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The Best USA White Water Rafting Trips

Discover the best USA White water Rafting Trips. Many of these trips, especially in the west, are typically overnight camping trips where you can immerse yourself in the wilderness and in view of awesome scenery.

As with most wilderness activities, USA white water rafting has to concern itself with the conflicting issues between nature use and nature conservation. With this in mind, many rivers have regulations governing the use and operating times of rafting.

Colorado Rafting

I have identified the best USA white water rafting rivers that fall into the Classes III - V having long periods of rapids, and great scenery.

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The Best USA White Water Rafting River Trips

lsek -Tatshenshini, Alaska
Class III to IV
, June through September
Not the most difficult rafting trip in Alaska, (Six mile Creek is the most difficult) but for all round white water excitement and enjoyment of scenery and adventure it's the best. This is an out of the ordinary white water rafting trip on one of the most remote rivers in the world with very few sightings of other rafters and humans. This is more than you can expect from a white water rafting trip, it's adventure where you will experience glaciers, icebergs, Yukon moose, and grizzlies. One of many highlights on this adventure with fantastic scenery, wildlife, and rapids is the helicopter portage across the deadly Class VI Turnback Canyon. You will also do some hiking and exploring and camp below the ice capped 15,000 foot peak of Mt. Fairweather. For expert guided tours, check out Chilkat Guides at (888) 292-7789

Cherry Creek-Upper Tuolumne, California
Class IV-V Mid May - June (season runs to August)
This is a National Wild and Scenic River near the Yosemite border in Stanislaus National Forest and is one of the most difficult rafting trips in the United States. You will raft through a canyon and over rapids where the river drops more than 100 vertical feet per mile, down to the bottom at Cherry Creek. The 18-mile run between Meral's Pool to Ward's Ferry is a fascinating over night camping spot in isolation with a backdrop of wilderness and the rumbling Class IV white water. Check out All Outlaws California White Water Rafting at 1-800-247-2387.

Gauley River, West Virginia
Class III - V
It's a world class river with 26 miles, more than 100 rapids, and a vertical drop of 668 feet. The river is also noted for it's undercut ledges created by the swift movement of the river. For the best experience, get there in the fall Labor Day to Columbus day weekend when the Gauley dam releases the water at Summersville Lake during weekend intervals providing the most exciting and challenging white water rafting east of the Mississippi. During this period the river flows up to 2800 c.f.s. Check out Songer White water Rafting, 1-800-356-7238

Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho
Class III-IV May - September

Here you can experience the most remote white water rafting in the United States outside of Alaska. The river meanders through 100 miles of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the largest road less tract of land in the continental United States, with a river drop of 3000 feet, through dense forests of spruce, ponderosa pine, and fir highlighted by the rugged granite gorge of Impassable Canyon made infamous and named by Lewis and Clark when they passed through the area in the early 1800s. This trip is noted for It's crystal clear water and 9 riverside hot springs along the river and is especially appealing after a full day of rafting. Check out Idaho White water Rafting 1-800-252-6581

California Salmon, California
Class IV- V - April-June.
This relatively unknown rafting trip takes you though 19 miles of beautiful scenic steep granite walls, and crystal clear green waters with big drops, cascading waterfalls, violent currents, and big waves. There is an abundance of wildlife where you can expect to see black bear, deer, and possible a mountain lion. The average rainfall of 80 inches a year produces lush forests and heightens the side creeks that create awesome cascades of water into the main river. Check out Noah's River Adventures - 1-800-858-2811

Cataract Canyon, Utah
Class IV-V April - October (April - June peak season)
Rafting trips often start at Moab, Utah and run a 100-miles down the Colorado River to Lake Powell. Spectacular white water rafting can be experienced were the Colorado River and Green River come together to double the force of the Colorado River and the eroding of a huge 100-mile-long chasm through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. You will experience Native American ruins, and awesome waterfalls as you run through 28 rapids downward in one of the river’s steepest stretches. It's most adventurous in late spring when the run off from the melting snows creates exciting Class IV-V rapids. Check out Adrift Adventures 1- 800-874-4483

The Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona
The rapids in the Grand Canyon are rated on a 1-10 scale.  A 1 is roughly equivalent to a Class I rating while a 10 is roughly equivalent a Class V. Lava Falls or Crystal can be rated 10 at certain water levels or a Class V. There are 47 other rapids on the Colorado River rated 5 or higher. April - October (Best time to go is April, September & October)
A white water rafting trip in the Grand Canyon is a lifetime experience, not only because of the exciting white water rapids, but because of the awesome scenery accessible only by river. Check out Western River Expeditions 1- 866-904-1160. 

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