The Ottawa River is the most popular whitewater rafting destination in all of Canada.

Since pioneering whitewater tourism on the river 35 years ago, Wilderness Tours (888-RAFT-NOW) has taken over a million people for a trip down the last wild stretch of the river, said owner Joe Kowalski.

“It’s a very neat part of the world. A lot of people don’t even know that it’s here, they think you have to go hundreds of miles to have this kind of experience, but it’s surprisingly close to downtown Ottawa,” said Kowalski.

That section of the river is also spotted with over 175 islands, which mean trips down the river can range from mild, family rafting rides to wild, high-adventure advanced, kayak expeditions through challenging rapids. They also have mountain biking courses, rock climbing and bungee jumping.

The resort, located an hour’s drive west of the city on the Ottawa River between Pembroke and Renfrew, has been compared to a Club Med for adventure sports, said Kowalski.

The Wilderness Tours season runs from May until Thanksgiving weekend.

There are lots of choices when it comes to choosing a host for your rafting adventure.

OWL Rafting (1-800-461-7238), which operates out of Foresters Falls, features trips down the 12-kilometre Rocher Fendu stretch of the Ottawa River. The company offers trips on a 12-person raft, a six-person (plus guide) sport raft and a two-person sportyak for the seasoned rafter.

Also operating out of the Rocher Fendu, RiverRun Rafting and Wilderness Resort (1-800-267-8504) also offers rafting trips on the 12-person traditional boat and six-person sport raft, but also features an eight-line zip-line series at Fort-Coulonge park. RiverRun is also right next to River Provincial Park, which is known for its hiking.