Everyone remembers their first time floating down whitewater rapids – the force of the river, the sound of rushing water, the way the raft bounces in between holes. For as long as rivers have raged, thrill seekers have sought to float down them in flimsy watercraft.
But what do you do when guided rafting tours just arent cutting it anymore? If you find yourself bit by the rafting bug, youre in luck! The U.S. is covered in raging rivers from the wilds of Alaska, down to the swamps of Florida which means theres a cornucopia of places where rafters can get their fill. Check out these five cities where the whitewater obsessed can catch some big water.
With hundreds of rainy days each year, Portlanders definitely dont mind getting wet. So when it comes to river rafting, Portlands outdoorsy population takes advantage of the abundant whitewater surrounding the city. As the biggest nearby metro area in Oregon, Portland is considered the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge and its multiple tributaries.
Portlands varying rainfall throughout the year makes for constantly changing rapids that always deliver a surprise. Nearby White Salmon River and the Clackamas River offer great whitewater, while Deschutes River has a little something for everyone. And if youre into a more relaxing ride, The Big Float down the Willamette River is probably right up your alley.
Few towns in America not only allow, but encourage people to float down a river through the middle of town, but Boise is one that does. Starting in Boises Barber Park, locals can rent a raft (or a kayak, or a tube,) and float right through town – hopping out at designated points for a break or a snack. You can even hitch a ride back to the top on an hourly shuttle.
Outside of town, Boise residents enjoy access to Idahos 3,000+ miles of famous whitewater, including nearby Salmon, Payette, and Snake Rivers. Idahoans love their rivers and the state is a well-known destination for all sorts of river sports including river surfing.
Salt Lake City, Utah
With its desert climate, few people would expect Salt Lake City to be a hotspot for river rafting. However, SLC offers not just access to nearby mountain streams, but its also central to the states varied and extensive whitewater options. To the north and south are the Weber and Provo Rivers, which provide scenic views as they wind through mountain valleys. Kayakers, rafters, and floaters alike frequent both rivers, which grant a sweet reprieve on scorching summer days.
Salt Lake is only a few hours south of Idahos rivers, and the Green River to the east winds through Wyoming and Colorado before bringing some of its best rapids to eastern Utah. Just a few hours south, locals can enjoy an abundance of rafting in Moab, which features everything from relaxing floats to intense whitewater rapids through sandy red canyons.
via National Park Service
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