Top Road Trip Rafting Adventures for 2021

OARS Inspires Travelers to Explore the Road to Whitewater with 9 Unique Road Trip & Rafting Itinerary Ideas

Angels Camp, Calif.—In a recent traveler survey conducted by veteran outfitter OARS, 70% of more than 2700 respondents said they were planning a road trip in 2021. In response, OARS has developed a series of new action-packed road trip itineraries from some of the West’s biggest travel hubs, which all lead to at least one whitewater rafting adventure. In total, the company has mapped out nine unique road trips in the West, making it easier than ever to plan a pandemic-friendly vacation.

“The classic road trip vacation is back and this year more than ever, we want to emphasize the importance of spending quality time together outside with family and friends, closer to home while traveling responsibly,” says Steve Markle, OARS Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “If there was ever a time for Americans to hit the road and explore the Western U.S. by car or RV, this is it. And, for us, all roads lead to whitewater.”

In 2020, after an abbreviated season that ran from early-July through early-November, Markle says that, “To the best of our knowledge, out of 4,492 adventurous guests and more than 300 dedicated guides, drivers, and support staff who joined us last year, not a single person contracted COVID-19 on an OARS trip.”

The company has cited extensive mitigation measures like a Health & Hygiene Pledge for guests and guides, pre-screening protocols, enhanced sanitation procedures, and small group sizes, along with the fact that its trips are run in wide-open, remote areas, as some of the key factors for their capacity to successfully run trips during the pandemic.

“OARS’s ability to adjust the trip during the pandemic was impressive,” shared OARS guest Erin Shawn following a Rogue River rafting trip in September 2020. “This was the best pandemic vacation. It was so good to unplug and enjoy the great outdoors.”

With many of the company’s domestic rafting trips accessible for millions of people living in or visiting major Western U.S. cities like Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland, the company aims to simplify the planning process and inspire people to hit the road and hop on a raft this year. Here’s a sampling of a few of the available itineraries, which include detailed routes, insider info on what to do, and other helpful advice for travelers:

  1. Colorado Road Trip: Denver to Dino Loop – From the towering peaks of the Flat Tops Wilderness to the ancient red rock canyons and rafting the Green River within Dinosaur National Monument, this 894-mile road trip from Denver takes travelers off-the-beaten path in northwest Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
  2. Salt Lake City to Moab: The Ultimate Utah National Parks Road Trip – With four or five national park stops, plus a visit to Bears Ears National Monument, and endless opportunities for adventure, including a Colorado River rafting trip though Cataract Canyon or Westwater Canyon, this Utah road trip from Salt Lake City to Moab is the ultimate Southwest adventure.
  3. Go Rogue: San Francisco to Southern Oregon Road Trip – This 10-day-plus itinerary starts with a visit to Lassen National Park before crossing the Oregon border for one of the most classic multi-day whitewater rafting trips in the West—the Wild & Scenic Rogue River. The final stretch of the trip allows plenty of time for exploring California’s iconic Highway 1 back to San Francisco.
  4. Los Angeles to Yosemite Road Trip – This week-long adventure offers the chance to escape the bustle of Southern California and explore the majestic Eastern Sierra, go off-the-beaten path in Yosemite National Park and tackle some of California’s most thrilling whitewater on a Tuolumne River rafting trip.
  5. The Best Road Trip from Portland Nobody Knows About – On this short and sweet road trip, leave Portland behind and explore scenic Highway 14 through the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side en route to Lewiston, ID—the gateway to Idaho’s world-renowned rivers, including the high desert Gorges of the Lower Salmon and the Snake River through Hells Canyon.

The full line-up of road trip itineraries from OARS is available here:


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