7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

2 Min. Read

Maybe you thrive on living life on the edge. Going outside your comfort zone makes you feel more alive. Or, maybe you were the captain of your high school swim team and still have a point to prove. High-water rafting trips and Class IV-V rapids are not for the faint of heart, but for you adrenaline junkies out there, here are some of the best whitewater rafting trips in the world for big water (guaranteed to give you the ride of your life)….

7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

1) Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Perhaps the most renowned river trip in the northern hemisphere, a Grand Canyon rafting trip is a must do for anyone wanting to talk big. Big waves, big holes, big canyon, big expedition, big fun. It’s the big classic and benchmark for all rivers claiming to be big.

Paddlers hold on tight as their raft, steered by a guide on oars, veers downward in a massive rapid on the Zambezi River.

2) Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

It’s the ‘Slam-bezi’ and this river will leave you with no doubt as to its nickname. Africa’s most famous big water river (and perhaps the world’s) is loaded with big Class IV-V rapids that rarely allow a raft through without wreaking havoc. Add in crocs and hippos and BIG is the only way to describe this experience.

British Columbia Rafting: Chilko River

3) Chilko River, British Columbia

This river trip is all about big whitewater. It takes place in big country, among glaciated peaks, alpine forests and, of course, big whitewater. The Chilko is no joke and its non-stop stretch of Class IV whitewater is notorious on the North American continent. Can you say freight train?

7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

4) Futaleufu River, Chile

Mention your trip on the “Fu” to anyone who knows whitewater rafting, and you’ll enjoy their undivided attention. South America’s big water legend serves up multiple Class V rapids in a setting that seems almost make-believe. With several mind-blowing sections of river to navigate over several days, you will be a believer.

Best of the West: Cataract Canyon Whitewater Rafting in Canyonlands

5) Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, Utah

This epic run, host to arguably the largest Class V rapids in the U.S., is most likely to rage in June when spring runoff is at its peak. Don’t let the scenery fool you, desert whitewater can be as big as the landscape it cuts through.

Idaho whitewater rafting: Middle Fork of the Salmon River

6) Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

Typically late-May into mid-June is when this scenic pathway can take on another attitude altogether. Among the boating community, a high-water descent of the Middle Fork of the Salmon will earn you respect, as its continuous Class IV whitewater is intense.

7 of the Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

7) Tuolumne River, California

The Sierra snowpack can unleash its bounty with a fury that attracts whitewater boaters from all over the world to the Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park. Most often late-May through mid-June, this 18-mile stretch packed with Class IV+ rapids becomes an adrenaline junkies dream come true.

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