoor adventure quenched; you will also return to your humble abode with unparalleled memories.

A guided white water rafting experience here could cost you about $72 to nearly $100. But then, again, the rates may depend on your chosen tour package.

Kennebec River

If you go to the northeast in Maine, you won’t have plenty of white water rafting trip options to choose from. In spite of such few options, one of Maine’s rivers made it to the top 10 best white water rafting trips in the USA – the Kennebec River.

This river is quite relatively new compared to the majority of the rivers on this list. This is because the Kennebec River just rebounded some time in 2004 after the demolition of Edwards Dam.

Back then, the Kennebec River was considered pretty much dead. But, now, this place has become very much alive. In fact, it offers numerous white water rafting adventures. You can also enjoy hiking and take in some of the scenic views that Main has to offer.

Without the demolition of Edwards Dam, this place won’t probably exist. So, be sure to see it with your own eyes and cease the white water rafting adventure opportunities that it has.

For as low as about $80, you can already enjoy a good day of white water rafting. But, the prices may vary depending on the season. Typically, trips cost less during the month of June. 

In between the months of July and August, however, the trips usually become costlier. So, if you’re traveling on a budget, you might want to factor in the season too.

In spite of the prices, this river will guarantee you that every penny you spent is worth it.

Salmon River

If you go to the western part of the United States, you will find countless whitewater rafting destinations. You’ll pretty much have a hard time picking a place. In case you haven’t picked a site yet, you might want to consider the Salmon River too.

This place has plenty of spots for people of all ages. If you’re visiting with your family, you don’t need to worry much as the Salmon River has a perfect mix of rapids that can accommodate newbies and pros alike.

The best part of it is that this palace also offers opportunities for some great swimming and camp floats. If you want to stay for a little longer, you’re also welcome to enjoy a peaceful camping experience.

Whether you’re up for some heart-racing adventure or just a simple way to reconnect with nature, you should consider adding this to your list as soon as possible.

If you want the most thrilling rapid, make sure to book a trip in early June. But, for those who prefer a calmer white water rafting experience, visit during mid or late summer.

Gauley River

Gauley River

Gauley River is yet another great place to be for some adventure. Here, you’ll surely experience the kind of thrill that most of the rivers on this list could give you as its rapids can get as challenging as Class V+.

That said, if you’re an experienced white water rafter, you should definitely consider this place.

Furthermore, this river is also considered the heart of the rafting culture on the East Coast. Hence, you will find countless rafters from around the world flocking to this place.

And because of how challenging its rapids can get, make sure to take extra care when you’re rafting at the Gauley River. Despite the amount of your experience, take into consideration that it could potentially make you lose your life.

Additionally, don’t forget to book a trip in advance. Since it’s one of the well-known rivers around the world that’s great for white water rafting, expect crowds coming to this site. So, if you want to make sure you can make the most out of your visit, advanced reservations are the key.

Colorado River

The Colorado River is famous for its rapids that could stretch up to Class X. So, to fully enjoy this place, it’s highly suggested that you come in prepared and armed with your advanced rafting skills.

Apart from its rapids, the Colorado River is also lauded for its dramatic canyons. Thus, don’t forget to take a look around you or maybe immortalize the fantastic views through pictures as much as you can.

The place has several spots suitable for beginners too. If you want to have the best time at the Colorado River, make sure to visit between the months of May and September.

Snake River

Snake River is considered the Pacific Northwest’s biggest whitewater rafting rapid. This is all thanks to the boulders and rock slides that rolled into the river. And this, of course, makes it one of the best places to be if you’re looking for a great white water rafting experience.

However, unlike other rivers on this list, many rafters, locals, and tourists alike suggest that you stay longer. A multi-day rafting trip will help you make the most out of your visit.

So, if you’re planning to visit the Snake River, make sure to plot enough days to enjoy your trip.

These 10 best white water rafting trips in the USA are actually just the tip of the iceberg. There are still plenty of rivers to choose from that will give you the most memorable experience. So, always keep an eye out for them.

About Carla

I'm a journalist passionate about extreme sports. I love writing and reading stories about those brave people that are going beyond the limit of their physical capabilities.

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