The rivers of North America are a source of life and center of civilization, where wildlife flourished and Native Americans explored.
Coursing throughout the nation, these waterways are a means of expedition and irrigation.
Over the centuries, they’ve also provided a setting for aquatic play. Push off from the shores of America and paddle through tranquil eddies or dive into roaring rapids, witnessing surreal natural landscapes from the water.
These are adventures and vistas no train or road trip can provide.
Below are a some of the super river adventures, as follows:
The Colorado River is famed for carving the steep vermilion walls of the Grand Canyon and the dramatic deserts-capes along the 1,450 miles of river are a favorite setting among nature photographers. Spanning seven states and 11 national parks, the Colorado River flows from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and empties into Mexico’s Gulf of California. Experience the 277-mile stretch of the Colorado River in solitude on a multi-day rafting journey, paddling past rugged mesas and deep canyons and plunging through world-class rapids before camping beneath the desert’s Night Sky.
Formed on the slopes of Mount Wai’ale’ale on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, the Hanalei River flows 16 miles north into crescent-shaped Hanalei Bay and discharges into the Pacific Ocean. Lined with swaying palm trees and vibrant hibiscus shrubs, the river meanders past Hanalei town, a popular destination for stand-up paddle board rentals. As a temperate waterway year-round, visitors can paddle through the Hanalei’s winding lower mile on any visit and glide gently past taro fields and stunning landscapes of silvery waterfalls backed by lush mountains.
The soaring pink and cream pinnacles and rich collection of slot canyons at Zion National Park owe thanks to the gently-flowing Virgin River that carved some of southern Utah’s most dramatic natural features. The Virgin River forms 1 of Zion’s most popular hikes, the Narrows a backcountry journey through 1,000-ft tall canyon walls in the narrowest portion of the Zion Canyon at 20 ft wide. Wade upstream in the Virgin River from the Temple of Sinawava and trek as far as Big Spring 10 miles north. Intrepid canyoneers can also conquer the 12-hr hike downstream in the Virgin River’s North Fork and cover the demanding 16 miles over 2 days before ending the journey at the Temple of Sinawava.
Originating in Wyoming, the 1,078-mile Snake River meanders through Jackson Hole and flows beneath the snow-dusted peaks of the Grand Tetons. The river continues into Idaho, Oregon, and Washington where it joins the Columbia River and empties into the Pacific Ocean. For a rustic western experience, row a drift boat on the Snake River from Jackson Hole to the placid waters of Grand Teton National Park. As a source of life for wildlife, the park allows you to witness elk, bison, and mule along the banks of the river while contemplating the grandeur of the surrounding pristine mountains.
Taking form in the Rocky Mountains of southeast British Columbia, the 1,243-mile Columbia River carves its way through Washington and Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The deep blue hues of this waterway are best witnessed from the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, a landscape carpeted in tumbling waterfalls and colorful wildflower fields, and boasts pristine conditions for kite-boarding and windsurfing. For adrenaline junkies seeking a white-knuckle experience, raft the Columbia River Gorge, spinning over rapids and plunging over Husum Falls, a daring 12-ft dive into frigid waters.
Enjoy your travels
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