The 10 Best Whitewater Rafting Destinations in the World

best river rafting trips in the world

Whitewater rafting  is one of the most popular adventure sports in the entire world, and for good reason. Not only does it allow travelers to visit unique – and often breathtakingly beautiful – destinations, it provides quite an adrenaline rush along the way. There is nothing quite like rushing down a turbulent river while amazing landscapes flash by along the shore.

Many rafting locations can provide visitors with a quality experience, but as you might expect, not all of them are created equal. Here are eight of the very best whitewater rafting destinations in the entire world that are guaranteed to provide memories to last a lifetime. 

Colorado River (USA)

No list of great whitewater rivers could ever possibly be complete without at least mentioning the Colorado River in the U.S. This famous waterway wanders for more than 277 miles along parts of northern Arizona, with the most famous stretch passing through the iconic Grand Canyon . Travelers can spend as little as a single day running the rapids here, but to truly get the full experience more than two weeks is required . This is the quintessential whitewater rafting experience and a whitewater trip that should be on every adventurer's bucket list.

Zambezi River (Zimbabwe)

Africa's best whitewater destination is without a doubt the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe . Starting just below the 360-foot (110 meter) Victoria Falls the river offers Class IV and V rapids that have to be seen to be believed. In total, there are 23 rapids within a 15-mile (24 km) stretch of water that are amongst the most thrilling whitewater experiences found anywhere on the planet. Sharp-eyed visitors might even spot hippos and crocodiles along the river as well. 

Río Upano (Ecuador)

Dense rainforest teeming with life lines the banks of the Río Upano River in Ecuador . This destination offers travelers an opportunity to experience Class IV rapids in a pristine setting that is as captivating as it is remote. The river wanders through narrow canyons, including the unbelievable Namangosa Gorge, where rocky cliffs tower high overhead while gorgeous waterfalls tumble into the river far below. It is an incredible setting, to say the least, and traveling by raft is the only way to truly experience the location.

Magpie River  (Canada)

Canada is home to several outstanding whitewater rafting destinations, but the Magpie River in eastern Quebec Province might just be the best. The adventure begins with a float plane flight to Magpie Lake, which is followed by a 6 to 8-day descent of the river itself. Along the way, travelers will pass through remote pine forests virtually untouched by man, as they take on Class V rapids that will test them both physically and mentally. At night, they'll camp under the stars and have opportunities to view the amazing Northern Lights in all of their glory. A Magpie rafting journey is an adventure unlike any other. 

Pacuare River (Costa Rica)

With three incredible whitewater sections, and 38 individual rapids, spread out over 67 miles, the Pacuare River in Costa Rica has much to offer adventure travelers. The rolling waters provide Class III and IV rapids that flow past lush rainforests filled with colorful birds, curious monkeys, and elusive ocelots, while the nearby Talamanca Mountains line the horizon. One and two-day excursions are available, giving visitors a chance to truly experience one of the best rafting rivers in the world in all of its glory.

Middle Fork, Salmon River (USA)

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River , located in Idaho, is another waterway that is famous for its fantastic rafting opportunities. The scenery along this river is nothing short of spectacular, with snowcapped peaks towering high overhead while granite canyons and thick forests line the banks for 100 spectacular miles (160 km). Rapids along the Middle Fork can reach as high as Class IV following the spring melt off, making this not just a pretty place to paddle, but one filled with adrenaline-inducing thrills as well. This is one of the most classic rafting destination on the entire planet, and a must-do for anyone who loves whitewater. 

Chilko River  (Canada)

The 47-mile (75 km) long  Chilko Rive r in British Columbia is well known for its relentless, seemingly never-ending string of Class IV rapids. This one is fast, furious, and merciless, but it is also great fun. At the end of the day, you'll know you had a workout, as unlike some other rivers, the Chilko simply don'ts gives up. You'll barely have time to soak in the scenery, which is utterly spectacular too. A full excursion can take up to a week, with rafters camping in stunningly beautiful campsites along the way. 

Futaleufú River (Chile)

Few places on Earth are as breathtakingly beautiful as Patagonia in southern Chile, and there are few better ways to explore that environment than by rafting the Futaleufú River . The Andes Mountains make for a dramatic backdrop to the Futaleufú's deep blue waters, which are fed from glaciers that form lakes in the Patagonian highlands. The river itself keeps the heart pumping by offering Class III - V rapids, although rafters are likely to be just as captivated by the setting they are passing through. This is a beautiful ride that is occasionally interrupted by swift and powerful rapids. 

Noce River (Italy)

Italy isn't usually the first place that comes to mind when you think about whitewater rafting, but the Nice River is one of the best places in all of Europe to take to the water. The ice-blue waters are fed from melting glaciers high in the Dolomites, unleashing a torrent of water below. Rafters can expected rapids as high as Class IV and V levels while passing through the gorges of Mostizzolo. This 16-mile stretch of the Nice is simply spectacular and will give you a new appreciation for the adventures that can be found on the Italian peninsula. 

North Johnstone River (Australia)

Accessible only by helicopter, Australia's North Johnstone River passes through the untouched rainforests and volcanic gorges of Palmerston National Park in northern Queensland. Along the way, it provides travelers with Class IV and V waters as they spend 4-6 days making their descent while camping in the dense forests overnight. Remote, beautiful, and challenging, the North Johnstone is a worthy addition to this – or any other – whitewater rafting list. 

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The World’s Top 10 Rafting Trips

Eugene Buchanan

Although many guides evoke the image, you don’t have to be a bleach-blonde, toothpaste poster boy to enjoy rafting. Once Covid restrictions lift — and with it, pent-up demand for paddling — rafting trips exist throughout the world for everyone, combining splashes with scenic views of some of the planet’s most gorgeous canyons. Venture far enough and you’ll also find a dose of culture you won’t find on any land-based trips. Huck Finn once said, “There ain’t no home like a raft.” Following are our top 10 multi-day rafting trips where Huck—and other would-be rafters—should feel right at home.

Zambezi rafting

1. The Zambezi

In 1855 Dr. David Livingstone hired natives to paddle his canoe to the brink of mile-wide, 364-foot-high Victoria Falls, billed as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world. Modern-day river runners can do the same both above and below the falls. Above the falls are miles and miles of tranquil canoeing waters inhabited by everything from elephants to hippopotami. Below lies the infamous Batoka Gorge, creating the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and offering some of the best Class IV-V, big-water whitewater in the world. The stretch has so many rapids they aren’t even named…just numbered. Day trips are offered on the first 23 rapids, or you can go for an extended stay in the bush–a la Livingstone–for up to seven days.

Alsek rafting

2. The Alsek/Tatshenshini, Alaska

To experience Jack London’s Call of the Wild in the world of whitewater, head north, like he did, to Alaska and British Columbia’s Alsek/Tatshenshini watershed. Here you’ll encounter everything from bears and fresh Alaskan blueberries to spawning King salmon and giant standing waves. Of course, one of the most unique things about the Class III 180-mile journey down the Alsek or 130-mile jaunt down the Tatshenshini are the icebergs that accompany you all the way to the Pacific Ocean. You can even break off some of their glacial ice for your drinks as you listen at camp, under the lights of the aurora borealis, for the call of the wild.

3. The Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho

From the Boundary Creek put-in to its confluence with the Main Salmon 100 miles away, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River offers some of the most remote whitewater in the contiguous U.S. The river threads its way through the 2.7-million-acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness– the largest roadless tract of land in the contiguous United States–culminating with the infamous Impasaable Canyon, named by Lewis and Clark when they passed through the area in the early 1800s. The same Class III-IV rapids they deemed impassable, however, draw river runners in droves. The best thing about the Middle Fork, of course, isn’t its solitude or raft-soaking rapids. It’s the nine riverside hotsprings scattered throughout the trip that can make you look like a well-ripened prune after each day of paddling.

Book here: NW Rafting

best river rafting trips in the world

4. The Grand Canyon, Arizona

When John Wesley Powell first ran the Grand Canyon in 1869, few realized the rapids that caused him such consternation would make it one of the world’s top whitewater runs a scant century later. Rapids such as Crystal and Lava Falls are topped only by the canyon’s beauty as the Colorado River carves its way through time. To do the whole 280 miles takes anywhere from 10 to 23 days, depending on if you have motor support. And if you go with an outfitter, you’re guaranteed gourmet fare that is a far cry from the salted pork and flour rations of Powell’s rafting days.

best river rafting trips in the world

5. The Pacuare, Costa Rica

For a quintessential jungle run, head to Costa Rica’s parrot-filled Pacuare River, which flows into the Caribbean from the Costa Rican highlands. That’s where Hollywood went to get authentic jungle footage for its movie Congo, and that’s where river runners head for 32 miles of Class III-IV, crystal clear whitewater. Trips range anywhere from one- to three-days, with a thatched-roof, bird-chirping lodge awaiting overnight stayers just a coconut’s throw away from the river.

6. The Cahabon, Guatemala

For a rafting trip combining Mayan ruins, candle-lit caves and gurgling hot springs, look no further than the jungle-lined Rio Cahabon near the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala. Three-day trips start with a visit to the 200-km-long Lanquin caves before arriving at the put-in and sorting gear. Once on the river, gear up for such Class III-IV rapids as Rock and Roll, Corkscrew and aptly named Wrap Rock. Towards the end of the trip, relax in comfort at Paradise, where you can swim in a pool below a 20-foot waterfall and then warm-up in natural hot springs. On the way back to the town of Coban, cap the trip with a visit to the Biotopo Nature Reserve and the Queriga Mayan ruins.

7. The Futaleafu, Chile

Ask any river runner worth his or her weight in neoprene what is the best whitewater river in South America–or for that matter, the world–and the answer will invariably be the same: Chile’s Futaleafu. Described as blending the scenery of California’s Yosemite with the rapids of the Grand Canyon and water color of the Caribbean, the river crashes through the Andes on its way to the Pacific from Chile’s border with Argentina. Its upper Class V+ section has humbled expert paddlers from around the world, while an easier 22-mile lower stretch has exposed others to some of the best paddling on the planet. Why else would Futaleafu kayak outfitter Chris Spelius borrow a line from Ringly, Barnum and Bailey and call it the Greatest Whitewater on Earth.?

8. The Sun Kosi, Nepal

David Allardice, owner of New Zealand’s Ultimate Descents, knows a good thing when he finds it. That’s why the Sun Kosi, meaning “River of Gold,” has been the mainstay of his Himalayan commercial rafting operations since he first started running rivers in Nepal in 1984. The 170-mile crown jewel section, which courses through the Mahabharat Lekh mountain range on its way to the Ganges, is easily accessed from Kathmandu and can be done in six to 10 days. Paddlers will find white sand beaches for camping, big water Class III-IV rapids reminiscent of the Grand Canyon, and plenty of monkeys to eagerly listen–and contribute–to your whitewater tales around the campfire.

9. The Coruh, Turkey

For rafters interested in combining rapids with religion–and kayakers looking for culture–it doesn’t get any better than Turkey’s Class III-IV Coruh River, which takes paddlers past Byzantine and Seljuk Turk castles on the way to the infamous Yusufeli Gorge. Although different sections can be done in different time frames,170-mile trips start near the northeast town of Bayburt and end at Artvin near the border with Georgia. The only hard part is keeping your eyes off the castles long enough to negotiate the solid Class III-IV whitewater.

10. The North Johnstone, Australia

While most people head to Cairns, Australia, to dive the Great Barrier Reef, another site on UNESCO’s World Heritage list awaits paddlers just a rugby ball’s kick away. Thundering through one of the oldest rainforests in the world–one that has repeatedly escaped the ravages of ice ages striking farther north–the North Johnstone cuts through Crocodile Dundee country for more than 50 miles before merging with the Pacific just south of the Barrier Reef. Along the way paddlers encounter towering cicadia palms, secret aboriginal caves and countless Class IV-V whitewater that even Dundee himself would have trouble negotiating without the help of a Fosters-drinking guide.

Eugene Buchanan

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9 of the world’s best white­water rafting spots

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Rough Guides' adventure sports expert Helen Abramson gives us her top tips on some of the world’s best adrenalin­-pumping whitewater rafting. Rapids are classified from I–VI, where grade VI is “un-runnable”, so the Grade V rivers listed here are essentially as thrilling as it gets.

1. Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

2. colorado river, arizona/utah, usa, 3. magpie river, canada, 4. noce river, italy, 5. río pacuaré, costa rica, 6. kali gandaki, nepal, 7. futalefú river, chile, 8. north johnstone river, australia, 9. middle fork of the salmon river, idaho, usa.

Africa’s most exhilarating rafting is found on a 24km stretch between the narrow walls of Batoka Gorge, via 23 terrifying Grade IV and V rapids such as the “Gnashing Jaws of Death”, plus some huge drops. The put­-in point on the Zambezi River is at Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall by volume, making this among the most dramatic surroundings you can get while sitting in an inflatable raft. Just to add to the excitement, you might also get to see crocodiles and hippos up close. Trips run from half-a-day­ to eight days.

zambia-canoe-zambezi-shutterstock_1148969603

© Shutterstock

You can take in unique perspectives of the Grand Canyon from the wild Colorado River, which runs for 226 miles (363km) through Utah and Arizona , on this hair­-raising rafting trip down class IV–V rapids in the world’s deepest gorge. You can mix things up with visits to ancient Navajo ruins and side grottos, or with hikes to spectacular waterfalls. If you don’t feel up to a full­-on eighteen-­day belter, three days is usually the minimum to really get to grips with the river, though some companies run half-­day or day excursions too. Vessels vary from motorized, oared or paddle rafts to little wooden dories, and the season lasts from May to September.

Rafting down the Magpie in eastern Québec offers the chance to see more than just stunning secluded forests, intriguing wildlife and the impressive Magpie Falls – you might also catch a glimpse of the wonders of the aurora borealis. As if that’s not enough, the rafting begins after an epic seaplane trip onto Magpie Lake. The rapids get increasingly more aggressive and difficult to navigate as the eight-day trip downriver progresses, climaxing in Grade V rapids on the last day at Magpie Falls.

Easily one of the top rafting destinations in Europe, fed by the melting glaciers of the Brenta Dolomites , the Noce River churns out Grade III–V rapids throughout the summer. Astounding views of sheer cliffs and distant snow­capped summits abound, as the river thunders through the gorges of Mostizzolo and across the remote Val di Sole (Sun Valley). The navigable 28km of the river can be done in one adrenalin­-pumped day.

One of the world’s best rafting rivers, the Río Pacuaré snakes its way through the untouched wilderness of Costa Rica 's Cabecar Indian Reservation rainforest, where tropical birds, monkeys, jaguars and dwarf leopards reside. Day-trips on the Lower Pacuaré, where waterfalls flow into the river, cover 29km through Grade III and IV rapids. Multi­-day trips include stays at remote eco­jungle lodges where guests can enjoy the tranquillity of the nature reserve after tackling their way through tumbling rapids with chilling names such as “Terciopelo Snake” and “Pinball”.

Group of people river rafting on Rio Pacuare in Costa Rica in the pouring Rain © Fabienne Kunz/Shutterstock

Group of people river rafting on Rio Pacuare in Costa Rica in the pouring Rain © Fabienne Kunz/Shutterstock

The Kali Gandaki is named after the Hindu goddess of destruction for a good reason. It runs fiercely down from high in the Himalayas through one of the earth’s deepest ravines, with an excellent alpine view of the snow­-capped Annapurnas . Suitable for both rafting novices and connoisseurs, a three­-day trip from the lakeside town of Pokhara involves tumbling down grade IV rapids, encountering numerous waterfalls, temples and suspension bridges, and camping on isolated white­s-and beaches under an impossibly bright star­-filled sky. Conditions are best from mid­-October to mid­-December and March to April, conveniently crossing over with the peak seasons for trekking.

In October 2014, plans to build a hydroelectric dam on the Chilean side of the Futalefú, in Patagonia , were successfully quashed after a long struggle by organisations determined to save the communities, wildlife and environmental beauty of the area. This means that, for now at least, rafters can still plummet down stunningly clear glacier­-fed waters. There are sections to suit all abilities, from for beginners to those willing to brave some seriously intense Grade V rapids. Chances of getting bored here are pretty slim – you can also go hiking, canyoning, ziplining, horse riding and abseiling. And to cap it all off, riverside camps all have hot tubs.

Kayaking at Futaleufu river, Patagonia - Chile © Guaxinim/Shutterstock

Kayaking at Futaleufu river, Patagonia - Chile © Guaxinim/Shutterstock

Deep in the lush volcanic gorge of North Queensland’s Palmerston National Park runs 80km of the North Johnstone River, offering Grade IV and V rapids which are boosted by the region’s heavy rainfall. The adrenalin stakes are upped on this trip with the compulsory arrival at the put-in point via helicopter ride. On this four-­day adventure into the heart of pristine rainforest, Aboriginal burial sites and 3,000­-year­-old trees are interspersed with wildlife such as saltwater crocodiles, pythons and water dragons, as well as eerily luminous fungi that grows on the riverbank rocks.

Dive into one America’s largest wildernesses outside of Alaska on a trip down the roaring Salmon River, Idaho – often referred to the “river of no return”. With over 300 Grade I–III rapids over 105 miles (169km), a total drop of 3000 feet (900m), hot springs and wildlife such as brown bears, it’s no wonder that this is one of the world’s most popular rafting spots, and it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. July and August are the best times to go, and trips usually run for 5 or 6 days.

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White-water rafting on the Zambezi River

People in a raft in the white-water rapids on the Zambezi

Credit Shutterstock.com/cordelia bua

Widely regarded as some of the best white-water rafting in the world, running the rapids formed by the Zambezi funnelling through the Batoka Gorge, is far and away the most popular adventure activity at Victoria Falls.

These are among the largest commercially rafted rapids in the world, and not for the faint-hearted. However, rafting companies take safety incredibly seriously and guides are trained in swift-water rescue and accredited by the International Rafting Federation.

Getting there & doing it

Operators provide return transfers to the put-in point, where lifejackets and strict safety instructions are issued. Eight-man rafts are commonly used, with a professional guide on each raft.

When to do it

The first 10 rapids below the Falls can only be run during low water (roughly July to January), while in other months rafters are restricted to half-day trips on rapids 11-25 downstream.

From August to December multi-day rafting trips are offered, including overnight and multi-day trips.

Who to go with: organised tours

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Zambezi River Class IV-V White-Water Rafting from Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Zambezi River Class IV-V White-Water Rafting from Victoria Falls

Rating 4.94 / 5 [189 ratings]

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Half Day Zambezi Whitewater Rafting

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White Water Rafting in Zimbabwe

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Where to go for the best river rafting on the planet

North america.

  • Where: Arizona/Utah, USA
  • Why: A wild ride through one of the planet’s most famous natural wonders
  • Level: Class I-V
  • When: April to October

Take in the sights on calmer stretches

© Grand Canyon National Park/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Photos: climbing and rafting the Grand Canyon

  • Where: Idaho, USA
  • Why: The best multi-day river trip in the world
  • Level: Class III-IV
  • When: June to August

Almost continuous whitewater for over 100 miles

© Zachary Collier/Wikimedia Creative Commons

  • Where: Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe, Africa
  • Why: The world’s most intense one-day whitewater trip
  • Level: Class IV-V
  • When: June to March

Non-stop pummelling adrenalin – just watch out for crocs!

© Martijn.Munneke/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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South america.

  • Where: Chile, South America
  • Why: The biggest white water day in South America
  • Level: Class III-V
  • When: December to March

Australasia

  • Where: North Island, New Zealand
  • Why: A short, sharp blast down some epic whitewater
  • Level: Grade II-V
  • When: Year round

The Rangitikei River

© Jeff Hitchcock/Wikimedia Creative Commons

See New Zealand in all its adventure-packed glory

  • Where: Trentino-Alto Adige, Northern Italy
  • Why: Some of the most exciting whitewater rafting in Europe
  • When: June to September

The River Noce in Val di Sole offers different levels of rafting difficulty

© Matteo Cappè

  • Where: Norway
  • Why: Rafting options for all levels, surrounded by stunning scenery
  • Level: Class II-V
  • When: May to October

Bold and beautiful – Norway's River Sjoa

© Edoderoo/Wikimedia Creative Commons

The 8 reasons why the Azores should be your next adventure destination

  • Where: Montenegro
  • Why: A spectacular run through one of the world’s deepest river canyons

Strap on your helmet and life jacket and head out on to the Tara River

© Julian Nitzsche/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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From the National Geographic book Journeys of a Lifetime

Alsek and Tatshenshini Rivers, Alaska/Canada Glaciers and icebergs are among the attractions on these two rivers flowing through an astonishing northern wilderness of mountains and tundra on the borders of Alaska and Canada. As well as superb white water, the trip offers you an unforgettable experience of wildlife, from grizzlies and moose to spawning salmon and luscious blueberries. www.wildernessriver.com

Magpie River, Canada A float plane takes you to Magpie Lake, the start of this eight-day trip through the remote pine forests of eastern Quebec province. Your first rapids come as you leave the lake for the Magpie River, and from then on they grow in difficulty until you reach the challenge of Class V rapids downriver from the spectacular Magpie Falls. You camp at night on river islands, and to the north you see the pulsating glory of the aurora borealis (northern lights). www.Earthriver.com

Middle Fork, Salmon River, Idaho This is one of the world’s most popular white-water rivers, with everything to offer you—rapids up to Class IV and glorious alpine and forest scenery as it flows through America’s largest roadless wilderness area outside Alaska. Wildlife can include the enchanting sight of a mother bear swimming across the river with her cubs. www.ioga.org

Río Upano, Ecuador Around you spreads rain forest, where toucans and iridescent butterflies flit from tree to tree. You glimpse a palm-thatched village of the local Shuar people and may stop to visit it. Starting in the remote town of Macas on the far western fringes of the Amazon Basin, you embark on a journey where the pace varies from gentle rapids to tumultuous rides through narrow canyons. The highlight is the Namangosa Gorge, with Class IV rapids and the sight of countless waterfalls plunging down the gorge’s sides. www.rowinternational.com , www.condorjourneys-adventures.com

Futaleufú River, Chile Plunging from glacier-fed lakes in the high Andes of Patagonia, the limpid blue waters of the Futaleufú River offer superb rafting among mountain scenery of alpine grandeur. Stretches are suitable for beginners, but there are also Class V rapids that will challenge even the most expert rafters. www.visit-chile.org , www.aquamotion.cl

North Johnstone River, Australia This stunning trip in the tropical far north of Queensland offers Class IV and V white water amidst volcanic gorges and the ancient rain forests of Palmerston National Park. At night luminous fungi glow surreally on the rocks and fireflies dance shimmering arabesques through the forest canopy. A bonus thrill is the helicopter ride taking you to the start of the course, which is accessible only by air. www.raft.com.au

Sun Kosi River, Nepal Rising near the border with Tibet, among the world’s highest peaks, the Sun Kosi offers a trip of Himalayan majesty on its way to join the Ganges on the plains below. Class V rapids abound as it thunders through narrow gorges and forested canyons. The final stretch takes you through dense tropical jungle where monkeys chatter from the trees. www.welcomenepal.com

  • Nat Geo Expeditions

Çoruh River, Turkey The Çoruh is one of the world’s fastest-flowing rivers, cutting through breathtaking gorges in the remote and dramatically beautiful Kaçkar Mountains of far northeastern Turkey. Wildlife abounds, from bears to mountain goats to wild boar—as well as fascinating historical ruins, including castles dating from the time of the Byzantine Empire. www.waterbynature.com

Noce River, Italy Fed by melting Alpine glaciers, the Noce tumbles through the wild, remote Val di Sole (Sun Valley) in the Dolomites of northern Italy. It offers some of the most exciting white-water rafting in Europe, including a spectacular series of Class V rapids as it roars through the gorges of Mostizzolo. http://www.valdisole.net/EN/Rafting-and-Whitewater-Sports/

Zambezi River, Zimbabwe/Zambia The Batoka Gorge, where the Zambezi boils and churns its way over 23 rapids in a 15-mile (24-kilometer) stretch below the Victoria Falls, gives Africa’s most thrilling white-water experience against one of the most dramatic river backdrops in the world. www.zimbabwetourism.co.zw

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best river rafting trips in the world

International Rafting Federation

Official world rafting governing body

Top 10 best rafting rivers in the world

Top 10 best rafting rivers in the world

  • 11 June 2019

by Shannon Farley

best river rafting trips in the world

That’s how it was for Rafael Gallo, Honorary President of the International Rafting Federation and International Whitewater Hall of Fame (IWHOF) honouree, when he spent 10 days in May at the IRF World Rafting Championship on the Tully River in North Queensland, Australia.

