Middle Fork of the American River Rafting Guidebook
Unique in the Western Sierra rivers, the Middle Fork of the American River is the only one where you can check “rafting through a tunnel” off of your bucket list. Also, a wonderful combination of technical whitewater, big whitewater, and beautiful scenery make this stretch of river one of the most exciting you can find. Scattered throughout this section are also artifacts of this river’s mining history, as well as artifacts related to the history with the native population.
Middle Fork of the American River Information
About this guide
This guide outlines the most commonly run section of the Middle Fork of the American River. Keep in mind that many of the rapids have a number of different names. If you feel like we should update or add a name, please let us know.
The Middle Fork of the American has some of the best whitewater of the numerous Forks of the American River. This area is filled with history, with the region sparking the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. In their quest for gold, miners heavily impacted the Middle Fork, most notably with the boring of a tunnel with dynamite to divert the river away from a sand bar. This resulted in the creation of the infamous Tunnel Chute Rapid, which careens through a narrow chute, then through a 90 foot tunnel through the mountainside. Throughout this river, keep your eyes peeled for remnants of this river’s mining past.
This river is typically done as a one day trip, however, overnights are possible.
Camping is permitted as long as you have a Wilderness Permit, are camping within the allowed dates of October 16th to June 31st, and finally, you are camping on public land and not on private property. These permits are available at Auburn SRA Ranger Station, 501 El Dorado Street in Auburn. Information on Wilderness Permits can be found here.
The Middle Fork of the American is an intermediate to advanced river run. The run starts off with a Class III out of the gate, followed quickly by the notorious Class IV+ Tunnel Chute, so you’ll want to be an experienced boater. As always, keep your eyes peeled for tree hazards, such as strainers, as well as sieves and undercut rocks. Like most Sierra rivers, the Middle Fork of the American is rife with boulders. Ruck-a-Chucky Falls is considered a Class VI mandatory portage – be ready to portage this rapid.
Permits are not required for private boaters on the Middle Fork of the American.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any shuttle services for the Middle Fork of the American, so you’ll have to set your own shuttle. However, the roads to the access points are in relatively nice condition (for river standards). It’s about a one hour drive from the Put-In to the Take-Out, and you are able to leave a car at the Ruck-a-Chucky campsite overnight if you’re running a multi-day trip.
Ruck-a-Chucky Falls is a mandatory portage. Some boaters choose to ghost boat their equipment down, but there are obvious consequences to this. Portage/Scout is on river right, and you’ll want to take a look at this ~30 foot drop full of nightmarish sieves.
Middle Fork of the American River Flow
The Middle Fork of the American River is typically run between 800-2500 CFS. Flows outside of this range are considered to be very difficult.
Gauge data provided by Dream Flows
Middle Fork Comprehensive Guide
WARNING: Conditions change frequently and may make this guide useless. This guide is NOT a replacement for sound judgment, experience, or skill level.
Class II Rapid
Class II rapid or river feature.
Class III Rapid
Class III rapid or river feature.
Class IV Rapid
Class IV rapid or river feature.
Class VI Rapid
Class VI Rapid. Used only at Ruck-a-Chucky Falls.
Put-In / Take-Out
Used at the various Put-Ins & Take-Outs
throughout this stretch
Point of Interest
These include creeks, side hikes and historical markers.
Well known surf waves, jump rock locations, and safe swim areas
Riverside camping locations.
Indian Bar Rafting Access to Greenwood Bridge Take-Out
The Middle Fork of the American River has one main Put-In at Indian Bar, and several take-outs downstream, however the most common is from Indian Bar to Greenwood Bridge.
Indian Bar Rafting Access to Greenwood Bridge Rafting Access is 15.16 miles.
Moderate to Advanced.
Feet per Mile
Indian Bar Rafting Access to Greenwood Bridge Rafting Access is ~27 FPM
Indian Bar Rafting Access to Greenwood Bridge Rafting Access
is 2 hours round trip. Google Map directions.
Mile 0 – Indian Bar Rafting Access: River Right. The Put-In for this section is just below Oxbow Reservoir.
