With ris­ing tem­per­a­tures comes melt­ing snow­pack and for some, that means big water and rush­ing moun­tain streams. Check out these sev­en des­ti­na­tions for wild spring whitewater.

Salmon River, Idaho










The Mid­dle Fork of the Salmon Riv­er, Idaho

The leg­endary Mid­dle Fork of the Salmon Riv­er drops 3,000 feet over 105 miles through the wild Riv­er of No Return Wilder­ness. The free-flow­ing Mid­dle Fork cours­es through spec­tac­u­lar scenery and rugged land­scape free from roads or human con­struc­tion. This riv­er is pro­tect­ed as one of the first Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Unit­ed States.

The Ani­mas Riv­er, Colorado

The Ani­mas Riv­er near Duran­go pro­vides ample oppor­tu­ni­ties for fam­i­lies and expe­ri­enced adven­ture seek­ers alike. The low­er Ani­mas Riv­er offers some mod­est spring­time thrills as the melt­ing snow­pack fills the rapids with rush­ing water. Want to up the anti? Head with an out­fit­ter to the Upper Ani­mas, where seri­ous class IV and V rapids test expe­ri­enced thrill seek­ers to the lim­it. Check out the 28-mile Ani­mas Gorge, which will get your pulse racing.

Gauley Riv­er, West Virginia

The sec­tion of white­wa­ter below the Som­merville Dam swells in the spring and sum­mer with reg­u­lar dis­charges from the reser­voir. Along this most famous East­ern set of rapids, the Gauley drops 668 feet over 27 miles cre­at­ing more than 100 rapids, 53 of which are rat­ed class III or above.











Rogue Riv­er, Oregon

The Rogue Riv­er is divid­ed into two gen­er­al areas, the 34-mile Wild and Scenic stretch from Grave Creek to Fos­ter Bar. To pro­tect this sec­tion of con­sis­tent class III rapids, a max­i­mum of 120 users per day are allowed to run this sec­tion. A hik­ing trail along the riv­er offers access to hid­den swim­ming pools and side creeks among the lush Ore­gon forest.

Col­orado Riv­er, Utah and Arizona

Quite pos­si­bly the crown jew­el of North Amer­i­can white­wa­ter raft­ing adven­tures, the Col­orado Riv­er through the Grand Canyon is a fix­ture on the buck­et list of many adven­tur­ous souls.

There are a lot of options for a Grand Canyon raft trip and they all require per­mit­ting from the Nation­al Park Ser­vice. For a quick sight­see­ing tour, one-day com­mer­cial trips are avail­able reg­u­lar­ly on smooth water. Two to five day non­com­mer­cial (pri­vate) trips that launch from Dia­mond Creek are avail­able on a first come first serve basis.

Longer trips from Lee’s Fer­ry to Dia­mond Creek are per­mit­ted for three to 18 days for com­mer­cial­ly guid­ed adven­tures. For pri­vate trips from 12 to 25 days, hope­ful rafters must enter a lot­tery, which is weight­ed to give advan­tage to those who have wait­ed years for this once-in-a-lifetime.

Snake Riv­er, Oregon

The Snake Riv­er winds through Hells Canyon, the deep­est riv­er gorge in North Amer­i­ca at 7,993 feet. The riv­er winds through a scenic, 10-mile wide canyon and trips are high­light­ed with vis­its to Native Amer­i­can pet­ro­glyphs and beau­ti­ful hikes through the wild land­scape. Just three roads reach the riv­er in Hells Canyon and none cross it. Enjoy the wilder­ness of the Sev­en Dev­ils Moun­tain Range if you dare.

Green Riv­er, Utah

Want to check out a riv­er and some amaz­ing canyon lands such as Arch­es Nation­al Park in a sin­gle trip? Head to Utah and float the Green Riv­er, which runs from Flam­ing Gorge Nation­al Recre­ation Area to Dinosaur Nation­al Mon­u­ment. From there it cross­es the rugged south­west land­scape before meet­ing up with the Col­orado Riv­er at Canyon­lands Nation­al Park. Many sec­tions of the riv­er of vary­ing dif­fi­cul­ty and length to pro­vide a wide range of options for vis­i­tors look­ing for water-based adventure.

Green River, Utah