Inspired by connecting with rafting athletes and fellow river runners from all corners of the globe and reuniting with international river guides who have at times worked for Gallo’s rafting company Rios Tropicales in Costa Rica, Gallo reminisced on his list of the most exceptional rivers he’s rafted. He wistfully remembered rivers he’d run that have been lost to dams and deforestation; and he eagerly dreamed of the rivers on his wish list still yet to be explored.

From Costa Rica to Siberia, Africa to America, Gallo shares his personal Top 10 List of the Best Rafting Rivers in the World. He remembers the lost rivers he misses and previews the river adventures yet to come.

Rafael Gallo’s top 10 best rafting rivers in the world

best river rafting trips in the world

Pacuare River, Costa Rica

Not just by Gallo, the Pacuare River is considered one of the best in the world for rafting due to its spectacular whitewater rapids in a long canyon surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful tropical rainforest.

“I am completely biased to put this river as number one,” said Gallo. “It has given me a great life with my rafting company in Costa Rica, the Rios Tropicales ecolodge, and my rainforest conservation project. I had the opportunity to save it from being dammed in the 1990s and protect its original beauty. It has all the qualities for an excellent rafting river: natural flow, a long runnable length with multiple rapids and challenges, good gradient, pure clean water, and all in an exuberant primary forest.”

Tully River, Queensland, Australia

The Tully River is voted the number one whitewater rafting river in Australia, with technical and demanding class 3 and 4 rapids plunging through stunning world heritage rainforest. Everyone who came to the IRF 2019 World Rafting Championship certainly treasured the Tully.

“Just recently at the World Rafting Championship, I was finally able to see the twin river to the Pacuare that I’ve been told about for years. It’s a fantastic river for the beautiful rainforest, the pool-drop rapids, the rock formations, and it’s part of the Tully Gorge National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.”

best river rafting trips in the world

Colorado River, Grand Canyon, USA

This famous river tops most lists of the best rafting rivers in the world. The Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is the quintessential whitewater rafting trip with huge rapids, picturesque calm stretches, and some of the best camping ever.

“To me, everyone should see this river. There is no doubt among anyone that this river is one of the top 10 in the world for its majesty and magnificence. I was awestruck the first time I saw this river, and I have had the privilege to run it twice on multi-day trips.”

Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

Called southern Africa’s “River of Life,” the Zambezi is the fourth largest river on the continent; it flows through six countries and supports millions of people. The section below the 360-foot (110 meter) Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, provides some of the most exhilarating whitewater rafting in solid class 4 and 5 rapids.

“The Zambezi is like an African monster. It is the biggest and most powerful whitewater that I have ever felt. Each rapid is as strong and as powerful as the next. Huge, short rapids are followed by two-kilometer-long pools that let you try to process what you just went through and gather your wits for the next rapid.”

Futaleufú River, Chile

Dramatically flowing past towering, glaciated peaks of the Andes Mountains in awe-inspiring Patagonia, the Futaleufú River is known for its powerful, exploding whitewater. While the river begins across the border in Argentina, the internationally acclaimed rapids are all on the Chilean side.

“Magical whitewater – the kind of magic that you find in fairytales. It’s a place where you wouldn’t be surprised to see unicorns. The mountains and rocks, the non-stop huge class 3 to 5 rapids, clear clean water flowing through canyon walls … it’s mind-blowing.”

Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho, USA

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is known as another of North America’s most iconic river rafting experiences. Set in a federally protected wilderness area, the long, 104-mile (167 km) journey is nothing short of spectacular with snowcapped peaks towering over granite canyons thick with forests along the banks.

“The Middle Fork has everything that you would want on an overnight river trip – the scenery, the whitewater, the beaches, the hot springs, and the remote wilderness. With beautiful mountains and great hiking, it’s a classic multi-day river trip.”

best river rafting trips in the world

Tara River, Montenegro

Called the “Grand Canyon of Europe,” the Tara River cuts the longest canyon in Europe and the second longest and deepest in the world. It is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a part of Durmitor National Park.

“The Tara impressed me with its amazing sky-blue color. Being a UNESCO world heritage site, its scenery in the mountains is incredible. And it was the location of the IRF World Rafting Championship in 2009. I have only paddled the lower part and I hope to one day experience the whitewater of the upper river.”

Nolichucky River, Tennessee, USA

The Nolichucky River flows 115 miles from western North Carolina to northeastern Tennessee. The Unaka Mountains provide an incredible backdrop for whitewater rafting class 3-4 rapids through the steepest river gorge east of the Mississippi.

“I am also biased on the Nolichucky River, because it is where I learned how to be a raft guide. It is a beautiful free-flowing river with great character, class 3 and 4 rapids, and easy access even though it is nestled in the mountains and forest.”

Chuya River, Siberia

Thirty years ago, in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, this remote river was where the IRF World Rafting Championship got its start. Based on a partnership formed by Project RAFT (Russians and Americans for Teamwork), founded by California river guides Jib Ellison and Mike Grant and in collaboration with Siberian river explorer Misha Kolchevnikov, the Soviet government hosted over 50 rafting teams from 13 nations to participate in the 1989 Chuya Rally rafting competition. The event is now held annually.

“This may be one of my favourite rivers because of the significance it holds for paddling it in 1989. We formed a Costa Rican team and came to the Chuya Rally with Project RAFT. I remember the water being as cold as it could be. There we were, from all these other countries with our specialised rafting gear, and I was so amazed by the Russians with their homemade gear and rafts and how strong they were. We connected nations and people and brought the rafting world together. We broke political and ideological barriers and bonded as humans running rivers together.”

best river rafting trips in the world

Po Chu and Mo Chu rivers, Bhutan

Bhutan’s two most prized rivers are the Po Chu (father) and Mo Chu (mother) rivers in the Punakha Valley. Continuously fed by natural glacier lakes in the Himalayas, the rivers flow through serene, lush green alpine valleys, joining together at the dramatic 17th century Punakha Dzong monastery.

“This is the clearest and cleanest water I have ever seen. These two separate rivers flow out of virgin mountains that have never been climbed and join one another; at the confluence there is a majestic Buddhist temple. I was there in 2009 to help assess the development of whitewater rafting in Bhutan. These rivers are very special knowing that few people are able to travel to the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the legends and their religion surrounding the river are fascinating.”

The Rivers We’ve Lost

Everyone in the river-running world has probably lost a favourite river to mining, dams, pollution or deforestation. These are some of the ones Gallo misses most.

Reventazon River, Costa Rica

A series of five dams have been built on the Reventazon and three more are planned. In 2016, the 130 meter-high Reventazon Hydroelectric Dam flooded the Reventazon Valley, creating an eight-kilometer-long artificial lake and destroying the best class 4 and 5 rapids in Costa Rica. Significant environmental damage includes deforestation and dissecting the Barbilla-Destierro Biological Corridor for wildlife.

Bio-Bio River, Chile

In the early 1980s, the Bio-Bio River was a world-famous classic rafting trip, encompassing an adventurous seven-day journey on a pristine river through some of Chile’s wildest natural places. Despite strong activism world-wide against a dam, it was impossible to stop, and the hydroelectric project was completed in 2003. “It is an iconic loss because there was strong international activism, and yet the Chilean government went ahead with the project,” said Gallo.

Coruh River, Turkey

While the Coruh River is still rafted commercially, it has been dammed heavily. “I was very lucky to have run it free flowing in 1993 during the last Project RAFT event,” said Gallo. “It was one of the great rivers because of its remote beauty, small villages along the river corridor, the mountains and the desert.”

best river rafting trips in the world

The Wish List

  • Alsek River in Alaska
  • Karnali River in Nepal
  • Shotover in New Zealand, South Island
  • Navua River, Fiji

Original article can be found here.

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The Best Whitewater Rafting

If you plan to get out in an inflatable this season, you’re probably going to have a great time regardless of what body of water you’re cruising. But if you’re looking for the biggest thrills and the most excitement, consider this your go-to list.

Zambezi River

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The Top 10 Whitewater Rafting Destinations

Short of measuring the size of every wave, it’s impossible to create an empirical list of the world’s best whitewater. In addition to the water itself, we looked at the quality of the company and the immeasurable awe, like how many grizzlies you might encounter along the shoreline. Be prepared to grumble: A few “iconic” rivers didn’t make the cut. But one thing is for certain: All 10 will rock your raft—and your world.

10. Tatshenshini River, British Columbia 9. Lochsa River, Idaho 8. Alsek River, British Columbia 7. Paro Chhu River, Bhutan 6. Futaleufu River, Chile 5. Zambezi River, Zambia 4. Colorado River, Arizona 3. Drigung Chu River, Tibet 2. Rio Cotahuasi River, Peru 1. Franklin River, Tasmania

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 10. Tatshenshini River, British Columbia

Learn practical outdoor and survival skills.

Yukon Territory rafting

Yukon Territory rafting

Yukon Territory rafting

Never rely on a guide again. On this 24-day full-immersion backpacking and whitewater course that starts in Haines, Alaska, students learn state-of-the-art minimum impact camping skills, practice route-finding, gain technical competence in backcountry whitewater, and learn how to execute emergency scenarios while in the field. All this while rafting the smaller, more technical tributaries and the giant braided glacial drainages farther downriver on the Tatshenshini.

Exact logistics are weather dependent, but students start out with a Swift Water Rescue training and certification, continue with three days of rafting the Upper Tatshenshini River where rapids like Rock Garden and Twin Holes keep students wide-eyed and attentive. The course ends with an overnight on the mostly Class III Tutshi River, with a few sections of Grade IV and V thrown in. By the end of this trip, students will have enough skills in river rescue, hydrology, raft maneuvering, oar and paddle strokes, and captaining to paddle almost anything. $3,500; offered June, July, August.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 9. Lochsa River, Idaho

Beware the grim reaper.

Paddle the Lochsa

Paddle the Lochsa

Paddle the Lochsa

Idaho has the largest contiguous wilderness in the Lower 48 and quite a few rivers running through it. No matter which pick we make here, one or two classics will be left out. For pure whitewater terror, however, it’s hard to beat the two-day paddle on the free-flowing Lochsa. The continuously explosive, 40 class III-IV rapids—with names like Grim Reaper and Bloody Mary—are the result of both big volume (10-20,000 cfs) and steep gradient (30 feet per mile). This kind of whitewater is akin to more famous rivers, like the Gauley in West Virginia, but the Lochsa is bigger and longer.

For the full Idaho experience, front-load the Lochsa with a five-day paddle on the Snake River through Hells Canyon . With Grand Canyon-style rapids through North America’s deepest river gorge, 70-degree water temperatures, and pictographs and pioneer homesteads along the way, Hells Canyon is awe-inspiring. Seven-day combination, $1,995; best in June.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 8. Alsek River, British Columbia

Quality rapids, national-park views.

Alsek River

Beauty in British Columbia

Beauty in British Columbia

Guides here jokingly refer to the Alsek as a Class V Float Trip. There may be rivers with more concentrated rapids than the 140-mile-long Alsek, but looks can be deceiving. The Alsek, which is surrounded by massive glaciers and giant peaks as high as 15,000 feet, drains one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world. This translates to furiously fast, massively voluminous water that rockets out of the mountains at a much steeper gradient than, say, the Yukon.

The water temperature here averages 33 degrees so if you flip, you freeze—dry suits are mandatory. To amp up the adrenaline factor, the Alsek runs through Kluane National Park , home to the highest concentration of grizzlies in North America. Then there’s Turnback Canyon, the five-mile Class VI stretch so deadly that it must be portaged by helicopter. Twelve-day trips from $3,795; best time to go is June.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 7. Paro Chhu River, Bhutan

Hike to temples along this sacred river.

Rafting in Bhutan

Rafting in Bhutan

Rafting in Bhutan

More and more travelers are paying the $200-$250 per night tariff just to enter the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, but it’s still a rare opportunity to raft the country’s sacred rivers. This 11-day trip floats four Class II-III rivers past some of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world, including the Punakha Dzong , a 17th-century monastery that sits on the banks of the Mo Chhu (Mother River) and has survived six fires, two floods, and one earthquake.