Mile 0.03 – Alarm Clock/Good Morning: Class III. Quickly after the Put-In, Alarm Clock appears, and can give you trouble if you’re not on your toes. The river bends left, so enter left to avoid a bummer start to your day.
Mile 0.2 – North Fork of Middle Fork Confluence: River Right. The North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River tumbles in from river right.
Mile 0.41 – Junkyard: Class II. Read-and-run rapid.
Mile 0.85 – Carl’s Crash/Guide Slammer: Class III. There is a big wave at the top of this rapid, runnable at most flows but hold on. There is a tongue to the left of this wave if you want to stay dry.
Mile 1.04 – Organized Chaos/Santa’s Mustache: Class III. Enter center-right at this rapid.
Mile 1.33 – Last Chance: Class III. Run Last Chance down the middle, watch out for holes on the left side. Be ready to eddy out immediately on river right to scout Tunnel Chute Rapid.
Mile 1.39 – Tunnel Chute: Class IV. The entrance to this narrow rapid is Class II. This chute can be tricky, as the current is swift and pushes you towards the right wall. Work to stay off the wall. Just below the Chute is the tunnel itself. Recommended scout on the right side. Learn more about Tunnel Chute Rapid.
Mile 1.89 – Soul Train/Berry Picker: Class II. Enter far right on this rapid, which will bring you into the branches on the right side. This is better than getting stuck on the rocks on river left, especially at lower water.
Mile 2.17 – Old Gold Tunnel: River Left. Just after Berry Picker rapid, you’ll see an old mining tunnel that was used for mining Gold in the 1800s. This is another reminder of the region’s mining past.
Mile 2.24 – Cathedral: Class III. River splits into multiple channels. Work left here to avoid getting pushed into wall on river right.
Mile 2.84 – Cache Rock Camp: River Left. This is a smaller camp located on river left just above a small rapid.
Mile 3.02 – Bus Crash: Class III. Sharp left bend in the river with all current pushing into a flip wall on river right. Work left to avoid flipping off this rock.
Mile 3.1 – Bus Crash Jump Rock: River Right. This jump rock is located just below Bus Crash rapid on river right.
Mile 3.32 – Three Queens: Class III. Read-and-run rapid, large wave on river left.
Mile 3.96 – Kanaka Falls: Class IV. Enter boulder-ridden Kanaka Falls rapid left of center. Be especially wary of 2 boulders awaiting at the bottom of this rapid on river right. Watch out for a hole in the center of the channel. In general, stay left. Can be scouted on river left.
Mile 4.11 – Surf Ledge Hole: River Left. Just below Kanaka Falls on River left is a fun Surf Ledge. Below this point is mostly Class II-III whitewater until arriving to Chunder Rapid, which is a Class IV just about Ruck-a-Chucky Falls.
Mile 5.8 – Dardanelles Creek: River Right. Dardanelles Creek enters the Middle Fork of the American River from river right.
Mile 7.6 – Camp 1: River Right. This camp is located on river right. It’s also a popular stop as there is a composting toilet located here.
Mile 9.95 – Upper Ford’s Bar: River Right. Similar to the last camp, Upper Ford’s Bar also has a composting toilet.
Mile 10.16 – Otter Creek: River Left. Otter Creek enters the Middle Fork of the American River from river left.
Mile 10.34 – Lower Ford’s Bar: River Left. Lower Ford’s Bar is located on river left just downstream of Otter Creek. Look for the long cobble bar.
Mile 10.73 – Camp 3: River Right. This is the final camp on the river that includes a composting toilet.
Mile 13.32 – Canyon Creek: River Left. Canyon Creek enters the Middle Fork of the American River from river left.
Mile 13.47 – Chunder: Class IV. This rapid is all about the entrance. There are numerous boulders just above water level, as you come to the crux of this rapid, thread the needle through two large boulders center right, then work left to stay away from large boulder on river right. Below this rapid is another sleeper rock to be avoided in the center channel.
