Every country will tell you that their whitewater is the biggest and baddest in the world. But for sheer scale, variety and jaw-dropping gorgeousness the U.S.A. probably takes the top honours.
Paddling, or more often, being sucked along the potentially deadly waters of a desolate river gorge may not be every one’s idea of fun. But try it once and you’ll find whitewater rafting is more addictive than cocaine. Luckily, it’s also more fun.
Every country claims its whitewater is bigger, faster, scarier than the next, but the U.S.A. can fairly lay claim to having the largest number of top quality sites and tour organizers.
Here’s our top four:
1. The Chattooga River
It starts at Whitesides Mountain in North Carolina — deep in Deliverance country — and if it wasn’t for the noise of the rapids you could almost hear the duelling banjos. In summer the waters are slower giving you more time to soak up some of the U.S.’s most evocative scenery.
2. The Taos Box
This trip down the spectacular Rio Grande is not for passengers — it’s a tough gig.
The claim to be the premier whitewater one-day wilderness trip is a fair one — the scenery and wildlife are amazing. But it’s the build-up through the day — from a relatively calm class III rapid through class IV’s to a huge class V —?that 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 weird feeling of becoming attuned to the river.
4. The American River
Located outside Sacramento, the South Fork of 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.