You’ll also hike to Tiger’s Nest , a famous monastery chiseled into a cliff 2,000 feet above the Paro Valley floor. Forewarning: Don’t be shocked when you visit the Temple of the Divine Madman. The shrine to Bhutan’s most famous saint (who had a wicked sense of humor) is adorned with giant phalluses—which the Bhutanese believe ward off evil. $3,795; best time to go is November.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 6. Futaleufu River, Chile

Enjoy the amenities at permanent camps built along the river.

Futaleufu River

This Class III-V roiling mass of whitewater is one Patagonian river that hasn’t been dammed—yet. Raft it before Chilean hydroelectric companies run a massive (and ugly) power transmission line through the valley.

This classic ride is singular not only in Patagonian scenery, but the Futaleufu is also unique in that the guiding company that pioneered it, Earth River Expeditions , has built permanent river camps into cliff dwellings with riverside stone hot tubs, hot showers, treehouses, and beds.

While it’s not necessary to portage any of the rapids, a horseback and hiking trail follows the entire length of the river, so at any point the option to walk is always there. And when you’re not rafting or kayaking, there’s horseback riding, rock climbing, rapelling, and canyoneering.

U.S.-based operators like ECHO River Trips offer trips on the Fu, but they are operated in conjunction with Earth River. $3,400; best time to go is February.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 5. Zambezi River, Zambia

Reward yourself with some wildlife sightseeing after this raft trip.

Zambezi River

Zambezi River

Zambezi River

If this Class IV-V stretch of Africa’s fourth-longest river were in the litigious U.S., it’s likely no outfitter would have enough liability insurance to commercially run it. But OARS , which financed the first descent of the Zambezi back in 1981, is back in Africa with a brand-new eight-day trip that combines a four-day paddle with a three-day Botswana Safari.

The ride starts at the base of 360-foot Victoria Falls , passes the sheer rock walls of the Batoka Gorge, and floats class V rapids like Stairway to Heavan, Oblivion, and Gnashing Jaws of Death, which swallow rafts whole. But at least it’s not a crocodile that’s swallowing the raft. A helicopter ride back to the start provides an excellent overview of massive Vic Falls, then it’s on to wildlife heaven in Botswana’s Chobe National Park , where lions, hyenas, zebras, wildebeest, elephants, and giraffe roam wild and free. $2,895; best time to go is September.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 4. Colorado River, Arizona

Do the dory.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

There are more counterintuitive rivers we could have put on this list, but there are very few with more geologic and hydrologic superlatives. In the 225 miles from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek, you’ll charge through 42 major rapids and pass Paleozoic walls that are a half-billion years old.

If you’re going to commit to this once-in-a-lifetime trip (and don’t have the skills to paddle your own kayak), float it the way one-armed explorer John Wesley Powell did— in a wooden dory . For 14 to 18 days you’ll float past geologic history, hike to Indian ruins like the famous Nankoweap granaries, and camp on soft sand. Watch OARS’ newly released Whitewater Orientation video —some of which was filmed on location on the Grand—before you go. From $4,898; trips offered May through October.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 3. Drigung Chu River, Tibet

Paddle your way to base camp.

best river rafting trips in the world

Why not acclimatize for Base Camp by rafting a few rivers along the way? This unique 20-day itinerary , which starts and ends in Kathmandu, culminates in a visit to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side of the world’s highest mountain. But before you top out at that 16,900-foot barren oasis, you’ll raft the Drigung Chu and Tolung Chu, two rivers that offer up Class IV whitewater thrills and a unique riverine view of the surrounding Himalayan landscape. Between rivers you’ll visit the most storied architecture in Tibet, including Norbulingka , the Dalai Llama’s summer palace, the monasteries of Lhasa, and more. $5,900; offered April to October.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 2. Rio Cotahuasi River, Peru

Experience remote incan ruins.

Rio Cotahuasi

Rio Cotahuasi

Rio Cotahuasi

The Cotahuasi is one of the last old-school river expeditions left on earth, with sheer canyons three times the height of the Grand and ancient Incan ruins accessible only via the river. From the town of Cotahuasi, it takes a full day just to trek to the put-in.

On the river for seven days, you’ll paddle 100 miles of stunning, intermittent class IV-V whitewater and canyons measuring 11,587 feet from river to rim. On some nights break camp near Incan ruins with potsherds and old masonry walls that only a handful of people have ever seen. One night you’ll stay in an Andean village adjacent to a local hot springs. Be sure to bring friends: The trip requires teamwork, from punching through tough rapids to lining the rafts around impassable ones. $2,950; best time to go is June and July.

The Best Whitewater Rafting: 1. Franklin River, Tasmania

Float in eco-friendly style.

Franklin River

Franklin River

Franklin River

And now for a happy conservation story: The Franklin River’s ecosystem environment is one of the most pristine on earth thanks to hawk-like activism and conservation efforts by Tasmanian Expeditions , the company that pioneered the first commercial descent back in 1978. (Incidentally, for Everest historians, Lincoln Hall was on that first trip.) Since then, the company has led efforts to prevent a dam in 1983, continues to remove noxious weed infestations along the banks, and manages the nearly invisible, leave-no-trace campsites.

This nine-day trip that passes canyon gorges, cascading waterfalls, and floats mellow pools is a total commitment—once you start, the only way out is to keep rafting. $2,709; best November through January.

  • British Columbia

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The 13 Best Whitewater Rafting Destinations in the World

The 13 Best Whitewater Rafting Destinations in the World

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular activities in the United States. People of all ages and experiences usually find navigating exciting whitewater rapids and bouncing about the spurting waves and river rocks thrilling. It isn't surprising that an increasing number of outfitters online offer advice on the best rafting locations.

Sadly, such an abundance of advice from numerous outfitters who care more about selling a season ticket can make advising you on the best rafting rivers challenging, especially if you're beginning your whitewater rafting adventure . This article will show where to experience some of the best Whitewater Rafting trips in the world.

Colorado River Through the Grand Canyon, USA

Colorado River Through the Grand Canyon, USA

The Colorado River runs 226 miles through Utah and Arizona and features a great view of the Grand Canyon from the Colorado River . While on this river trip, you can do hikes on waterfalls and visit the ancient Navajo ruins and side grottos of lava canyon. As part of its attractions, it has enormous rapids and some excellent campsites. Some companies run half-day, one-day, three-day, or even sixteen-day trips on the Grand Canyon, depending on your schedule and physicality.

You can go on a river trip almost any time of the year, but the best time to go whitewater rafting is from May to September. Be careful to choose a period that would allow you to spend more time at the Grand Canyon and allow you to explore. You can also choose which medium you want to employ as you can choose between paddle rafts or oar rafts, motorized and dories.

Prospect Canyon, Arizona

The Lava Falls Prospect Canyon runs through the Grand Canyon, where you can enjoy hiking, see the fantastic landscapes of Northern Arizona, and even go horse riding. At Lava Falls , the river through the middle fork of Grand Canyon plunges over a cliff with up to a grade X rapid (rating fluctuates depending on conditions) about 37 feet deep. Although these grand rapids could be terrifying, once you can work through your fears, you will easily enjoy the Beach at the endpoint of the Lava Fall.

Magpie River, Canada

When you visit the Magpie River , you can see wildlife and secluded and ancient forests when you raft down the river. If you are up for it, you also experience intense rapids like whirlpools, Picket Fence Rapids, and even the George Camp. It flows from the Labrador Plateau to the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. The Magpie River graces you with the beautiful Magpie Falls and the wonders of the aurora borealis. The trip starts at Magpie Lake and ends in a Grade V rapid at Magpie Falls. It is one of the prettiest rivers to explore while rafting, and the experience is breathtaking.

Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

Zambezi River Zimbabwe -

The Zambezi River is found in Zimbabwe and starts just below Victoria Falls. Within a 15-mile stretch, the river boasts some 23 rapids, and you even get to see wildlife, such as hippopotamuses and crocodiles, along the river. The river distance stretches between the narrow walls of Batoka Gorge through Grade IV and V rapids, such as the Gnashing Jaws of Death. Trips start at the world's largest waterfall, which is Victoria Falls. You can book a trip here for a day trip or half a day. Some tours could last up to a week or eight days.

Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica

Rio Pacuare goes through Costa Rica's Indian Reservation, a pristine rainforest where you will see leopards, monkeys, jaguars, and birds with some luck. It also features a waterfall flowing into the river through class III and IV rapids for 29km. You get to enjoy and experience rapids such as Pinball or Terciopelo Snake. Suppose you opt for multi-day trips to Rio Pacuare in Costa Rica. In that case, you will enjoy the serenity of nature with its eco jungle lodges.

Salmon River, Idaho

Salmon river is sometimes called the river of no return and is the longest-flowing undammed river in the United States. The river drops over 7,000 feet as it flows through scenic routes such as the Galena Summit in Sawtooth National Recreational Area. The middle fork of the salmon river is considered a crown jewel of wide and scenic rivers. The area is one of the most popular rafting rivers in the world due to a section of the river called the Main fork of the salmon river. You also be treated to the views and complex geology of Salmon canyon (some of the deepest canyons in the United States). You can engage in activities such as rafting trips, hiking, and some plane rides.

Rio Upano River, Ecuador

The rafting trip through the Rio Upano River is a wonderful one to participate in, paired with the excellent views of the Andes Mountains in South America. The locals call the river  The Godzilla  as the waves can go up to 15 feet high, and the river's swift flow makes it an incredible challenge for adventurers when rafting. Something else to look out for is the beautiful scenery and impressive waterfalls on both sides. 

Gauley River, West Virginia

Gauley River West Virginia

West Virginia is known as the "raft capital of the world," as Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular recreational activities there. The river is 25 miles of rugged terrain with over 100 rapids, huge waves, and a steep gradient. The Gauley offers tremendous class III to V+ drops and rocky routes. The Pillow Rapid on the Gauley River is a class V rapid with a fast-flowing river regarded as the finest and most adventurous rafting river in West Virginia. The Gauley is one of the best rafting trips you could take,

Karnali River, Nepal

The best time to experience the Karnali River in Nepal is in mid-October. The river is Nepal's longest and largest waterway and originates at snowy Mount Kailash. The scenery surrounding the river includes dense jungle, lush greenery, towering Himalayan peaks, and beautiful beaches. These features are why the region is known as the Holy House. The Karnali has mostly class III rapids, but some parts could be of class IV quality, making it one of the best rafting rivers in the world. Karnali boasts great rapids, such as Jailhouse Rock, God's House, Juicer, etc.

Chilko River, British Columbia

Chilko River is diverse in its enormous stretches of class IV Whitewater currents. The river is a 75-kilometer-long river in the Chilcotin District of British Columbia, Canada, and drops from an altitude of 3,000 feet from a dense mountain forest to a silty desert canyon. The rafting expedition takes you through narrow canyons, alpine forests, high desert plateaus, and sky-scraping hoodoos. The Chilko River is flawless, with clear visibility to about 20 feet, and offers a good river rafting experience.

Chattooga River, Georgia

Chattooga River Georgia

The Chattooga River originates from the mountains of Western North Carolina; it runs 57 miles from North Carolina into Georgia and South Carolina. The river offers fantastic scenery ranging from twisting rock-choked channels to narrow, cliff-enclosed deep pools with thundering falls. You will find sacred waterfalls surrounding dense forests and underdeveloped shorelines characteristic of nature. The rapid current of Chattooga is class II to class IV quality and is famous for its Bull Sluice rapid and dramatic falls that pump adrenaline into you.

Tuolumne River, California

The Tuolumne River offers 16-18 miles of class IV to V rapids bound to give you an adrenaline rush. The huge rapids and big waves of this river are demanding and spaced at close intervals making a recovery for adventurers more difficult. Tuolumne boasts over 40 named rapids that are fast, big, and cold in the early season. In later summer, they are trickier and more frequent. Clavey Falls is something to experience on the Tuolumne River as the excitement comes non-stop as the river winds down and drops through granite boulder fields.

North Johnstone River, Australia

North Johnstone has class IV rapids, with some grand rapids reaching class V, making it one of the more challenging rivers in Australia. The Rapids of the North Johnstone River is known to be technical and extensive. Beautiful tropical forests and volcanic mountains surround the river. The surrounding river boasts waterfalls, basalt cliffs, and canyons. The trip usually takes four days to experience the breathtaking scenery and exhilarating rafting adventure.  

Going on a river rafting trip is a wholesome and exciting experience you can enjoy individually or in groups; it doesn't matter about your age or physicality. You will also find that it offers many benefits as you will feel refreshed after most trips. A good thing about this activity is that you can engage in it in almost any part of the world. 