Mile 13.55 – Ruck-A-Chucky Falls: Class VI. Portage Ruck-A-Chucky Falls on River right. Some people will ghost boat down this rapid, but there are obvious consequences to this. Learn more about Ruck-A-Chucky Falls.
Mile 13.62 – Cleavage: Class IV. There is a large hole on river right, and a pour over on river left form this quick Class IV rapid. The stronger hole is on the right side. Find the line in between these features (left of center). Fun surf wave at lower flows. Becomes river-wide hole at higher flows.
Mile 13.69 – Parallel Parking: Class IV. Parallel Parking is a technical rapid. There is a narrow chute just to the left of a large boulder in the center of the current. Work hard left to avoid flipping off this rock. After passing this rock, there is another wave just downstream.
Mile 13.85 – Tequila Slammer: Class III. Avoid the fin rock that’s just right of center.
Mile 14.15 – Texas Chainsaw Mama: Class IV. Texas Chainsaw Mama is another technical rapid, with the main focus being to avoid the house-sized boulders in the center of the channel. After passing the first of these boulders, work hard left to avoid the second boulder, and enter the left channel. This rapid gets its name after the undercut rock on river left.
Mile 14.48 – Pop Quiz: Class III. Somewhat similar to Texas Chainsaw Mama, large boulders in the center of the channel force you left, but there’s a lot room. This is the last rapid in this section.
Mile 15.16 – Greenwood Bridge / Drivers Flat Take-Out: River Right. This is the most commonly used take-out for this section. Downstream are a few scattered Class IIs & IIIs if you want some cool-down rapids.
Mile 21.97 – Mammoth Bar Take Out: River Right. Very important to take out here to avoid Murderer’s Bar Rapid (Class V+) downstream. This is a mandatory portage rapid, so it’s easiest just to take out at Mammoth Bar. Take-out is on river right
How to Lazy Float the American River (American River Tubing Guide)
A full guide to floating the American River, including everything you should know, what to expect, and how to have the best day out on the water.
There are a lot of great places to go tubing (aka lazy floating) in California, but one of the most popular spots is on the American River
With a starting point that’s just outside of Sacramento, it’s one of the most convenient places to float near a major city.
It’s no surprise then that it’s such a popular place to find Sacramentans, tourists, and Bay Area residents floating on hot days in the summer.
My East Bay friend group usually does a summer float on the American River each year and this year was my first time experiencing it with them.
Quite a few of our friends have moved up to the Sacramento area in the past couple of years so it has become a good excuse to get everyone together again.
And since I’m not always the best with water-based activities, it was also nice to go with a large group who was already very familiar with the route.
After experiencing the river myself and enjoying it with a bunch of people who have been doing it for years, I took away a lot of information on how best to lazy float the American River.
This post gives you the full rundown of what to expect and how to make the most of your day on the American River.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Table of Contents
Overview: Lazy Tubing Down the American River
What to Expect & the Route
Our group met at Sacramento Bar Park, across from Sunrise Boulevard Recreation Area, to slather on the sunscreen, catch up, use the bathroom, and blow up our inner tubes with an electric pump.
While we were getting ready, we had two people head over to William B. Pond Park (where we’d be ending the float). They dropped off one car and came back in another.
That one car would take all of the drivers back to Sacramento Bar Park at the end of the float, so the drivers could come back to pick up everyone else in their respective cars at William B. Pond Park.
Once we had everyone together at Sacramento Bar Park again, we opened some Trullys and set off on the river.
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On the River
In general, you can expect a leisurely float down the American River without too many rapids or fast-moving water.
Compared to other places I’ve done river floats, this section that you float on the American River isn’t usually very fast-moving.
Of course, that’s also dependent on water levels but, in general, from talking to people who have done the float every year, it’s usually a pretty slow-moving river.
There are two class I or class II rapids (depending on water levels) in the first half of the float.
The first one was a piece of cake but the second one was slightly scarier with a decent drop over a group of rocks.
Our group had a handful of floats that popped on both rapids, especially on the second one, which is why it’s always good to have an extra float or two or to bring a heavier duty inner tube.
