5 Top Places to Go White Water Rafting

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Whitewater rafting is a terrific adrenaline rush for thrill-seekers, as well as a great opportunity to take in some stunning natural scenery. The landscape is often unspoiled and teeming with wildlife, and the rivers themselves provide endless photo opportunities — that is, when you aren’t paddling for dear life. Here are five of the world’s top destinations for this white-knuckle sport.

1. The Nile, Jinga, Uganda.
What better place to start than the world’s most famous river? This unforgettable stretch of whitewater features Grade III to V rapids, alternating with calmer sections that allow adventurers to take in the exotic jungle atmosphere. The highlight? Overtime, a 12-foot drop that’s sure to send your heart catapulting into your throat. For more ideas on African water adventures, see this CNN feature.

2. The Penobscot River, Millinocket, Maine
Maine may be a far cry from Africa, but the thrills offered by the Ripogenous Gorge are not to be underestimated. Beginning with the famed Exterminator Hole and continuing through the Cribworks, this pulse-pounding excursion will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. When your eyes aren’t closed with screams of delight, you might even catch a glimpse of a moose or bald eagle in this rugged, untamed wilderness.

3. The Arkansas River, Canon City, Colorado
A river trip down the steep, 1000-foot wall canyons of Colorado is an item that’s graced many a bucket list. With rapids in the class III-IV range, the excitement is always at a high simmer, but there’s also plenty of sun-drenched scenery to take in along the way. Looking for a longer excursion? The Colorado region offers a wide range of options for multiday trips.

4. The Gauley River, Summersville, West Virginia
West Virginia may not seem an immediately obvious choice for this type of adventure, but according to Forbes the region has plenty to offer in the way of wet and wild entertainment. In fact, the Gauley River is rated as one of the world’s premier rafting spots. Meandering over 25 miles and containing its share of Class V rapids, the river is best run in September and October, and is likely to be far less crowded than its better-known western counterparts.

5. Chilko River, Chilcotin, British Colombia
A waterproof camera is a must for this adventure, which combines alpine forests and snowcapped peaks with continuous Class IV whitewater. When Walt Disney created the Matterhorn Bobsleds, he was likely trying to evoke an experience much like this one.

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