Best River Rafting Spots in the United States

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River rafting is the perfect way to take in an area’s natural beauty while also experiencing the thrill of adventure and a great workout. Defining “best river rafting” is difficult, as preferences change per person — some opt for calm rafting in Class I rapids, while others prefer the thrill of Class V or VI.

Regardless of difficulty, there are some standout river destinations in the United States.

Variety consistently makes Colorado’s Arkansas River one of the most popular rafting destinations. Beginning in the Colorado Rockies, the river cascades southeast through Colorado, offering Class II-V sections.

The Green River, the Colorado River’s tributary, is a 730-mile river extending from western Wyoming to Utah, briefly passing through Colorado. The views from the river are beautiful, and you can see parts of the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah while rafting.

Those who’ve seen the movie Deliverance will recognize the Chattooga River, which begins in North Carolina, traveling to northeastern Georgia’s Lake Tugalo. Visitors find everything from calm pools to exciting rapids along the way.

The beautiful American River near Sacramento boasts a scenic, calm section for tubing and a more challenging area for white-water rafting, including the South, Middle and North Forks, class III, IV and V respectively.

The popular, 76-mile-long Deerfield River offers beautiful scenery and a wide variety of class levels and variety. You’ll find class II and III white-water rafting, boating, fishing and swimming options throughout the Connecticut River tributary.

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