Besides the two rapids, we’d sometimes come across small bumpy rapids where the water sped up and it got more shallow.
Someone in the group would yell “butts up!” and we passed over these spots within a few seconds.
There were a couple of sections where we got off the main current of the river and found ourselves going around in circles in the same spot.
This was probably due to us being such a large group (we had around a dozen or so inner tubes connected to one another).
It made me realize that having a paddle or two might be nice for future floats.
We mostly just got stuck after the second rapid when we were pushed to the far side of the river, but a paddle would also be nice to push off of rocks or avoid tree branches.
After the second rapid, it was a smooth ride the rest of the way.
We passed by some beaches and popular swimming spots. The river was crowded with a lot of floats but it never felt too packed and we only bumped into other floats a couple of times.
Along the way, there were also plenty of groups with water guns and water cannons to spray us with cold water, both from the beaches and from the water.
We passed by Mud Island, a fork in the river (you can take either path since both end in the same place), and eventually got out at William B. Pond Park right before we went under the bridge.
The full float took us around four hours to complete. I’ve heard it’s usually closer to three hours, but the river was a bit lower during our trip.
Even though it was in the high 90s F, it never felt too hot during the float since we were soaking in water in our tubes the whole day.
Honestly, by the time we got out at the bridge, it felt like I had just left a spa day, I was that relaxed after the float.
Section of the River: Lower American River
Where to Start: Sacramento Bar Park or Sunrise Boulevard river access point, just below Sunrise Boulevard Bridge. There are various parks along the route that you can start from but this is the most popular starting point and where we started our trip from.
Where to End: River Bend Park (aka Goethe Park) or William B. Pond Park, which is easy to spot since it’s underneath a bike path bridge that goes over the water (just get out before the bridge). If you rented tubes instead of bringing your own, you’ll probably be picked up from River Bend Park or Ancil Hoffman Park. You can expect the rental place to give you exact instructions though.
Note: If you’re looking for a slightly longer float, another popular route is starting at Hazel Avenue and ending at Gristmill Recreation Area. This adds another few miles to your trip.
Cost: $5 for parking
Miles: 6 miles
Duration: 3-4 hours (depending on water levels)
Rapids: San Juan Rapids and Arden Bar Rapids. These are class I & II rapids (depending on water levels).
American River Floating Map
Best Time to do an American River Float
The best time to go floating on the American River is in the summer when the weather is hot and water levels are at their best for lazy tubing.
Basically anytime between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend is a good bet.
We went tubing at the end of June but July and August are also popular times to float down the American River.
Just note that alcohol is prohibited on the river and the shoreline during Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July, and Labor Day Weekend.
Renting vs Bringing Your Own Tube
For tubing down the American River, you can either BYOT (bring your own tube) or book a raft rental from one of the local river rafting companies.
Two of the most popular rental spots for this section of the American River are River Rat Rentals and American River Raft Rentals
There are a few pros and cons to both options.
Renting a Raft
Renting a raft can be nice for a lot of reasons.
You don’t have to worry about purchasing an expensive inner tube that you might only use once.
You can also pay a small fee to use their shuttle system ($8-$10) so you don’t have to worry about parking at both the start and end and you have access to free parking.
They also give you life jackets and paddles, which can be nice for people who aren’t strong swimmers or if you simply want more control over the direction you float.
You can also book rafts for up to 4-12 people, which can be a fun and cheaper way to float down the river as a group as opposed to all having your own inner tubes. You also don’t have to blow up the rafts yourself.
There are some downsides to renting though. The raft rentals are a bit overkill for this section of the river since they only rent you heavy-duty whitewater rafting-esque rafts.
This also means that you don’t get to soak in the water as you float like you would a traditional inner tube since the rafts are above the water.
Depending on the weather when you go, it can get hot fast if you’re not actually in the water for most of the float.
Raft rentals range from $65-$195 depending on the capacity of the raft you rent.
BYOT (Bring Your Own Tube)
This is the option we did and it was nice to have a little more freedom for the location we wanted to start and end at and what time we wanted to start our float.
