best whitewater raft tripsNothing says summer fun like an exciting whitewater raft trip! There are plenty of opportunities across the West to get on the water when temperatures heat up, near both popular and off-the-beaten-path vacation destinations. So, here it goes, Vacation's picks for the best whitewater raft trips:


Idaho should be as famous for its world-class whitewater as it is for its potatoes. The state boasts miles of pristine rivers and quality rapids; some runs pass through the heart of the largest wilderness area in the continental U.S., providing guests with an experience of a lifetime.

Plan an impressive multi-day whitewater raft trip in Stanley, Idaho. Several rafting companies are based in this quaint town on the banks of one of the last wild rivers, the 475-mile long undammed Salmon River. A number of one or half-day trips are also available and the rafting-oriented towns located downstream also provide trips on a number of the river's raftable sections.

Further north in McCall, Idaho you can experience America's deepest canyon from the seat of a raft. The Snake River flows through Hells Canyon, and is one of the most spectacular whitewater raft trips in the country. Outfitters in McCall offer three to six-day all-inclusive trips through some of the West's most scenic terrain. There are also one-day trips on the Salmon River based out of McCall, an outdoor recreation mecca.


In addition to glaciers and grizzlies, Montana is home to some of the best whitewater rafting trips in the Rockies. Head to West Glacier from Kalispell or Whitefish for a half-day, one-day or two-day trip on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, which flows along the southern border of Glacier National Park. Snow-capped, rugged peaks and thrilling whitewater make these trips hard to beat.

Yellowstone National Park

Near America's favorite National Park, the Yellowstone River takes passengers to places that are otherwise inaccessible. Whitewater raft trips with a number of companies headquartered in Gardiner, near West Yellowstone, offer scenic vistas of Yellowstone National Park and surrounding mountains. A few miles north, families can raft the Gallatin River, easily accessible from Bozeman and Big Sky.


Whitewater raft trips in the desert? You bet! Utah is home to some amazing rivers, including the mighty Colorado, which passes through red rock paradise. Base out of Moab and spend the day on the river to escape the desert heat.

One of the best whitewater raft trips in Utah is along the Green River, running from Vernal's Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area to Dinosaur National Monument all the way to the Colorado River at Canyonlands National Park. Guests will see some of Utah's most remote and rugged terrain including plenty of red rock, slot canyons and incredible rock formations. There are several floatable sections of the Green River, providing options for single or multi-day adventures.

best whitewater raft trips

Washington & Oregon

Base out of Seattle or Leavenworth, Washington to experience some of the best whitewater rafting trips in the Pacific Northwest. A number of raft companies offer trips down the Skykomish River, the closest whitewater to Seattle, the Wenatchee and the Tieton, a dam-release flow that makes for a fun late fall adventure.

Head south to the Oregon/Washington border for an amazing run down the glacier-fed White Salmon River, just across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon. This Wild and Scenic River is rafted by several raft companies, based in Husum and BZ Corners, Washington.

Last but not least, head to Bend, Oregon for sweeping vistas of the Cascade volcanoes on one of the many whitewater raft trips on the Deschutes River. With iconic Northwest scenery, this trip is one of Oregon's best.

Any one of these whitewater raft trips will be the highlight of your vacation!

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