Sadly, there is so much advice on the best place to go rafting. With such an overabundance of information, it can take time to make the right decision. This article has outlined some places to have the best whitewater rafting trips. These spots have amazing landscapes, great rivers, rainforests, big holes, hot springs, and unique landscapes that will rejuvenate you mentally and physically. You can quickly join a satisfying rafting experience anywhere in the entire world.

Contact us at Advantage Grand Canyon for all your Grand Canyon rafting trip needs. From one-day to two-week trips, we cover them all!

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7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

Maybe you thrive on living life on the edge. Going outside your comfort zone makes you feel more alive. Or, maybe you were the captain of your high school swim team and still have a point to prove. High-water rafting trips and Class IV-V rapids are not for the faint of heart, but for you adrenaline junkies out there, here are some of the best whitewater rafting trips in the world for big water (guaranteed to give you the ride of your life)….

7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

1) Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Perhaps the most renowned river trip in the northern hemisphere, a Grand Canyon rafting trip is a must do for anyone wanting to talk big. Big waves, big holes, big canyon, big expedition, big fun. It’s the big classic and benchmark for all rivers claiming to be big.

Paddlers hold on tight as their raft, steered by a guide on oars, veers downward in a massive rapid on the Zambezi River.

2) Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

It’s the ‘Slam-bezi’ and this river will leave you with no doubt as to its nickname. Africa’s most famous big water river (and perhaps the world’s) is loaded with big Class IV-V rapids that rarely allow a raft through without wreaking havoc. Add in crocs and hippos and BIG is the only way to describe this experience.

British Columbia Rafting: Chilko River

3) Chilko River, British Columbia

This river trip is all about big whitewater. It takes place in big country, among glaciated peaks, alpine forests and, of course, big whitewater. The Chilko is no joke and its non-stop stretch of Class IV whitewater is notorious on the North American continent. Can you say freight train?

7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

4) Futaleufu River, Chile

Mention your trip on the “Fu” to anyone who knows whitewater rafting, and you’ll enjoy their undivided attention. South America’s big water legend serves up multiple Class V rapids in a setting that seems almost make-believe. With several mind-blowing sections of river to navigate over several days, you will be a believer.

Best of the West: Cataract Canyon Whitewater Rafting in Canyonlands

5) Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, Utah

This epic run , host to arguably the largest Class V rapids in the U.S., is most likely to rage in June when spring runoff is at its peak. Don’t let the scenery fool you, desert whitewater can be as big as the landscape it cuts through.

Idaho whitewater rafting: Middle Fork of the Salmon River

6) Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

Typically late-May into mid-June is when this scenic pathway can take on another attitude altogether. Among the boating community, a high-water descent of the Middle Fork of the Salmon will earn you respect, as its continuous Class IV whitewater is intense.

7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

7) Tuolumne River, California

The Sierra snowpack can unleash its bounty with a fury that attracts whitewater boaters from all over the world to the Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park. Most often late-May through mid-June, this 18-mile stretch packed with Class IV+ rapids becomes an adrenaline junkies dream come true.

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8 of the Best places in the world for Whitewater Rafting

This is our list of the best whitewater rafting trips in the world. Rafting is an awesome sport, a great way to spend your free time, and it makes for a great holiday. We are blessed on this planet to have so many countries with exceptionally good whitewater rafting on offer. Which means there are lots of places on our bucket list!

We have comprised our list of the best places in the world to go whitewater rafting.

1. Zambezi River – Zimbabwe/Zambia

This has to be one of the most famous rafting trips in the world. A dramatic adrenaline fueled rafting expedition that runs through 6 countries. Brave the rapids beneath the thundering Victoria Falls, with beautiful Africa in the background. This is a trip for experienced rafters and offers the chance to see hippopotamuses, elephants and crocodiles up close and personal. Not forgetting the infamous Batoka Gorge section which bubbles away with 23 rapids in a 24-kilometre section, some of the best Class IV-V rafting in the world. There’s so may that many aren’t even named, but some of the best are Boiling Point, Oblivion and the Last Straw.

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2. Brahmaputra – India

This is one of the biggest and most remote rivers on the planet. It’s been described as the ‘Everest of Rivers’. The 14 day rafting trip runs through isolated tribal settlements and surrounded by dense forests. The highlight is rafting through the Marmong Gorge, where you are encompassed in deep impenetrable tropical forests on either side. Big volume and adventurous, everything you would expect from a Himalayan River.

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3. White Nile – Uganda

Another African adventure that has to be added to the list. There are many different trips on offer on this river from short to longer expeditions giving you a true taste of African culture. For kayakers, it’s an awesome place for play boating. It is said that a day trip on the White Nile is one of the wildest one day white water rafting trips in the world.

Our friends in the business – Kayak The Nile

 4. M iddle Fork of Salmon River -USA 

Idaho’s Middle Fork offers great wilderness rafting in America. It weaves it’s way through the 2.7million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness which is the largest roadless tract of land in the US. Perfect for beginner rafters looking for adventure with big drops, heaps of action and technical paddling. When your not focused on the rafting, make sure to take in the 2000 foot gorge you are paddling through. A highlight is going through the the ultimate in “Big Drops” when you raft Tunnel Chute an underground rapid blasted out by gold miners. Here the river descends 80 feet through a very narrow chute that is at most 18 feet wide! And we need to mention, that from start to finish, the river drops 3000ft in altitude! Rapid highlights include Parallel Parking, Texas Chainsaw Mama and Final Exam

Our friends in the business – NorthWest Rafting

5. Sun Kosi –  Nepal

This is the original expedition in Nepal . It offers impressive big volume Grade IV rapids that draw rafters from all over the world. You’ll travel through the hearth of Nepal from the Tibet border to the Indian one, witnessing the change of scenery from the Himalayan mountains, lush forests and ending in the dusty plains. This trip is as much about the off river adventure as it is about the river. There are several traditional Hindu temples and quaint Nepali villages to explore and the camping on white sandy beaches is better than any campsite you will ever find. Rapid highlights include Harkapur, Rhino Rock, Jungle Corridor and Jaws. Hello, you have reached rafting Nirvana!

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6 The Futaleufú –  Chile

The Fu or Futa as it is also know is dare we say, the best river in South America?! Some have described this as a joining of the scenery of California’s Yosemite with the rapids of the Grand Canyon and the water colour of the Caribbean. Personally, we can’t think of a better combination. Fed from the glacier-fed lakes in the Andes Mountains, the upper section is reserved solely for experienced paddlers with many Class IV drops, but the lower, easier 22 mile stretch at the bottom is more assessable to people with less experience. The river has many permanent river camps that offer beds, hot showers, hot tubs etc, which is not common place on many expedition style trips. Rapid highlights include the Terminator, Bridge-to-Bridge and El Macal.

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7. Colorado River, Grand Canyon –  USA

No rafting list could be compete without mentioning the mighty Colorado River. This surely is one of the ultimate expeditions in the world, it has after all, carved out the Grand Canyon over time, weaving for 226 miles through Colorado, Utah and Arizona. A highlight of this river is the Class V Gore Canyon. This trip is not just about the whitewater, when you have the time in between tackling rapids, the flat sections provide you a rather special view of the canyon. Off the river you are treated to ancient Indian ruins, miles and miles of trekking trails and stunning campsites.

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8. Jondachi – Ecuador

There are so many rivers in Ecuador, it’s hard to choose just one. Rather we think, Ecuador as a whole is one of the best places in the world for whitewater adventures. However, we did manage to whittle it down to one, the Jondachi, which is the ultimate Jungle adventure also known as the Gem in the Andes. Although it’s one of the shorter rivers, there has to be almost 100 rapids on a 10k stretch! A muddy trek in gets you to the put in of this river where it’s then non stop fun! If you get the chance inbetween the rapids, keep an eye out for the colourful parrots in the trees above. This is a river of two halves, with the upper section being more intense than it’s lower counterpart.

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So there it is, our top 8 best rafting rivers of all time. Can you think of any other destinations that should be added to this list?

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Ride the rapids: 10 best white water rafting tours in the US

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Best White Water Rafting Tour (2023) June 9, 2023

The rivers of the United States offer some of the world’s best whitewater rafting opportunities, with thrills for experienced rafters and newbies alike. From white-knuckle rapids to more relaxed family floats, rafting is a great way to add a dash of adventure to a trip. 

These 10 companies – voted by readers as the best for white water rafting tours in the United States – get top marks for their exciting itineraries, variety of options and well-trained guides.

Hells Canyon Raft

No. 10: Hells Canyon Raft - McCall, Idaho

This Idaho-based raft company believes every turn of the river has a story to tell, and their Hells Canyon rafting trips are “journeys through a land rich in myth and geologic wonder.” Enjoy a three-, four-, five-, or six-day trip on the Snake River, where boulders and rockslides have created the biggest rapids in the Pacific Northwest. Between the rapids, watch for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk and deer. For family fun, take a four- or five-day trip along the Salmon River, where the rapids are still exciting but family-friendly.

Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours

No. 9: Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours - Durango, Colorado

Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours leads trips in Colorado, Utah and Arizona, with a river for just about any thrill level and trips lasting anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Wilderness Voyageurs

No. 8: Wilderness Voyageurs - Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania

With Wilderness Voyageurs, guests can enjoy several different whitewater rafting adventures on rivers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. They offer trips for all skill levels and ages, with some suitable for young children.

ACE Adventure Resort

No. 7: ACE Adventure Resort - Oak Hill, West Virginia

Hoping to conquer the surging rapids of New River Gorge National Park during your next trip to West Virginia? Look no further than ACE Adventure Resort, a tour operator that specializes in day excursions ranging from beginner level jaunts to master-class expeditions.

Rivers & Oceans

No. 6: Rivers & Oceans - Flagstaff, Arizona

With Rivers & Oceans, adventurous travelers can explore the rivers of the western United States. Choose between one-day trips through the Grand Canyon or multi-day rafting itineraries in Utah, Oregon, Arizona or Idaho.

Wildwater Rafting

No. 5: Wildwater Rafting - Multiple locations

Wildwater, the southeast's "original professional outfitter," has been leading whitewater rafting trips since 1971. With outposts on three rivers throughout the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, Wildwater offers a variety of rafting trips ranging from family-friendly to wildly epic.

Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

No. 4: Glacier Guides and Montana Raft - West Glacier, Montana

This Montana-based tour company can’t wait to take you rafting down the stunning Flathead River in Glacier National Park. Enjoy thrilling Class II-III whitewater rafting adventures with various rafting experiences for a half-day or fully day. Also available are overnight/multi-day trips for rafters of all levels.

Pocono Whitewater Rafting

No. 3: Pocono Whitewater Rafting - Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Pocono Whitewater has whitewater rafting adventures for everyone in the family, with no experience required. Paddle through 17 sets of rapids on a 12-mile trip with Class II-III rapids and astonishing scenery. Or take a guided, more relaxed family-style adventure with Class I-II rapids. There’s even a moonlight rafting experience where you leave at sundown and navigate through rapids by moonlight.

Western River Expeditions

No. 2: Western River Expeditions - Salt Lake City, Utah

Western River Expeditions has more than 60 years of experience guiding trips along the rivers and canyons of the American West. Today, the company offers itineraries in Arizona (Grand Canyon), Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Costa Rica.

Northwest Rafting Company

No. 1: Northwest Rafting Company - Hood River, Oregon

Northwest Rafting Company specializes in rafting trips on Oregon’s Rogue River and Idaho’s Salmon River, though guests can also choose multi-day trips along the Owyhee, Illinois or Chetco rivers. Specialty itineraries add in gourmet food, yoga sessions or live bluegrass music. Trips last four to six days.

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Feb 17, 2023

Best river rafting destinations around the world

River rafting as an adventure sport.

Be it choppy or calm waters, river rafting never fails to add the element of thrill. From the Ganges to the Grand Canyon, rafting enthusiasts have travelled great distances to test the waters and soak in some great scenery in the process.

Colorado River, Grand Canyon, USA

Located in Arizona, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is the mother-of-all whitewater rafting experience. It's 364 km of endless raging waves and placid waters.

Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

You will be rafting around 23 rapids below the majestic Victoria Falls, easily one of the wildest whitewater runs in the world.

Siang River, Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Brahmaputra river, upon entering Arunachal Pradesh, is called Siang river and is one of the wildest rivers in India. This is not for beginners.

