1. The Chattooga River
This starts at Whitesides Mountain in North Carolina, deep in “Deliverance” country. If it wasn’t for the noise of the rapids, you’d almost hear the duelling banjos. In summer, the waters are slower, giving you more time to soak up some of our country’s most evocative scenery.
2. Taos, N.M.
This trip down the spectacular Rio Grande is not for passengers — it’s a tough gig. The claim to be the premiere whitewater one-day wilderness trip is a fair one — the scenery and wildlife are amazing. But it’s the build-up through from a relatively calm Class III rapid through Class IV’s to a huge Class V which will leave you gasping.
3. Grand Canyon
This being the Grand Canyon, you’ll already be overwhelmed by the sheer scale — so it will come as no surprise that this is a minimum three-day trip. The powerful waters of the Colorado River take you to parts of the Canyon which few tourists get to see. Sleep under the stars and get the feeling of becoming attuned to the river.
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4. The American River, California
Outside Sacramento the South Fork, the American River flows down the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and offers a blend of relaxing calms and thrilling Class III rapids. It’s a brilliant introduction to the sport.