Some countries feature such geographical diversity that they can rightly be called worlds-within-the-world. The United States is one such country. White-water rafting in the US is some of the world’s best, thanks to the numerous canyons and converging waterways.
But while climates and landscapes differ depending on where you go, there is a wealth of whitewater rafting opportunities in almost every state. Let’s take a tour to all compass points to find out more:
Texas’ year-round fine weather makes whitewater rafting a must. The Rio Grande, a deep water canyon in the midst of the Chihahuan Desert, offers a medley of Class I-III rapids.
Certain banks of the canyon are covered with multicoloured wildflowers, making this a scenic trip to remember.
Georgia’s Chattooga River is famed for its 75 foot drop through 5 exhilarating falls. By the time you take-out after Sock ‘Em Dog, the last of the falls, your heart will be in your mouth.
Earlier in the run, you’ll pass gently through tranquil wilderness that has remained unchanged since the earliest Native Americans settled this region.
Gatlinburg provide ideal jumping-off points for Pigeon River, one of Eastern Tennessee’s aquatic assets. The Lower Pigeon Run is one for the whole family; just 5 miles in length, it’s a Class I rapid with a little bounce and a nice and mild current.
It’s Fun Up North
The Hudson River was named after one of the first British explorers to sail to North America in 1609. Today its rampart-like granite gorges and snowmelt-influenced high flow offer pleasures for the rookie and veteran rafter alike.
The best rafting is situated in the gorge some 4 hours north of New York City on the RT 28.
Dam controls mean that whitewater rafting is only available on the Hudson River between April and October.
The Grand Canyon comprises 296 miles of varying rapids, multi-million-year-old limestone features and an assortment of breathtaking side-hikes (to Tapeats Creek and Havasu Creek amongst other destinations).
A typical voyage lasts 15-18 days – so this is one for the committed rafter only.
Getting accommodation in Estes Park will help set you up for putting-in at Lee’s Ferry, the spot that divides the upper and lower Colorado river. From here you can take shorter trips or go the whole way to the South Cove take out.
The Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania is as easy to pronounce as its high water, technical rapids are to negotiate. Its upriver Class V+ rapids are fast, furious and not for the newbie paddler.
Middle Youghiogheny is altogether a softer float that children will enjoy, not least because of the chipmunks and elk to be spotted on the shores – providing you go slow enough.