Río Upano, Ecuador

Meander through the stunning Namangosa Gorge and witness the beauty of nature all around.

Pacuare River, Costa Rica

Experience the stunning rainforest as you tackle the river and several rapids on the way. This one’s a rocky one.

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Ganges river, uttarakhand, india.

Head to the town of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand for this adventure. The Ganges river, with her Class IV and V rapids, will keep you busy.

Salmon River, Idaho, USA

Rafting is the only way you are coming in and out of this place. Also, this one’s a 168 km section, so get ready for a multi-day rafting trip.

North Johnstone River, Queensland, Australia

It’s a four-six-day rafting trip in one of the remotest locations in Australia. Rapids ahead!

Magpie River, Quebec, Canada

Rafting through some of the most pristine pine forests in the world, and far away from any sign of civilisation, that’s what this trip is all about.

Tully River, Queensland, Australia

The number one whitewater rafting river in Australia will take you through Tully Gorge National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Futaleufu River, Chile

This glacier-fed water is often compared to the raging waters of the Colorado River. The best part of this is that you experience all these thrills in a single day!

Chilko River, British Columbia, Canada

Brace yourself for a never ending face-to-face with Class IV rapids on this river. We are talking about 75 km!

Tara River, Montenegro

This river cuts through the Tara River Gorge, one of the longest canyons in Europe. It is located in Durmitor National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rangitikei, North Island, New Zealand

This scenic run starts slow but picks up the pace and how, as it nears the gorge that it cuts through.

Chuya River, Siberia

This river hosts many national and international river rafting championships.

Noce River, Val di Sol, Italy

The snowmelt from the Dolomites feed this river and this is one of the most scenic river rafting destinations in the world.

Po Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, Punakha, Bhutan

Glaciers from the Himalayas feed these two important rivers. This site is spectacular and also perfect for beginners.

Sjoa River, Heidal, Norway

Perfect for all levels, rafting here includes soaking in some of the best views in Norway.

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7 Best Rafting Trips In The World That Will Take Your Breath Away

Nothing says adventure as much as white water rafting. Explore these 7 best rafting destinations in the world for an experience like no other.

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Published On Oct 29, 2023 | Updated On Jul 07, 2024

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Whether you are the occasional traveller who wants to tick white water rafting off your bucket list, or an adrenaline junkie who is looking to conquer them all, these 7 best rafting trips in the world are sure to blow your mind.

Not only do you experience the thrill it is to go rafting on wild white waters, but you also connect with fellow rafters and witness nature in all its glory. May that be the rainforests of South America or the high-altitude desert of Ladakh, each landscape has something to offer.

It is always advisable however to be mindful of your skill level and what the rafting trip requires, as any disconnect between the two can be potentially fatal. Make sure that you sign up with licenced and professional organisations for a safe and fun rafting trip.

Here are 7 best rafting trips in the world that you must experience

1. Colorado River, USA

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With a deep stunning gorge like the Grand Canyon, this destination is bound to make it to the list of best white water rafting rivers in the world. Experience the grandeur of one the best natural marvels of the world, and no matter what your experience level be, Colorado River’s long rafting section has something for you.

Best time to go: April to October

2. Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

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While it travels through multiple countries, the Zambezi River’s Zimbabwe stretch has often been nicknamed ‘Slam-bezi’, and for a good reason. Not for faint-hearted or even lesser experienced rafters, rafting at this river starts at the base of the famed Victoria Falls, and is a straight 20-odd kilometres of the craziest white water rafting. One of the best river rafting in the world, this one is full of big volume rapids, and crocodiles, making it one of the deadliest. This one is strictly for level 5 rafters.

Best time to go: June to March

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3. Fatalefu River, Chile

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Another river that regularly gets featured on the list of top 10 river rafting in the world, the Fatalefu River in Chile is breathtakingly gorgeous and just as adventurous. The glacier-fed river has stretches that are perfect for you no matter what your level of experience be, but if a pure unregulated adrenaline rush is what you’re looking for, the roughly 5 km stretch called the Bridge-to-bridge zone it is. Often compared to rafting through the toughest of rapids in the Grand Canyon all at once, no wonder it is one of the best white water river rafting in the world.

Best time to go: December to March

4. Rangitikei, New Zealand

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While it looks tame at the surface, Rangitikei in New Zealand comes with a gorge that has more than 10 rapids, one after the other, almost like a staircase, mixed with deep holding pools, landing it on the list of the best rafting in the world.

The river also requires you to be a bit experienced at rafting, being ranked suitable for levels 2-5. Newbies can also try their hand at this half-day rafting trip but make sure they’re supervised.

Best time to go: This is perfect for rafting all year round.

5. Noce River, Italy

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Nestled in the mighty Dolomites, Noce River is gentler than the majority of other listings here and promises you a good time. While beginners can experience this river frequently listed as one of the best white water rafting rivers in the world, with a little supervision, experts will really enjoy the steeps and gorges.

Best time to go: June to September

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While these international river rafting destinations might be ranked at the top of the best white water rafting rivers in the world, there are 2 destinations closer home that are a great place to start.

6. Karnali River, Nepal

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With gorges and rapids, and the best of the hospitality that you can experience in the Himalayas, Karnali River in Nepal is an underrated white river rafting destination you must explore. With a long list of third to fifth-level rapids and a scenic gorge, this should definitely make it to your list of the best white river rafting in the world.

Best time to go: January to May, and September to December.

7. Zanskar River, Leh

Image

With scenery like no other on this list, white river rafting in the Zanskar River must be experienced at least once in life. With rapids ranging from the first to third levels, Zanskar is quite beginner-friendly and hence makes it to our list of the best river rafting in the world. It also happens to be the highest river rafting destination in the world, making it even more special.

Best time to go: June to October

Discalimer: The details mentioned throughout this blog are sourced from publicly accessible platforms. At Zeezest, we intend to share factual and verified information. Should there be any inconsistencies or variances in the information provided, please understand that these are entirely unintentional and not meant to mislead.   

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Redbook

Best Spots in the USA For Whitewater Rafting

Posted: August 15, 2023 | Last updated: August 15, 2023

<p>Whitewater rafting is one of the most thrilling river water sports, and if you like to plan your entire vacation around opportunities to get out on the rapids, you are certainly not alone. People all over the world are drawn to the excitement of navigating the fast, shallow stretches of water by raft with a group of their friends in tow, and they flock to destinations known for their exciting courses. A number of these must-visit whitewater rafting spots are located right within the United States, in regions along the East Coast, West Coast, and everywhere in between. If you've been considering planning a whitewater rafting trip, you are definitely going to want to visit these locations, break out your paddles, and get in the water.</p>

Whitewater rafting is one of the most thrilling river water sports, and if you like to plan your entire vacation around opportunities to get out on the rapids, you are certainly not alone. People all over the world are drawn to the excitement of navigating the fast, shallow stretches of water by raft with a group of their friends in tow, and they flock to destinations known for their exciting courses. A number of these must-visit whitewater rafting spots are located right within the United States, in regions along the East Coast, West Coast, and everywhere in between. If you've been considering planning a whitewater rafting trip, you are definitely going to want to visit these locations, break out your paddles, and get in the water.

<p>The Arkansas River runs between Arkansas and Colorado and is one of the country's most sought-after whitewater rafting spots, largely because of the stunning views of the white mountains of Colorado. Guests tend to spend anywhere between a half-day and fifteen days exploring the area and spending time out on the rapids.</p>

1) Arkansas River, Arkansas & Colorado

The Arkansas River runs between Arkansas and Colorado and is one of the country's most sought-after whitewater rafting spots, largely because of the stunning views of the white mountains of Colorado. Guests tend to spend anywhere between a half-day and fifteen days exploring the area and spending time out on the rapids.

<p>Known for its thrilling drops that make you feel like you're riding a rollercoaster, the Salmon River in Idaho offers visitors one of the most beautiful whitewater rafting journeys in the country. The area is also home to an abundance of wildlife, grasslands, and canyons, which serve to create truly beautiful scenery and a one-of-a-kinf experience.</p>

2) Salmon River, Idaho

Known for its thrilling drops that make you feel like you're riding a rollercoaster, the Salmon River in Idaho offers visitors one of the most beautiful whitewater rafting journeys in the country. The area is also home to an abundance of wildlife, grasslands, and canyons, which serve to create truly beautiful scenery and a one-of-a-kinf experience.

<p>Maine's Kennebec River is home to class III and IV rapids, which make for a perfectly thrilling and often challenging rafting journey. The 12-mile long course has a few drops that can be quite startling if you're not ready for them, so beginners might want to sit this one out.</p>

3) Kennebec River, Maine

Maine's Kennebec River is home to class III and IV rapids, which make for a perfectly thrilling and often challenging rafting journey. The 12-mile long course has a few drops that can be quite startling if you're not ready for them, so beginners might want to sit this one out.

<p>The Colorado River flows right through the Grand Canyon, and many argue that it is the number one destination for whitewater rafting in the United States. The waters are typically fairly calm, though once in a while they become more challenging as the result of high waves and water speed.</p>

4) Colorado River, Arizona

The Colorado River flows right through the Grand Canyon, and many argue that it is the number one destination for whitewater rafting in the United States. The waters are typically fairly calm, though once in a while they become more challenging as the result of high waves and water speed.

<p>Seasoned whitewater rafters flock to West Virigina to traverse the Gauley River, which offers a challenging experience. While beginner rafters might find the class V rapids scary, it's also exhilerating and fun for a thrill-seeker.</p>

5) Gauley River, West Virginia

Seasoned whitewater rafters flock to West Virigina to traverse the Gauley River, which offers a challenging experience. While beginner rafters might find the class V rapids scary, it's also exhilerating and fun for a thrill-seeker.

<p>California's Kern River is home to 165 miles of whitewater rafting known for its high elevation and quick flow. While some parts of the river are best suited to intermediate or advanced whitewater rafters, there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to learn the ropes on the Lower Kern River.</p>

6) Kern River, California

California's Kern River is home to 165 miles of whitewater rafting known for its high elevation and quick flow. While some parts of the river are best suited to intermediate or advanced whitewater rafters, there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to learn the ropes on the Lower Kern River.

<p>The St. Louis River, located in Minnesota, is 192 miles long and is the longest in the country that flows into a lake, which, in this case, is Lake Superior. The class II and III rapids make the St. Louis River an excellent destination for whitewater rafters of all skill levels, and the natural surroundings provide an endlessly gorgeous view.</p>

7) St. Louis River, Minnesota

The St. Louis River, located in Minnesota, is 192 miles long and is the longest in the country that flows into a lake, which, in this case, is Lake Superior. The class II and III rapids make the St. Louis River an excellent destination for whitewater rafters of all skill levels, and the natural surroundings provide an endlessly gorgeous view.

<p>One of the most challenging whitewater rafting destinations in the United States, the Tuolumne River spans 149 miles of Central California. The river begins in Yosemite National Park, ensuring the views are exciting as the class IV and V rapids are challenging.</p>

8) Tuolumne River, California

One of the most challenging whitewater rafting destinations in the United States, the Tuolumne River spans 149 miles of Central California. The river begins in Yosemite National Park, ensuring the views are exciting as the class IV and V rapids are challenging.

<p>Oregon's Rogue River is home to class I, II, and III rapids, making it an excellent destination for beginner whitewater rafters without compromising on the gorgeous scenery. Every inch of the course offers glimpses of nature and wildlife that can't be found anywhere else.</p>

9) Rogue River, Oregon

Oregon's Rogue River is home to class I, II, and III rapids, making it an excellent destination for beginner whitewater rafters without compromising on the gorgeous scenery. Every inch of the course offers glimpses of nature and wildlife that can't be found anywhere else.

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  • World's Best Awards 2024

Travel + Leisure Readers' 10 Favorite River Cruise Lines of 2024

Explore the world's coolest rivers via these 10 spectacular river cruise lines, voted the best by T+L readers in the “World’s Best Awards” survey for 2024.

best river rafting trips in the world

How Voting Works

What readers loved, the full list.

Taking a beat, a breath, and a moment to unwind is what travel is all about. And while this can be achieved on every vacation you take, it's always easier on a slow vacation, like the one you'd experience on a magical river cruise. This level of relaxation can really be found in riverways just about anywhere in the world — as long as you choose a winning cruise line like those on this year's World's Best Awards list. Our reader favorites service the waterways of Europe, South America, Asia, and beyond.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Over 186,000 T+L readers completed the 2024 survey. A total of more than 700,000 votes were cast across over 8,700 properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

For the cruise category, respondents were asked to rate individual ships; the results were combined to generate scores for cruise lines in different categories based on number of cabins.