Our group mostly bought inner tubes from Amazon for the trip.
Suneel and I got the Double River Run inner tube which was pretty affordable for the two of us and it included a cooler.
Since our group’s tubes weren’t as durable as the raft rentals, we had a few that popped when going over the rapids.
Luckily, we had plenty of extra space in some of our larger tubes so no one was left without a tube to hang out in.
However, durability is still something to keep in mind if you want to bring your own tube.
It was also ideal to soak in the water throughout the trip since we were all in our individual inner tubes with our butts in the water.
This wasn’t so great when we were going over shallow parts of the river, but as long as we put our butts up we were fine.
And finally, it just has a different feel to have your own space but to still all be connected in a big circle while floating down the river.
So, I’d say it really depends on what type of experience you’re looking for when it comes to rentals vs BYOT, but either option works well for a float down the American River.
What to Pack for a Float Down the American River
Tips for American River Tubing
- Check water levels ahead of time – It’s important to check water levels ahead of time to make sure the river isn’t too low or high when you float. This usually isn’t an issue in the summer, but it’s good to make sure water levels are 5,000 cfs or below if you want a leisurely float. And unless you want your float to take over 5 hours, I’d recommend going on a day when water levels are at least 1,800 cfs if not higher. The river was around 2,000 cfs the day we went and it took us 4 hours to do the full float, which was about an hour slower than usual. You can check current water levels for the Lower American River here.
- Plan where to park your cars – Unless you’re renting rafts and paying for a shuttle service, you should plan to have at least one car at the starting point and one car at the ending point of your route to make transportation a breeze.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car – There are known to be car break-ins sometimes at the parking areas along the river. Don’t leave valuables in your car or a bunch of stuff that someone might be tempted to go through. It’s also a good idea to leave any priceless valuables at home. We had two wedding rings that fell off in the river just in our group. It’s best not to take that chance and just leave those super valuable items at home.
- Make sure you have a sturdy enough tube for the small rapids – As I mentioned above, we had a few popped inner tubes on our trip. Make sure you bring a sturdy inner tube and maybe plan to disconnect before going over rapids if you’re connected to a large group. It’s also good to make sure your group has a couple of extra inner tubes or larger ones that can hold more people in case there are some pops on your trip.
- Go with a big group – Although I’m sure this trip would’ve been fun with a smaller group too, there’s nothing like enjoying a summer river float with a large group. It depends on what experience you’re after, but I enjoyed the fun party atmosphere of a large group while floating down the river. Even better if you bring water cannons so you can have a water fight with other groups.
- Don’t get too intoxicated – Speaking of party atmospheres, it’s fun to drink on the river but it’s still a good idea to not go too overboard. Water activities and drinking don’t always mix well and you’ll want to have your wits about you in case you flip or get separated from the group.
- Bring a dry bag that can hold everything you need – Everything gets wet when you’re on the river all day so it’s important to have a large enough dry bag to fit what you want to keep dry. Items like your car keys, wallet, phone, any snacks, and a sarong or lightweight towel, should all go in your dry bag. It’s not a bad idea to have a waterproof case for your phone as well since you’ll probably take it out periodically during the trip.
- Slather on the sunscreen and bring plenty of water – This goes without saying but Sacramento gets HOT. It was in the high 90s F when we did our trip. I put on a ton of sunscreen before hitting the water and reapplied throughout the float. I also covered up with a sarong halfway through because my skin gets sunburned even with sunscreen on sometimes. In terms of water, Suneel and I brought a half gallon of water each to stay hydrated in between a beer or two.
Where to Go White Water Rafting on the American River
If you’re looking for something more adventurous than lazy tubing, the American River is also one of the best places in California to go whitewater rafting.
There are three forks of the American River that are popular for whitewater rafting – the North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork.
You can expect Class III rapids for the South Fork, Class III-IV rapids for the Middle Fork, and Class IV-V for the North Fork of the American River.
