Whitewater Heaven

These six American rivers will spill, thrill and chill you!

Alsek River, Alaska
12 days ~ Class III-IV ~ June-August

Running through the world's largest patch of protected wilderness, the Alsek passes glaciers, huge coastal mountains, and valleys thick with wildflowers, bears, wolves, and moose. The whitewater - three full days of Class III-IV rapids - kicks up in the middle of the trip. Then there's a helicopter portage with rare views of 10-mile-wide Tweedsmuir Glacier, and a night of camping beside Alsek Lake, where massive icebergs calve. Alaska Discovery's guides are more than river rats - they're committed to protecting the environment and wildlife. Check out this trip

Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho
6 days ~ Class II-IV ~ June-August

After the Grand Canyon, this is THE American classic, with a staggering 100 sets of rapids over 100 miles. What downtime there is you'll spend soaking in natural hot springs, watching for wildlife (black bears, otters, bighorn sheep), and blue ribbon fly-fishing for native cutthroat and rainbow trout, Middle Fork Rapid Transit runs this trip, and this trip alone, so they're masters of the river. Best of all, they're gourmet chefs. Check out this trip

Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolomne River, California

1 day ~ Class IV-V ~ April-September

The most relentlessly white whitewater in North America is nine miles of almost continuous holes, ledges, chutes, and falls - a heart-stopping experience for serious boaters with sharp paddling and swimming skills only. Sierra Mac owner Marty McDonnell did the first descent of Cherry Creek in the early 1970's he also invented the self-bailing cataraft. You're safe in this guy's hands. Check out this trip

Catarack Canyon, Colorado River, Utah
5 days ~ Class III-V ~ May-September

Following John Wesley Powell's original route, you'll put in at the Green River for a peaceful glide to the Colorado. Then the fun begins: The steepest section of the Colorado River is in Cataract Canyon. In 100 miles, you'll hit 30 huge rapids while roaring past brilliant red cliffs in otherwise inaccessible parts of the canyonlands. Holiday Expeditions guides this trip the original way - with wooden oars. Check out this trip

Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River, Colorado

1 day ~ Class V ~ May-September

If you're short on attention span or time, this narrow canyon packs all the excitement of river running into a one-day, 18-mile thrill ride through huge waves big drops, and technical lines. The trip gasps to a halt just past the thousand-foot-high suspension bridge that straddles Royal Gorge. Dvorak Expeditions guides a total of nine different sections of the river, including the gorge. No one knows it better. Check out this trip

Upper and Lower Gauley River, West Virginia
1-2 days ~ Class III-V ~ September-October

The dam release that creates this narrow, 24-mile stretch of rapids each weekend in season may not sound like a recipe for a nature experience, but the adrenaline rush of the huge, technical rapids will wipe that contradiction from your mind. Shake the hordes of other paddlers who sign up for the one-day Upper by doing a two-day trip that hits the equally rapid-packed Lower section as well. Wildwater Expeditions uses rafts custom-made for the river. Check out this trip

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