Adventureseeker: Whitewater Rafting

While most people associate whitewater rafting with the Grand Canyon and other similarly adventurous destinations, few realize that they can find great rafting within a few hours drive of the office. Following are picks for great whitewater action within striking distance of home. Not just for experienced thrill seekers, rafting on these rivers is a safe and fun activity that is ideal for all ages. Perfect for a weekend getaway, these trips are guaranteed to raise your heart rate, get you wet and, best of all, wash away the last of those winter blues.


Oregon: The Rogue River (Approximately 280 miles from Portland; 400 miles from San Francisco) Western Whitewater:

From the Rockies to the Pacific calls the Rogue River one of the Wests most famous and enchanting waterways. Tumbling out of Oregons Cascade Mountains, the Rogue runs approximately 200 miles west to the states rocky coast. Famed for its natural beauty, the Rogue flows through canyons lined by forests of Fir, Spruce and Oak. Wildlife is abundant on the Rogue, and visitors may spot deer, elk, bear, otters and other species. The Rogue is ideal for half and full day rafting trips. Most outfitters put in near the town of Merlin and continue downstream as far as Foster Bar. Depending on the season, rafters can expect to encounter Class II, III and IV rapids, interspersed by deep pools and cascading waterfalls.


Utah: The Green River, Green and Desolation Canyons (Approximately 420 miles from Denver, CO):

Running south out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, the Green River winds through the eastern portion of Utah. Where it collides with the Tavaputs Plateau, the Green has carved out a series of deep canyons that offer a first-class multi-day rafting destination. Known for its wide, sandy beaches, spectacular scenery and plentiful opportunities for side hikes, the Green is a longtime favorite of western rafters. Boaters on the Green will face Class II and III rapids. From the put-in north of Desolation Canyon to the take-out some 80 miles later, rafters will pass through secluded red rock canyons, sandstone gorges and the shadows of rock spires known locally as hoodoos.


Maine: The Kennebec River (Approx. 240 miles from Boston):

Characterized by Jim Tafuto of the Appalachian Mountain Club as one of the best rivers in New England, the Kennebecs dam-controlled waters provide thrilling whitewater all season long. Raft trips are scheduled to coincide with the regular releases from Harris Dam, which quickly whip the river into a series of Class II-V rapids. The Kennebecs biggest thrill is Magic Falls, a good-size drop that can suddenly swallow unprepared boaters. Though spring runoff is quite cold (most outfitters will provide wetsuits), summer water temperatures can reach into the 60s. More accessible than many other New England rivers, the Kennebec makes a great one-day river trip.


Pennsylvania: The Lower Youghiogheny River (Approximately 180 miles from Washington, D.C., 330 miles from New York):

One of the East Coasts most popular rafting rivers, Pennsylvanias Lower Youghiogheny River (pronounced yaw-ki-gay-nee) offers a challenging whitewater day trip within easy reach of the Washington D.C. area. The Lower Youghiogheny runs through the 19,000-acre Ohiopyle State Park, known for its rugged Appalachian beauty and wildflower blooms. A number of local outfitters offer day trips on the class III and IV river. Rapids with names like Railroad and Cucumber will excite novices and experts alike, while a network of hiking trails throughout the State Park provide off-water diversions.

Those with more time at their disposal have a whole world of whitewater available to them. Big-name American destinations include the Salmon River in Idaho or Arizonas famous Colorado River. Further afield lie some of the worlds more exotic rivers, like the Marsyandi in Nepal or Chiles Rio Futaleufu. With reliable outfitters offering trips down all of these, you are limited only by time, money and imagination. s

If youre interested in experiencing whitewater excitement first hand (or any other type of active vacation) visit to find, book and prepare for your next adventure.

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