The main American River rafting companies in the area to go with for a whitewater rafting trip are OARS, American Whitewater Expeditions, and Raft Wet.
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Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you’ll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
15 Best White Water Rafting in USA
Whitewater rafting is one of the most adventurous things to experience. If you want your trip to be thrilling, you should try a destination where you can go river rafting. River rafting has become the talk of the town as it is the best way to experience the natural beauty of the planet Earth.
Whitewater rafting has many degrees of rafting and depends on the risk involved in a particular rafting journey. These rivers are divided into various classes. The division is done because of the customer preference as some prefer class I whitewater rafting which is calm and composed.
Some customers prefer the middle category which may be class III or IV. These have fast rapids with comparatively low risk.
The third category is the class V category which is the most challenging and scariest only experienced rafters or guides opt for this type of rapids. Generally, tourists prefer the class III and IV category.
Globally, you will find infinite options for choosing a destination for whitewater rafting. But the US has the maximum number of whitewater rafting destinations in the entire world, especially the North American region.
The sites here are beautiful and exciting, and you can spend your whole trip exploring these beautiful sites.
So, here we are providing you with a list of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the US.
Table of Contents
15 Best Whitewater Rafting in the USA
1. Colorado River, Arizona
Colorado River located in Arizona is the best destination for whitewater rafting. This beautiful river flows in between the Grand Canyon, which is so huge that it makes you go awestruck.
On average the river is calm and composed of class II to III rapids. Sometimes the class category goes up to class VI due to high waves and the water speed. This can be extremely challenging and thrilling as well.
Many whitewater river rafting companies provide full-fledged rafting packages to tourists. These packages range from a half-day to a two-week-long vacation. The rafting here at Colorado River is in high demand, and you have to book two years in advance.
People generally get attracted to this rafting destination due to its unique orange view of the Grand Canyon that they cannot find anywhere else.
The rafting journey generally starts from the Hualapai Reservation then passes through the beautiful Grand Canyon. This experience s the best white water rafting in the US, and once you start visiting you will always come back.
2. Gauley River, West Virginia
Gauley River at West Virginia will provide you with the most challenging experience. The place is quite in demand by people who are generally sporting lovers or who enjoy hardcore whitewater rafting adventures. If you’re ready to face any challenging experience that comes your way, then this is the place to be.
The rapids are categorized as class V or sometimes even above that. of course, it can be scary, but some rafters are used to it.
Gauley River whitewater rafting is rated the most challenging rafting journey, and the number of rapids here is around a hundred. The view of the site is beautiful with a remote kind of a landscape and of course the exclusive variety of wildlife as well.
If you are a beginner in whitewater rafting, then go to the Upper New River where it’s comparatively calm. It is totally up to you whether you want to experience the rapids or not.
But before planning a trip here, make sure you know how to swim. This is because West Virginia’s Gauley river has the most challenging rapids, and you can easily fall into the river.
3. Salmon River, Idaho
Salmon River situated in Idaho is the most beautiful whitewater rafting destination in the US because apart from rafting you get to explore other things out here. This will make your whitewater rafting trip a memorable one for sure. The basic whitewater rafting journey starts from the Middle Fork Salmon River.
There are around 300 challenging rapids on the Salmon River, and almost all fall in class III and IV categories.
The drops here are stunning and will pour your heart into your mouth. Apart from whitewater rafting, you can explore other things like the wildlife which comprises Black Bears, the Bighorn Sheep, and Mountain Lions.
This scenic river offers breathtaking and the perfect backdrop for your pictures which comprises grasslands, Canyons, and the forest area.
You can also camp out here since there are some camping sites around the river. So, all in all, the area is a mixture of adventure and natural beauty. This is why you must explore once for sure.
4. Rogue River, Oregon
Rogue River is also considered one of the most challenging whitewater rafting sites in the US. This is due to the fast-moving raids and of course the waterfalls.
The River flows from the Cascade Mountains and ends up in the Pacific Ocean, and the flow of the river is along the Southwest region of Oregon.