Ships were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Cabins/facilities
  • Itineraries/destinations
  • Excursions/activities

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.

Courtesy of Aqua Expeditions

Indeed, slow travel has become all the rage, with Travel + Leisure readers looking to river cruising to help them explore every inch of their destination at a leisurely 8.6 knots per hour.

"Our first river cruise was on Avalon Vista, and that experience turned us on to do more river cruising," one reader wrote about this year's No. 2 river cruise line, Avalon Waterways. "The trip was immediately a hit when we checked into our suite, and there was a bottle of Champagne and a box of chocolates for my birthday. Such a nice touch."

The reader also noted how spectacular the staff, food, and amenities were on board, but particularly called out the unbelievable excursion options, which on Avalon include wine tastings through France, kayaking the canals in Amsterdam, and learning something new with a cooking class through Austria.

But still, there was one river cruise line that captured the hearts of readers even more — their No. 1 pick, Aqua Expeditions. Read on to see what T+L travelers loved most about this line and all the rest who made this year's World's Best list.

Aqua Expeditions

Service. Service. Service. That's what T+L readers praised most about their experience on board Aqua Expeditions. "Exceptional service and staff. Unique excursions and experiences that you could not get anywhere else," one reader said. "It's hard to describe the casual luxury, the detail-oriented staff, the spacious cabins, and the general feeling of total relaxation that Aqua Mekong exudes," another added. "I can't stress how warm, welcoming, and ready to serve the entire staff is." The cruise line took home the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row thanks to this and more, including its distinct staterooms like those on its Aqua Mekong ship, which feature deep wood accents and emerald green pops of color, and its fantastic dining options on Aqua Nera , which serves local Peruvian cuisine using the freshest ingredients possible. "It was amazing," one more reader noted of their experience. "Beautiful areas, excellent service!"

It's hard to describe the casual luxury, the detail-oriented staff, the spacious cabins, and the general feeling of total relaxation that Aqua Mekong exudes.

1. Aqua Expeditions

Reader Score: 98.85

2. Avalon Waterways

Reader Score: 95.91

3. The Oberoi Cruisers

Reader Score: 95.75

Reader Score: 95.71

5. Grand Circle Cruise Line

Reader Score: 95.61

6. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Reader Score: 94.83

Reader Score: 94.73

8. Riverside Luxury Cruises

Reader Score: 94.62

Reader Score:  91.00

10. AmaWaterways

Reader Score: 90.09

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Unforgettable White Water Rafting Trips Across America

Laura lambert | jul 11, 2024.

White water rafters enjoying the wild ride.

White water rafting offers thrilling adventures through some of the most stunning landscapes in the United States. Here are some of the top destinations for an exhilarating rafting experience:

1.  Colorado River, Arizona

  • Highlights:  The Grand Canyon offers one of the most iconic white water rafting experiences with rapids ranging from Class III to V. Multi-day trips provide breathtaking views of the canyon.
  • Best For:  Adventurers seeking a combination of challenging rapids and stunning scenery.

2.  Gauley River, West Virginia

  • Highlights:  Known for its intense rapids, especially during the fall release, the Gauley River features Class V rapids. It’s often referred to as the "Beast of the East."
  • Best For:  Experienced rafters looking for high-adrenaline rapids.

3.  Salmon River, Idaho

  • Highlights:  The Middle Fork of the Salmon River offers a pristine wilderness experience with rapids up to Class IV. The river flows through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
  • Best For:  Those seeking a mix of thrilling rapids and serene, remote wilderness.

4.  Ocoee River, Tennessee

  • Highlights:  Home to the 1996 Olympic white water events, the Ocoee River features continuous Class III and IV rapids. It’s known for its accessibility and exciting rapids.
  • Best For:  Both beginners and seasoned rafters looking for a fun and challenging run.

5.  Arkansas River, Colorado

  • Highlights:  The Arkansas River offers a variety of sections, including the famous Royal Gorge with Class IV and V rapids and Browns Canyon with Class III and IV rapids.
  • Best For:  Families and thrill-seekers, with options for different skill levels.

6.  Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania/Maryland

  • Highlights:  The Youghiogheny (Yough) River has three sections: the Upper Yough with Class IV and V rapids, the Lower Yough with Class III and IV, and the Middle Yough with Class I and II.
  • Best For:  A variety of skill levels, from families and beginners to experienced paddlers.

7.  Snake River, Wyoming

  • Highlights:  The Snake River through Jackson Hole offers picturesque scenery and Class III rapids. It's a great introduction to white water rafting with a mix of excitement and beauty.
  • Best For:  Beginners and families looking for a scenic and enjoyable adventure.

White water rafting provides an exhilarating way to experience some of the most beautiful and rugged landscapes in the United States. Whether you're seeking the intense rapids of the Gauley River or the scenic float of the Snake River, these destinations offer unforgettable rafting adventures for all skill levels.

Laura Lambert

LAURA LAMBERT

RiverBent

Essential Guide to Rafting with Kids

Michele Crockett

Updated on: July 11, 2024

Girl turning cartwheels on Lower Salmon River

This guide to whitewater rafting for kids compiles all we’ve learned from years of paddling with kids of all ages, including choosing the right river, safety considerations, keeping kids fed and hydrated, essential gear, and more. (We’ve included some affiliate links to gear that we recommend.)

When boaters have babies, their thoughts soon turn to how and when to take their new offspring on a river trip. Although whitewater rafting with kids comes with challenges, the effort is undoubtedly worth it.

River trips were the hands-down favorite vacation destination for our kids as they were growing up, despite the fact that these excursions involved a heroic effort from the kids. As soon as they were old enough, they threw themselves into the work, from helping prep meals to packing their river gear to loading and unloading boats. They learned how to cope when the weather was dicey, when ants attacked them, or when they left their Chacos on a rock at the lunch stop. 

Girl turning cartwheels on Lower Salmon River

They also learned the indescribable joy of watching falling stars above a dark canyon in a remote section of the desert, surrounded by good friends and family, after a full day of riding the waves. Here are a few things we’ve learned about to make rafting with kids a great experience for all.

San Juan River family rafting

Choose an easy river stretch

Of course, the younger your kids, the mellower the rapids should be—but other factors come into play when you’re bringing kids along. Every family will have different opinions about how much action is too much for their kids, each of whom will have their own tolerance for waves and outdoor elements. Especially for your first outing with kids, pick a river stretch that has these characteristics:

  • Familiarity —Most if not all the adults should know the river well, including how it behaves at different water levels, difficulty of recognizing camps and getting into eddies, likelihood of wood and debris creating new hazards, and other factors. Don’t take young kids on a stretch you haven’t scouted yourself.
  • Optimal water flows —You’re looking for water that’s not too high and not too low so you’re neither battling flood-stage circumstances nor banging off rocks all day, which is time-consuming and frustrating. 
  • Minimal rapids —Float trips with barely a ripple are fine starting points for family raft trips, such as the San Juan River in southeastern Utah, Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River in Utah, or Ruby-Horsethief Canyon on the Colorado River. 
  • Easy camping —Although you might relish hoisting several rafts worth of gear up a steep trail to a bench camp, your kids will not. To minimize discontent, choose camps that are easy to access, have lots of sand, and have somewhat decent footing, especially for young children. Bonus points for wide, shallow eddies that they can play in. Of course, this is the outdoors and you can’t have everything, but many of the aforementioned floats have an abundance of camps that meet this criteria.
  • Short length —For the first few trips with your kids, stick to an overnighter or two nights on the river. These first trips will be your shakedown runs where you discover your kids’ tolerance for unpredictable situations, get your river routines established, and dial in the kids’ gear and clothing. (For more tips on simplifying river trip planning, check out “ Easy Overnight River Trips .”

Young boy learning to row on Green River through Desolation Canyon

Plan for every type of weather

If the weather forecast looks bad, consider postponing the trip. Especially for very young children, getting caught in a hailstorm on the river or dealing with a flash flood situation is scary and dangerous for all. Also consider canceling if the heat looks relentless: It’s tough to keep kids properly hydrated on the river. But even if the forecast looks ideal, plan for the worst. 

  • Heat —Bring a bimini for the raft, sun shelters for camp, and head-to-toe sun protection clothing, sunscreen, and plenty of easily accessible water for the kids. (For more resources, check out Best Sun Protection Clothing for River Trips and our post on water filters and water jugs for river trips .)
  • Cold —For camp, bring fleece layers, socks, and hats for kids even when the weather looks to be hot and sunny, and good waterproof gear for the river, including neoprene socks to keep their feet warm. Even in the desert, when the thunderstorms roll in, kids can get cold fast.
  • Wet —Bring 2+ changes of clothes for each kid per day in case things get wet, especially for kids under 5. And make sure your family tent can withstand wind and rain. 

Plan for one adult to be on constant kid duty 

One aspect of boating with kids that we had to re-learn a few times is that one adult is canceled out at all times when it comes to loading gear, unloading gear, setting up camp, setting up the tent, setting up the groover, and on and on. Someone needs to have eyes on the kids, so keep that in mind when you’re planning how fast you can strike camp, how long to float each day, and the adult-to-kid ratio of the overall river party. When kids are along, everything takes longer, which points to shorter trips and less time on the water each day.

Especially on the raft, very young kids (2 to about 5) need an adult in the raft with them who is completely devoted to their happiness and safety (in other words, not rowing the boat or otherwise distracted). 

best river rafting trips in the world

Prioritize safety

Putting safety first seems obvious when your kids are involved, but sometimes it’s hard to set aside your go-to river decision-making. A few things to watch for when you’re boating with kids:

  • Make sure the adults are completely comfortable with the river stretch—this is not the time for exploratory missions, even down the left channel when you usually go right.
  • Don’t rush anything: Don’t try to squeeze in one more hike when the sun is dropping behind the canyon walls. Don’t keep pushing for the camp with the stunning waterfall when it’s 5 o’clock and everyone is hungry and tired.
  • Diligently stock your first-aid kit: Make sure all supplies are topped off, and pay specific attention to the maladies that commonly afflict kids, including bee stings, ant bites, scrapes, and sprains. One first aid kit that we recommend: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Mountaineer .
  • Have one adult with eyes on the kids at all times. 
  • If weather is threatening and you’re nowhere near camp, look for a decent place to pull over and post up. Even huddling under a tamarisk bush under a tarp beats being out in the middle of the river with hail pounding on your kids’ knuckles.
  • Bring a satellite communication device if you’re headed into a remote area. (Check out the Garmin inReach Mini 2.)

best river rafting trips in the world

Bring kid-friendly river trip food

Good food tastes even better on the river, and every kid delights in watching meals come together outside. Older kids will likely want to help on the cook teams, too. To keep kids happy and well fed, do your best to accommodate their food favorites and make it easy for them to eat when they’re hungry and drink when they’re thirsty. Here are a few tips for keeping kids well-fed and well-hydrated on river trips:

  • Keep food and water accessible at all times. Keep snacks handy in a small dry box on top of the raft that’s easy to reach by the kid minder. Make sure each kid has their own water bottle (with a self-sealing lid or a straw—our favorite is this Contigo spill-proof water bottle with a straw ) and keep a water jug accessible on the raft so you can refill as often as needed. Although I’m not a huge fan of sugary drinks, I’ve found that spiking water with a little Gatorade powder helps make water more palatable for kids on hot desert trips where it’s hard to keep the drinking water cool. 
  • Balance the snacks as you would at home with a good mix of protein, carbs, and fats. It’s fun to experiment with new snacks on any vacation, and river trips are no exception. But for the most part, try to stick to food your kids are familiar with and love to reduce food fights and upset stomachs. Some of our favorite go-to snacks are mixed nuts with dried fruit (and maybe a little chocolate, although that usually turned into a melty mess), cheese sticks, peanut butter on tortillas (less prone to smashing than bread), and fruit that isn’t fragile (yes to grapes, cherries, and blackberries; no to bananas). 
  • Take advantage of well-made convenience foods , such as low-sugar/high-protein energy bars, fruit roll-ups, and other parental lifesavers.
  • Plan easy-to-make meals for dinner and breakfast. The less complicated the cooking, the more time you have to spend with your kids playing in the water, building sand forts, or playing bocce. Noodle-based concoctions and anything wrapped in a tortilla are winners among the kids in our crew. Save the Dutch oven eggplant parm for another time. (For more food tips, check out Time-Tested Guidelines for Raft Trip Meal Planning .)

