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Whitewater rafting isn’t for the faint in heart. This adventure-filled sport calls to outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world, and the United States is backyard to many of the world’s best rafting experiences. Melting snow and periodic dam releases naturally fuel the best whitewater rapids, and there are many places where you can get a full experience, including five of America’s most significant locations for whitewater excursion.
1. Colorado’s Wild West
Colorado is a vast state with varying landscapes people from all over enjoy. In fact, choosecolorado.com reports that over ¾ of the state’s population participate in outdoor recreation and that it generates $35 billion in consumer spending every year. Colorado rafting trips span the state and are known worldwide as some of America’s most popular sites. Just outside of Canon City, Colorado, there are more than 100 miles of rapids along the Arkansas River. Royle Gorge is home to many Class V rapids that are sure to raise your hair. Buena Vista is another popular tourist site and includes spectacular views of 14,000-foot peaks. The Numbers is another stretch of the Arkansas River full of steep and powerful whitewater rafting. Idaho Springs, Colorado includes more mild rafting with sections of fun, easy, rolling rapids that are bound to soak right through you.
2. Wide Open Wyoming
The Grand Teton Mountain range is widely known and iconic to many rafters of the Snake River. They can witness some of the state’s most spectacular views with a paddle in hand. Jackson Hole, Wyoming, also offers some of the country’s greatest high-energy rafting trips with a mix of relaxed floating so outdoorsmen can take in wildlife and scenery too. Wind River Canyon is another top tourist attraction that cuts through 12 miles of 2,500 foot-cliffs. Travelwyoming.com recommends rafting the Shoshone River if you’re curious about Yellowstone and its surrounding area.
3. Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania
Some of Pennsylvania’s most famous rapids wind along the Youghiogheny River that spans nearly eight miles long. Rafters can experience rapids ranging from Class II to a Class IV. Locals call the famous river the Yough and the site rates high for firs-timer as well as kayakers looking for surf standing waves and holes.
4. Rafting the Smokey Mountains
Hartford, Tennessee, is home to many whitewater adventures that traverse through the famous Smokey Mountains. The Pigeon River offers slow moving rapids friendly to beginners, as well as Class IV rapids big enough to give even the most experienced rafters a serious thrill. Rafting on the upper stretch includes 12 miles of intermediate rapids, where you’ll likely experience the most thrilling aspects to this site.
5. Yellowstone River, Montana
Stunning mountain views are what attract outdoor enthusiasts to river rafting. The gorgeous Gallatin Range of the Rocky Mountains is one of Montana’s most famous sites. The Yellowstone River spans this landscape, allowing onlookers to see ospreys and other exciting aspects of mother nature. This river offers both whitewater rafting, as well as leisure floating. Some excursions even offer overnight options where tourists can spend the evening by the water’s edge.
Whitewater rafting isn’t for the faint of heart. Although, even along some of the most treacherous rivers, are spans of fun, yet thrilling points, everyone in the family can enjoy. Colorado is home to some of the country’s most popular rafting sites, especially for the thrill-seekers and outdoor adventurers. Montana and Wyoming offer more opportunities for leisure floating, wildlife observation and site seeing. Ospreys and stunning mountain views follow the Yellowstone and Snake rivers. Whatever your experience level, America’s natural outdoor playground has something to fit almost every preference.
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