Rogue River is surrounded by beautiful green Canyons that are dense. The rapids here are also thrilling, especially the Raine Falls, which are class V rapids.
Then there are the Upper and Lower Black Bar Falls which are comparatively calmer and fall in the class III category, and of course not to forget the Blossoms Bar which is the scariest rapid of the Class V category.
But if you are a beginner and only come to relax and do relaxed rafting, then plan your whitewater rafting trip at the Hog Creeks.
This is because the Argo rapids are the best suit you. You will also get to see some quite exclusive varieties of birds like the Osprey, Heron, and the Eagle out here.
5. Arkansas River, Arkansas, and Colorado
The Arkansas River runs between Colorado and the Arkansas Rivers and is quite an in-demand destination for whitewater rafting.
Many companies have set up tourist businesses at the location. They will offer you a variety of tourist and rafting packages which range from a half-day package to 15 days long packages.
The river is surrounded by the white mountains of Colorado. This in turn will make your whitewater rafting experience even more thrilling and exciting.
The journey of rafting generally starts from the Buena Vista moving along the Brown Canyons of the Colorado where the rapids are quite high falling in the class III category.
The most famous ones are the Zoom Fume and of course, the Big Drop which can give you a heart attack. So, to experience one of the most thrilling adventures, you must visit the Arkansas River. You can plan out a weeklong trip and opt-in for a camp to make your trip an unforgettable one.
6. Nenana River, Alaska
Situated in Mt. McKinley, which is a huge glacier in the Alaska region of the US, the Nenana River is the most famous whitewater rafting destination. The rapids here are extremely challenging ranging from class V to class VI category and the rafting journey is up to ten miles long.
The river flows from the mainland of the Alaska region and ends up to the famous Denali National Park.
Surrounded by the beautiful white Alaska Mountains, the river will give you an amazing experience for sure. You will explore a wide variety of wildlife here like Eagles, Wild sheep, etc.
You can also book your rafting package at the Denali Outdoor Centre which is the oldest and the most trusted tourist company out there.
The rafting should be planned during the daytime as the rapids are the most thrilling during the day. So, to enjoy a glacial and cold rafting experience, you must visit the Alaska Range and ensure the beauty of the location.
7. Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania
The Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania is among the highest-ranked white water rafting destinations in the US.
The best thing about the site is that is open for tourists for almost the whole year and the best time to visit are between March and October. This river has high-ranked rapids that generally fall between the class of III and IV levels.
Another great point of the location is that it is just a 30-minute drive from Pittsburgh. This makes it quite accessible for tourists.
The river is famously nicknamed the Yough River. It is quite adventurous with a lesser amount of risk and more amount of excitement.
The most famous rapids are the Double Hydraulics and the Railroad these can make you feel dizzy for some moments. So, if you are an adventurous junky and love challenges then this whitewater rafting destination is the best for you.
8. Kennebec River, Maine
This Kennebec River situated in Maine is a must-visit for white water rafting. Your trip will turn out to be the most enduring and exciting for you. The river rafting journey starts from the famous Harris Station Dam and the journey continues with unexpected challenges.
The best time for rafting is during the day when the rapids are at their best falling into the category of class III and IV which can be quite a thrilling experience.
The rafting journey is around 12 miles long, and it includes the famous and scariest rapids of Kennebec River, The Three Sisters, and the most challenging the drop of the Magic Falls that can give you a stroke if you are weak at heart.
The river area has some tourist companies to provide you with great packages for river rafting. This includes equipment, guides, and a proper travel map. So, to experience the most harrowing rapids of the US, you must visit this place once.
9. Deerfield River, Massachusetts
This river is located on the North-Eastern side of America where river rafting is quite rare. Deerfield River in Massachusetts acts like a lifeline for whitewater rafting adventurers. The location is a two-hour drive from the city of Boston, this means it is easily accessible as well.
The best area for white water rafting is the famous Monroe Bridge Dryway where the rapids are at their extreme ranging from class IV to V level which will give you a full-on thrilling experience.
