By Geoffrey Johnson
The American west is home to some of the most extreme landscapes in the world. Harsh barren deserts can turn into giant mountains covered in forest. One thing these landscapes have in common is much of their terrain has been carved by rivers making their way to a distant ocean. Some of the rivers can be rafted and give you majestic views that cannot be matched. There is no way to declare one river to be more beautiful than another, so here is a list of 4 (of many) of the most beautiful rivers you can raft in the American West.
4.) Rogue River (Oregon)
The Rogue River flows west for 215 miles through southern Oregon. This river has many different sections that can be paddled, including 2 sections that are over 30 miles long. This river starts in the beautiful Cascade Mountains. Riders of this river will ride through breathtaking temperate coniferous forests of lush green contrasting against the bright blue of the water and the sky. A trip down this river will show you the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
3.) Middle Fork of the Salmon River (Idaho)
Before merging with the Salmon River, the Middle Fork covers 104 miles through Idaho. Those lucky enough to get a permit for this trip will be surrounded by amazing blue water, lush green vegetation on shore, with giant mountains in the distance. The middle Fork also has many well know rapids that range from class III to class V, putting it on the tops of many rafter’s bucket list.
2.) The Arkansas River (Colorado)
In the state of Colorado, the Arkansas River‘s starting point before its long journey to the Mississippi River, there are many amazing sections of white water to raft, but one section, Browns Canyon, is known for its amazing high desert scenery. Designated as a National Monument by president Obama, Browns Canyon is filled with incredible rock outcroppings and amazing wildlife. This section of the Arkansas is so beautiful with such fun rapids that it is the most popular rafting destination in the country!
1.) The Colorado River (Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California)
The Colorado river runs for over 1,400 miles through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and along California. All along this river there is amazing areas for whitewater rafting, but one section is every paddler’s dream and that, of course, is the Grand Canyon. Paddlers put their name in a lottery, and with luck they get a chance to raft through the Grand Canyon. There is no other rafting trip that is equal in any way. Those with the opportunity get to ride down the mighty Colorado River get a chance to look up giant wall of rock that had been carved for millions by the river you are on to create a canyon over a mile deep. The beauty of the Grand Canyon will inspire awe and wonderment that cannot be matched.