Cara MacDonald, KSL.com

5 of the best places to go river rafting near Utah

By Cara MacDonald, KSL.com | Posted - Mar 7th, 2019 @ 12:15pm



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NEAR UTAH — We’ve covered some of the best places to go river rafting in Utah. Now, here’s a guide to some of the best rafting destinations in the western United States:

Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult

This bucket list river rafting route runs for around 100 miles with nearly continuous rapids. A 90-minute drive from Stanley, Idaho, the Middle Fork snakes through one of the second largest protected wildernesses, the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness.

Along with exciting rapids, the river offers a peek at wildlife, amazing scenic views, access to hot springs and world-class trout fishing. Most people put in their boats at Boundary Creek and take out at Cache Bar (mile 100).

Permits are required and are chosen on a lottery system.

Arkansas River, Colorado

Difficulty: Novice - Moderate

Kicking off from the high Colorado Rockies near the Continental Divide, this river is one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the western United States. Drift through 100 miles of whitewater with people of mixed skill levels — anyone from young kids to adventurous adults.

People may choose to raft on the gentle and scenic Lower Browns Canyon, the moderate and bouncy Browns Canyon or Narrows, or hit the challenging Numbers and Royal Gorge sections.

Most trips can be completed in between 2-5 days.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Difficulty: Advanced

The Colorado River, as it snakes through the towering walls of the Grand Canyon, is one of the world’s most famous and stunning river runs. Some of the toughest whitewater terrain nationwide makes this river a stout challenge for even experienced rafters.

See stunning red rock canyons, side hikes with some of the most unique features in the world, and all that the Colorado River has to offer on this expedition. The Grand Canyon can be rafted in a few different ways: commercial big-boats, commercial oar boats, or self-guided oar-boat trips. Motorized big-boats can cut travel time down to three or four days, while oar-boat trips often take close to three weeks to traverse the white water terrain.

Immerse in this stunning river run and experience some of nature’s rowdiest white water rapids. Permits are required and are chosen on a lottery system.

Tuolumne River, California

Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult

The Tuolumne River has been described as a river rafting “nirvana”. It kicks off in Yosemite and flows through the Tuolumne Meadows, the Grand Canyon, and into the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

Only 18 miles long, the run can be done in one day, but is better if enjoyed in two or three. Campsites are stunning, and the fun class IV+ rapids are worth scouting and planning. Most rafters put in at Meral’s Pool and take out at Ward’s Ferry Bridge.

Rogue River, Oregon

Difficulty: Novice - Moderate

Located in southern Oregon, this Rogue River route runs for 35 miles from the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean. Catch stunning views of wildlife and natural scenery in a family-friendly multi-day river trip.

Most rafters put in at Grave Creek Boat Ramp, immediately after which is a class III rapid called Grave Creek Falls. The take-out point is Foster Bar, a little more than 10 miles after Blossom Bar Rapid (class IV) that commonly wraps rafts.

This river requires a permit.

Have more rivers to suggest? Comment them below.

Cara MacDonald

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