The river flows from Vermont to Massachusetts at the North West. Apart from the rapids, the rafting journey comprises other challenges as well. This includes the huge Rocky Mountains and the deep holes that are scary and risky.
The river is surrounded by a beautiful forests known as the Berkshires Forest, where you can camp out and relax. You can even plan an outdoor barbecue party and cook your favorite fish, crab,, or lobster.
10. Chattooga River, South Carolina
The Chattooga River is located in South Carolina or Georgia. It’s a wild river with extremely thrilling rapids to make your whitewater rafting journey an unforgettable experience. The rapids here are quite a number and range from class III and class V categories.
Chattooga River is quite old, and its clear blue water looks beautiful as it flows. This location is considered the most rugged and wild rafting destination in the Southeast of the US.
Apart from that, you can also explore hiking and mountain biking in Asheville. You will also find delicious food and other entertaining things. So, for a wild experience in rafting, you must visit this place.
11. Snake River, Idaho
“Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, 1898” by trialsanderrors is marked with CC BY 2.0.
The Snake River in Wyoming is one of the most popular and thrilling locations for whitewater rafting in the United States.
The rapids here are extreme and range from class III to V, making it a challenging experience for rafters. The Snake River is also known for its beautiful scenery, with towering mountains and rushing waterfalls.
Different companies offer rafters the opportunity to explore the Snake River, with packages that include equipment, guides, and a travel map. The best time to go rafting on the Snake River is in the summer months when the water is at its highest.
12. Tuolumne River, California
“#mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016: Extreme Public Lands, Tuolumne River” by mypubliclands is marked with CC BY 2.0.
Tuolumne River is a stunning 148-acre river in central California. It is one of the most popular whitewater rafting rivers in the United States.
Tuolumne River has something for everyone, from beginner rafters to those looking for a more challenging experience. The Cherry Creek River area offers commercial excursions with 15 consecutive Class V Rapids.
This is one of the most challenging whitewater rafting experiences in the country! So if you’re looking for an adventure, be sure to check out the Tuolumne River.
13. Rio Grande, New Mexico
“Rio Grande Gorge – Taos, New Mexico” by laszlo-photo is marked with CC BY 2.0.
If you’re looking for a wild white water rafting experience, look no further than the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
The river is known for its Class IV and V rapids, which can provide an adrenaline rush like no other. However, the Rio Grande is also a great place for beginners, thanks to its more mellow sections.ts
The Rio Grande is known for its intense Class IV and V rapids, which can provide an adrenaline rush like no other.
If you’re looking for a wild white water rafting experience, look no further than the Rio Grande. However, the Rio Grande is also a great place for beginners, thanks to its more mellow sections.
14. Cumberland Falls, Kentucky
“Cumberland Falls, Kentucky” by Joe_Dungan is marked with CC BY 2.0.
Rafting at Cumberland Falls is a great way to experience the beauty of Kentucky’s natural landscape.
The river is known for its calm and gentle waters, perfect for those who are new to rafting. However, there are also a few sections that offer a bit more excitement, including some Class III rapids.
If you’re looking for a white water rafting experience that offers something for everyone, then be sure to check out Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. With its calm and gentle waters, the river is perfect for those who are new to rafting.
But don’t worry – there are also a few sections that offer a bit more excitement, including some class III rapids. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter, Cumberland Falls is sure to please.
15. Cossatot River, Arkansas
“cossatot river” by thigpen.robert is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.
The Cossatot River in Arkansas is a popular spot for white water rafting, thanks to its exciting rapids and beautiful scenery. The river is home to dozens of rapids, providing something for everyone. For experienced rafters, the Cossatot Falls Trail offers 11 miles of challenging Class IV+ rapids.
Now that you know the best place to go white water rafting, it’s important to take some safety precautions. Always wear a life jacket and make sure you’re familiar with the river before setting out. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and water, and don’t forget your camera!
The ten destinations listed are only a taste of the best white water rafting in US.
There are countless other great rivers and rapids to explore, so get out there and find your own adventure! These rivers offer a diverse range of experiences for rafters of all levels, so everyone can enjoy this exciting activity.