Rubber Rafts and Rapids

The snowpack continues to recede with the summer melt.  It’s okay though, it will be back next year and there is a positive. In this case, it means the rivers begin to rise and whitewater rafting season begins!

A quick history lesson…this activity started as a way to explore unknown rivers and the areas that surround them. The first rafting trip happened in 1811 on the Snake River through Wyoming and Idaho. The equipment at the time made it too difficult to navigate the entire river. In 1840 the Rubber Raft was invented by Lt. John Fremont and Horace H. Day. With this new invention on June 9th, 1840 a successful scientific exploration of the Snake River was led by Clyde Smith.

Nowadays, it’s not about exploration. It’s all about fun. Rafting has become another fun way to experience the mountains. All adventure seekers must give this a try! All adventure seekers must give this a try! Below are some popular rafting destinations in the U.S.

Snake River – Idaho

Class III & Class IV

Image Taken by Hans Dieter Vesely

Image Taken by Hans Dieter Vesely

Nothing compares to rafting Hells Canyon in Idaho. This is the home of the mighty Snake River and the deepest gorge in North America. The river marks the border between Idaho and Oregon. The canyon plunges to depths of nearly 8,000 feet between the Seven Devils range to the east and Oregon’s rim country to the west. Through this tremendous gorge, the Snake River’s warm, clear waters yield some of the best big waves and whitewater rapids in the Northwest. There are also great fishing opportunities in calmer sections. The Snake River serves up one of the best river experiences in the country!

Weber River – Utah

Class I & Class II Rapids

Devil's Slide - Photo Taken by Photographer Karen J. Rasmussen, North Ogden, Utah

Devil’s Slide – Photo Taken by Photographer Karen J. Rasmussen, North Ogden, Utah

The Weber River, which is located in the same mountain range as the Sundance Ski Resort, is full of historical structures showing off locomotive history. In addition, you get to see many famous canyons in Northern Utah. Some of which have ended up on postcard. Highlights of this river includes a snug pass beneath the Croydon Bridge, Devil’s Slide, an unusual geologic rock formation consisting of two parallel bands of limestone running down a steep mountainside, and Slalom Rapid, which passes a series of concrete pillars supporting the freeway above.

Deschutes Rives – Oregon

Class III Rapids

One of the most popular river rafting journeys in North America is the Deschutes River. Named by French fur traders for their rapid, these are a sure bet to be a blast! Known for its consistent water flows, sunshine, and amazing scenery it’s perfect for anyone looking for some adventure.

Dowd Chute – Colorado

Class IV Rapids

Photo Credit as Christian Kallen/

Photo Credit as Christian Kallen/

Besides having amazing dry snow Colorado is also home to some great whitewater rafting as well. The Dowd Chute located on the Eagle River is a perfect option that doesn’t require a full day, but offers some intense action. The water levels are not dam controlled and fluctuate according to weather conditions and spring runoff levels. For this reason, it is critical to go with a guide. The best part though is that it is only minutes from Vail meaning you get to sample a little bit of the town as well.

This is just a taste, a glimpse into the sport of white water rafting and just one more way to enjoy the mountains. If you are looking for a new activity with an adrenaline fix, give this a go!

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