When it comes to white water rafting trips, it is truly about the journey rather than the destination. Whether it is a tame, family-oriented voyage where the scenery can be enjoyed at leisure, or a wild, white-knuckle adventure, white water rafting has something to offer everyone. Besides just pure fun, white water rafting is an incredible way to add variety to your workout routine and stay in shape!
As great as white water rafting can be, it is important to know how it works first before embarking on your first adventure! First and foremost, safety is the top priority. Any outfit worth its salt will provide safety instructions. And, it is crucial that rafters pay close attention to and heed these guidelines. The rivers are graded on a scale of I-VI, with IV through VI being the most challenging and difficult courses, often requiring previous rafting experience. However, even with calmer river courses, it is imperative to adhere to safety measures. Though typically the trip organizer provides equipment and cold weather gear, it is strongly suggested to dress appropriately or, in other words, prepare to get wet. Finally, do not bring along anything you cannot afford to lose when the ride gets a little bumpy.
The Tuolumne River
Located in California, the Tuolumne River runs through the cool mountains of Yosemite National Park. Rafting trips here run the gamut of the relaxing, floating kind to thrilling rapids. Since this river is situated in a remote part of the state, it is especially crucial to make sure that any necessary provisions that are not already provided for be acquired before arrival.
The Deschutes River
The Deschutes River in Oregon runs approximately 100 miles from the town of the same name down to the Pelton Dam. A very pristine and isolated area, it is not unusual to see an abundance of wildlife along its banks, to include: bighorn sheep, ospreys and deer. Running through a deep gorge, this course offers some of the finest rapids to be experienced anywhere.
The Salmon River
Traversing one of the largest wilderness areas in the contiguous United States, a Salmon River rafting trip boasts a diverse abundance of scenery and wildlife. The course begins at an alpine river and ends in a desert canyon. This destination also offers the most options with trips ranging from a half day up to six full days of fun.
The Gauley River
Touted as the best single-day white water rafting trip in America, Gauley River in West Virginia can only be accessed for a few weekends a year. In September and October, the Army Corps of Engineers draws down Summersville Lake, allowing the riverbed to flood. Here the towering canyon walls are lined with hardwood trees sporting the vibrant colors of fall. It is a wild adventure rife with the natural beauty of the mountain state.
The Arkansas River
The Arkansas River runs through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Although one can opt for tamer courses, this expedition offers some of the most challenging and exciting rapids to be found. Beginning in a glacial valley, the course eventually winds down in the scenic canyon of Royal Gorge.
The Youghiogheny River
White water rafting on the Youghiogheny River in Maryland and Pennsylvania is considered to be some of the best rafting available on the east coast. Since there are intermittent dam releases during the summer, conditions are almost always favorable. In addition, nearby towns in Maryland and Pennsylvania offer fine dining and other tourist attractions.
Rio Santa Maria
Not only can you enjoy an exciting whitewater adventure on the Rio Santa Maria in Mexico, you can partake in the exotic wildlife and scenery of this lush wilderness area. Known for its abundance of waterfalls and natural springs, this river’s warm, turquoise-colored water is inviting to floaters and rapid lovers alike. The green iguanas and vibrantly-colored parrots that line the route guarantee a memorable experience.
Whether you are interested in thrills and chills or just mellowing out, whitewater rafting has something for everybody. There are so many possibilities to consider, it is important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all. It is worth looking into all the possible options to find the right fit for you.