Adrenaline junkies and nature lovers are strapping on life vests and helmets in order to paddle and bounce their way over turbulent rapids. Whitewater rafting is dramatically increasing in popularity. More and more people are looking for the best places to try it for the first time or challenge themselves with more difficult runs. To find the best place launch your raft, check out these top destinations.
1. Colorado River, Grand Canyon
The Colorado River, which winds for 226 miles through Colorado, Utah and Arizona, is the quintessential rafting destination. When you aren’t battling the powerful rapids, the calm stretches provide a unique view of the canyon. The journey also offers plenty of adventure on dry land with ancient Indian ruins, miles of hiking trails and campsites located on beautiful beaches.
2. Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
The Zambezi River at Victoria Falls provides an adrenaline-soaked adventure for experienced rafters. Nearly half of the rapids along the river are graded as Class IV. Aside from the dramatic drops and massive swells, the river offers rafters a chance to see crocodiles and hippopotamuses up close.
3. Ottawa River, Canada
The Ottawa River, which divides Quebec and Ontario, is regarded as a top destination for rafters of all skill levels. The lukewarm water and calm stretches are perfect for budding adventurers while faster sections will give even the most advanced rapid rider a thrill.
4. Pacuare River, Costa Rica
The Pacuare River of Costa Rica is enveloped in a lush tropical rainforest. Winding 67 miles through three sections, the river has rapids classed from III to IV. Along the journey to the Caribbean, rafters will have the opportunity to view the area’s resident jaguars, ocelots, monkeys and exotic birds.
5. Futaleufu River, Chile
The Futaleufu River cascades from glacier-fed lakes high in the Andes Mountains. The aqua water is calm enough in many areas for novice rafters. However, experienced rafters will feel at home in the long stretches of rough rapids and Class IV drops. The area also features permanent river camps with hot tubs, beds and warm showers. If you are looking for adventure out of the water, try the rock climbing or horseback riding that is available near the river.
6. Salmon River’s Middle Fork, Idaho
The Middle Fork tributary of the Idaho’s Salmon River is one of North America’s iconic whitewater rafting experiences. Over the course of its 105-mile journey, the river offers up 100 rapids and drops 3000 feet in elevation. As they paddle their way through the spruce forest and rugged landscape, rafters are likely to see moose and bears along the shore.
7. North Johnstone River, Australia
The North Johnstone River in Queensland, Australia serves up Class IV and V rapids which get their force from the area’s heavy rainfalls. The river, which winds through volcanic gorges and untouched rainforests, is only accessible by helicopter.
8. Magpie River, Canada
Rafting on the Magpie River in Canada steadily increases in difficulty throughout the journey. The first rapids, near Magpie Lake, are gentle enough for novice rafters. The Class V rapids at Magpie Falls will challenge those with more experience. At night, camping along the river provides a spectacular view of the Northern Lights.
9. White Nile, Uganda
The White Nile River, which is a tributary of the Nile River, weaves its way through Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The best spot for whitewater rafting is at Jinja, Uganda where the river exits Lake Victoria. Once the river spills out of the placid lake, it explodes into Class II – V rapids.
10. Tara River, Bosnia
River Tara is born by a joint effort of rivers Opasnica i Veruša in the foothill of Komovi Mountain. Her stream is as long as 144km: 104km flows in Montenegro and 40km in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At Scepan polje, Tara joins Piva and gives birth to Drina.
You have certainly heard that Tara goes by the name “Tear of Europe” due to its purity. You can drink water from its stream anywhere you catch it, in every part of its flow. Other important characteristic of Tara is that this river’s canyon is 1300m deep, which makes it the greatest canyon in Europe and the second in the world, right after river Colorado in America. Since 1977, Tara canyon is under the protection of UNESCO, and it is in the category of 25 the most important world natural heritages.