Kid water bottle with straw on river raft

Embrace a leisurely pace

As with any activity that involves kids, river trips with children will unfold in their own time. When drafting the daily itinerary, plan to spend about half to two-thirds as much time on the water as you would with a crew of adults. Kids get tired of sitting on rafts rather than running around. Plan for some stops for lunch, hikes, and playing in the water. Keep the time on the water relatively short so you have plenty of time in camp to set up the kitchen, eat a leisurely meal, and enjoy the river.

Young boy on river bank with water sword

Invest in essential river gear for kids

As any parent whose child pursues outdoor sports (especially skiing!) knows, it’s frustrating to buy expensive gear that’s outgrown in months. But by keeping your eye on local consignment shops and online used gear purveyors ( GearTrade has an extensive kids’ outdoor gear collection), you can reduce the cost. And of course, all well-made items can be handed down and traded with friends and family. Some essential items for kids on river trips:

  • Good rain gear—paddling gear is hard to find for toddlers, but you can find rain jackets with snug closures at the neck, wrists, and ankles. This Helly Hansen rain bib and jacket set for toddlers and kids is made for the job.
  • Sun protection—Sun hats (ideally with a wide brim and neck gaiter), water-resistant sun protection clothing, sunglasses, and foot protection are non-negotiable for hot summer river trips. This Sunday Afternoons hat is our favorite for toddlers and young kids .
  • Long swim pants and swim shirts to guard against sun and sand abrasion— Long-sleeved swim tops or rashguards for toddlers are fairly easy to find new or in consignment shops but pants are a little harder. We recommend pants like these SwimZip swim leggings
  • Water shoes with good tread—these protect little feet from the sun and annoying rocks better than sandals. These Merrells are a good pick if you have other kids to pass them along to, or these extremely affordable water shoes for kids will work, too.
  • Warm layers for night—Fleece jackets, fleece pants, warm socks, hiking boots, and a warm cap will all get used at some point.
  • Well-fitting life jacket—PFDs for kids are getting better and better, with high-quality options available even for babies. (We recommend this Mustang Survival PFD for toddlers and kids .)
  • Personal gear—Give each kid their own toiletry kit with sunscreen, lotion to guard against dry skin and chafing, lip balm with sunscreen, and face wipes.

Toddler in Mustang Survival life jacket PFD

Make kids comfortable in river camp

One way to prepare your kids for a river trip is to take them on a few overnight camping trips beforehand so they’re somewhat familiar with the gear. In general, think about what makes you feel comfortable and happy on a river trip and give your kids that same consideration. A few examples: 

  • If your toddler typically sleeps in a Pack-and-Play when you travel, bring the thing along and set it up in the tent. 
  • If your kids are old enough to sleep in their own sleeping bags, get one that is well-made and fits them reasonably well, like this Big Agnes sleeping bag for kids . We are huge fans of the Morrison Outdoors Big Mo sleeping bag for toddlers (which is essentially a down sleep sack with sleeves).
  • Bring an adored stuffed animal (but maybe not the most favored one as accidents can happen) and maybe another as a backup.
  • Make sure every kid has a river chair—it’s awful for anyone to be excluded from the camp circle because they don’t have a chair. (Nobody wants to be relegated to a cooler.) We love this compact camp chair for kids , which comes with its own bag and a detachable tray.
  • Although it’s true that most kids can entertain themselves with rocks and sand, it doesn’t hurt to bring a few fun, easy games like bocce or cribbage for older kids. Water toys never go out of style, either.
  • Bring a headlamp for every kid so they’ll be at ease when the sun goes down. We like the Black Diamond Wiz kids’ headlamp as it’s affordable (these things tend to get lost) and automatically shuts off after two hours.
  • Kindly explain all aspects of the groover to them so they aren’t embarrassed about where to go to the bathroom.

Toddler in camp chair on river bank

Take your kids early and often on river trips

River trips were a defining aspect of our kids’ lives going up. If you love rivers, share them with your kids as soon as you feel comfortable. You’re bound to see that canyon sunset in a whole new light.

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COMMENTS

  1. The World's 13 Best Multi-Day River Rafting Trips

    1. Middle Fork of the Salmon River (Idaho) The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is one of the Best Rafting Trips in the World. In my opinion, the "Middle Fork" is the best river trip in the world due to its 100 miles of continuous Class III and IV whitewater, clean water, great camps, world class fishing, hot springs, and abundant wildlife.

  2. The 10 Best Whitewater Rafting Destinations in the World

    Africa's best whitewater destination is without a doubt the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Starting just below the 360-foot (110 meter) Victoria Falls the river offers Class IV and V rapids that have to be seen to be believed. In total, there are 23 rapids within a 15-mile (24 km) stretch of water that are amongst the most thrilling whitewater ...

  3. Best river rafting destinations in the world: guide

    Africa. Zambezi River - Batoka Gorge. Where: Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe, Africa. Why: The world's most intense one-day whitewater trip. Level: Class IV-V. When: June to March. One of the ...

  4. 15 Best Whitewater Rafting in the World

    The Rafting Navigation Area is about 18 kilometers long, and the guides consider it the most thrilling, scary, difficult, and exciting of them all. These two drops are one of North America's biggest rapids when river rafting is concerned. This makes for one of the best rafting trips you can have. See Related: Things to Do in Augusta, Georgia

  5. The World's Top 10 Rafting Trips

    Get ready to get slammed on the Zam. 1. The Zambezi. In 1855 Dr. David Livingstone hired natives to paddle his canoe to the brink of mile-wide, 364-foot-high Victoria Falls, billed as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world. Modern-day river runners can do the same both above and below the falls.

  6. The Best White­water Rafting Spots In The World

    5. Río Pacuaré, Costa Rica. One of the world's best rafting rivers, the Río Pacuaré snakes its way through the untouched wilderness of Costa Rica's Cabecar Indian Reservation rainforest, where tropical birds, monkeys, jaguars and dwarf leopards reside. Day-trips on the Lower Pacuaré, where waterfalls flow into the river, cover 29km through Grade III and IV rapids.

  7. The 10 Best Rafting Trips

    Best Multi-Day Rafting Trips. 4. Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho. The Middle Fork of the Salmon is the quintessential multi-day rafting trip that has it all: hot springs, world-class trout fishing, jaw-dropping scenery, abundant wildlife, great hiking, and nearly continuous whitewater for its 100 miles.

  8. The Best Whitewater Rafting in the World: 10 Top Spots

    01 Arkansas River, Colorado. Best rafting season: May - September. This wildly popular rafting spot is at the top of our list for all the right reasons. Located 90 miles west of Colorado Springs, this river has a brilliant combination of both easy and challenging rapids. The class of rapids range from one to five.

  9. White-water rafting on the Zambezi River

    With a guide, travel down one of the best one-day rafting rivers in the world, which plummets into a gorge at Victoria Falls, separating the placid river above the falls and the turbulent rapids below. The gorge is more than 328 feet (100 meter) deep at the falls and increases to more than 650 feet (200 meters) by the end of the full-day raft trip.

  10. Best river rafting destinations in the world: guide

    Zambezi River - Batoka Gorge. Where: Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe, Africa. Why: The world's most intense one-day whitewater trip. Level: Class IV-V. When: June to March. One of the most ...

  11. Top 10 White-Water Rafting

    Zambezi River, Zimbabwe/Zambia. The Batoka Gorge, where the Zambezi boils and churns its way over 23 rapids in a 15-mile (24-kilometer) stretch below the Victoria Falls, gives Africa's most ...

  12. Top 10 best rafting rivers in the world

    Rafael Gallo's top 10 best rafting rivers in the world ... In the early 1980s, the Bio-Bio River was a world-famous classic rafting trip, encompassing an adventurous seven-day journey on a pristine river through some of Chile's wildest natural places. Despite strong activism world-wide against a dam, it was impossible to stop, and the ...

  13. The 20 Best Whitewater Rafting Day Trips

    1. Upper Tuolumne River (Cherry Creek), California. Coffin Rapid on Cherry Creek. Cherry Creek is the gold standard for Class V and is the hardest section of commercially rafted whitewater in the United States. Rapids like Mushroom (V), Toadstool (V), and Lewis's Leap (V) challenge even the most experienced river guides.

  14. The Best Whitewater Rafting

    With Grand Canyon-style rapids through North America's deepest river gorge, 70-degree water temperatures, and pictographs and pioneer homesteads along the way, Hells Canyon is awe-inspiring ...

  15. The 13 Best Whitewater Rafting Destinations in the World

    Gauley River, West Virginia. West Virginia is known as the "raft capital of the world," as Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular recreational activities there. The river is 25 miles of rugged terrain with over 100 rapids, huge waves, and a steep gradient. The Gauley offers tremendous class III to V+ drops and rocky routes.

  16. 10 of the Best One-day Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

    8) Tully River, Australia. The Tully River is considered Australia's best rafting river — a claim that holds up under scrutiny. Even though it's only 83 miles long, the Tully cuts through some spectacular country, including the Tully River Gorge National Park (a UNESCO world heritage site).

  17. 7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

    7) Tuolumne River, California. The Sierra snowpack can unleash its bounty with a fury that attracts whitewater boaters from all over the world to the Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park. Most often late-May through mid-June, this 18-mile stretch packed with Class IV+ rapids becomes an adrenaline junkies dream come true.

  18. 8 Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

    For kayakers, it's an awesome place for play boating. It is said that a day trip on the White Nile is one of the wildest one day white water rafting trips in the world. Our friends in the business - Kayak The Nile 4. Middle Fork of Salmon River -USA Idaho's Middle Fork offers great wilderness rafting in America.

  19. 20 best white water rafting trips in the US

    Wildman Adventure Resort - Peshtigo River Outpost. Shoot the white water on the Menominee River, whose river banks are hemmed in with soaring cliffs. White water rafting trips from Athelstane navigate Piers Gorge, on the dividing line between Michigan and Wisconsin. When the water peaks in the spring, Class IV and Class V rapids offer a ...

  20. Ride the rapids: 10 best white water rafting tours in the US

    Hells Canyon Raft - McCall, Idaho. This Idaho-based raft company believes every turn of the river has a story to tell, and their Hells Canyon rafting trips are "journeys through a land rich in myth and geologic wonder.". Enjoy a three-, four-, five-, or six-day trip on the Snake River, where boulders and rockslides have created the biggest ...

  21. Best river rafting destinations around the world

    Colorado River, Grand Canyon, USA. Located in Arizona, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is the mother-of-all whitewater rafting experience. It's 364 km of endless raging waves and placid ...

  22. 7 Best Rafting Trips In The World

    Here are 7 best rafting trips in the world that you must experience. 1. Colorado River, USA ... One of the best river rafting in the world, this one is full of big volume rapids, and crocodiles, making it one of the deadliest. This one is strictly for level 5 rafters. Best time to go: June to March.

  23. 9 Best Whitewater Rafting Adventures in the U.S

    WHERE: Alaska. The glacial river from Mt. McKinley that is most popular in Alaska for whitewater rafting is the Nenana River, flowing north through the Alaskan mainland to Denali National Park ...

  24. Best Spots in the USA For Whitewater Rafting

    The Arkansas River runs between Arkansas and Colorado and is one of the country's most sought-after whitewater rafting spots, largely because of the stunning views of the white mountains of Colorado.

  25. Our Readers' Favorite River Cruise Lines of 2024

    Travel + Leisure Readers' 10 Favorite River Cruise Lines of 2024. Explore the world's coolest rivers via these 10 spectacular river cruise lines, voted the best by T+L readers in the "World's ...

  26. Unforgettable White Water Rafting Trips Across America

    Plan your next adventure with our guide to the best white water rafting locations in the US. From the Olympic rapids of the Ocoee River to the wild waters of the Arkansas River, find the perfect ...

  27. Essential Guide to Rafting with Kids

    Guide to river rafting with kids, including choosing the right river, safety considerations, food, essential gear, and more. ... sunscreen, and plenty of easily accessible water for the kids. (For more resources, check out Best Sun Protection Clothing for River Trips and our post on water filters and water jugs for river trips.) Cold—For camp ...