33 Best Places to White Water Raft in the US

If you are wondering where are the best places to whitewater in the US. In my humble opinion they are:

Colorado River

Take a white water rafting trip in order to make a unique visit to breathtaking Grand Canyon in Arizona. Even though rapids are most commonly pretty calm (grade II to III), so this may be a bit slow for true adrenalin seekers, rafting through this canyon should be planned and scheduled several years in advance because of its popularity and genuine overview of the breathtaking scenery.

Tuolumne River

Tuolumne River is a Californian white water rafting spot, located outside Yosemite National Park. People say that the experience of rafting in Californian rivers is one of a kind, so this should be one of the best places to whitewater in the US. This river has some of the top adrenalin-rising, class IV and V rapids. Even though it is frequently severely affected by drought that happens regularly in California, snowpack and high level of precipitation can make Tuolumne one of the most exciting whitewater rafting venues.


Whitewater rafting on the Yellowstone River can be a win-win situation for those who seek for adventure on the water but also expect to enjoy Montana’s beautiful nature and wildlife. Yellowstone River winds for about 700 miles through the National Park where you can be challenged with all grade rapids, choosing whether to float on calm water or seek for the thrill and excitement on fastest rapids.

Salmon River

Rivers in Idaho receive a lot of rainfalls each year in addition to abundant snowpack coming down from surrounding mountains in spring, so it qualifies to be among best places to whitewater in the US. In the search for fast rapids one should visit Salmon River in June or early July, while later trips might bring slower, but also warmer clear and pristine water.

Nenana River

Nenana River in Alaska is considered to be one of the most recognized places for whitewater rafting in the US most probably because it offers beautiful scenery and wildlife combined with severely demanding and extreme rapids up to grade VI. Slower and easier rapids (grade I) are accessible at the beginning of the river so that this Alaskan experience can be for all ages, tastes, and wishes.

Jackson Hole

Whitewater rafting in the Snake River in Wyoming offers a combination of river floating trip and exciting rapids, both with an exceptional view of Grand Teton Mountains. In combination with fly fishing, this spot can be a perfect match for someone who chooses to indulge this challenge.

Kennebec River and Dead River

Place where these two rivers come together may offer a great whitewater rafting experience. They are proclaimed spot for an unforgettable river adventure in which visitors of every skill level can enjoy. Kennebec River can swirl the water to grade IV rapids due to dam releases and, therefore, toss this adventure up to the unforgettable episode. While rafting is possible to organize on the Kennebec River throughout the whole year, the Dead River is open only on certain dates.


One of the hot spots at the East Coast is a river that goes through Maryland and Pennsylvania with its seven and a half miles. Lower parts of the Yough River are recommended for the first time rafters who are unsure of the level of the adrenalin they want to experience. On the other hand, damn releases ensure rapids grade V throughout the whole year on the upper part of the river.

Deerfield River

This 76-mile river offers a unique experience which, depending on expectations, may vary from slow parts for fishing, swimming and family boating, but also additional excitement on up to grade IV rapids which are ensured by damn releases from April to October.

Chattooga River

This river floats from South Carolina to Georgia’s Lake Tugalo offering one of the most exciting and beautiful free-fall streams where clear blue water creates a number of rapids graded III to V, but also calm pools for relaxation. Nearby there are a number of hiking and bike trails for a full experience of making a contact with nature.

Green River in Wyoming and Utah

American River in California

Lochsa River in Idaho

New River in West Virginia

Gauley River in West Virginia

Klamath River in Oregon

Flathead River in Montana

Rogue River in Oregon

Nantahala River in North Carolina

Rio Grande on South US border

Deschutes River in Oregon

Yellowstone River in Montana

Pidgeon River in Tennessee

Toccoa River

Ocoee River in Tennesse

Menominee River in Wisconsin

Salmon River in Idaho

Cumberland River in Kentucky

Youghiogheny in Pennslvania

Tuolumne River in California

Royal Gorge segment of Colorado

Arkansas River

Jackson Hole in Wyoming

Tatshenshini River in Alaska

Alsek River in Alaska

Kennebec River in Maine

Rafting boomed in popularity started after Second World War. During the sixties it was officially accepted and recognized. During seventies kayak rafting became an Olympic sport. Today, white water rafting has even become generally accepted as regular team building activity with which IT but also companies from other industries try to achieve a higher level of productivity by increasing sense of team member communion. With the achieved level of popularity and plenty of fantastic terrain across the whole country, it is not an easy task to pick up the place to start your adventure, but we tried to find the best of the best. If you are beginner led by the desire for additional adrenaline and adventure and live in the US, And of course there is always a question of adrenaline you are looking for as according to the level of danger there are six grades of white water rafting from the most harmless to the most dangerous, so choose wisely.

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