Best Places to go Whitewater Rafting

Got a thirst for adventure? We have compiled a list of some of the best place around the world to go whitewater rafting. You will find them conveniently organized by region. If you think we have missed any please let us know in the comments section below.

Asia


1. Ganga River

Rishikesh, India
Ganga River rafting
Ganga River rafting

The river features some calm waters but is sure to be an adventurous race. It is one of the best places for whitewater rafting in Asia. Rafting while enjoying the beautiful scenes of India is an added bonus to rafter lovers the world over.

2. Chiang Mai

Thailand
Pink raft
Pink raft

Whitewater rafting is relatively new to Thailand but it has been a big hit already. Some of the already well-known river is the Chiang Mai and those that can be found North of Thailand. There are unique jungle homestay, trekking excursions, elephant treks and even full moon rafting. This is truly unique and can only be found in Thailand.

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3. Sun Koshi River

Nepal
Getting ready to raft Nepal’s Koshi
Getting ready to raft Nepal’s Koshi

Rising near the border with Tibet, among the world’s highest peaks, the Sun Koshi offers a trip of Himalayan majesty on its way to join the Ganges on the plains below. Class V rapids abound as it thunders through narrow gorges and forested canyons. The final stretch takes you through dense tropical jungle where monkeys chatter from the trees.

4. Telaga Waja River

Bali, Indonesia
Rafting on the Telaga Waja River
Rafting on the Telaga Waja River

Flowing below Mt. Agung, river trips on the Telaga Waja offer class II-III rapids. Expect to see both tropical and open valley environments on a short half-day trip.

5. Zanksar River

India
Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers
Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers

The Grand Canyon of the Himalayas is one of the most spectacular navigable gorges in the world. You’ll begin at 14,000 feet above sea level and pass through some of the world’s most dazzling geological formations.

6. Drigung Chu River

Tibet
Rafting Tibet
Rafting Tibet

The Drigung Chu is situated in an exquisite alpine valley about 2 hours from Lhasa. Continuous class III rapids are interspersed with incredible granite gorges and challenging class IV rapids. Include this on your way to Everest base camp.

7. Alas River

Indonesia
Whitewater rafting on the Alas River
Whitewater rafting on the Alas River

On the magical island of Sumatra, the lush Alas drops from the highlands and across 186 miles (299 kilometers) of Gunung Leuser National Park. Monkeys, lemurs, and orangutans are on hand to watch you attempt the class III-IV rapids.

8. Sungai Selangor

Malaysia
Whitewater rafting on the Sungai Selangor
Whitewater rafting on the Sungai Selangor

Selangor River is the most popular river for recreational whitewater rafting since the 90s. Located about 1-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, this location continues to provide outdoor enthusiasts an extreme wild whitewater ride until present day. The river is highly dependent on the water release from Selangor Dam and the rapids range from class II-IV.

Europe


9. Rhine River

Switzerland
Rhine river rafting
Rhine river rafting

Whitewater rafting in this river’s light aqua blue water that contrasts nicely against the thick evergreen trees will undoubtedly be one of the greatest rafting adventure one will ever have. The extra advantage of whitewater rafting in Switzerland is the beautiful Swiss Alps.

10. Çoruh River

Turkey
Flying down the Çoruh river
Flying down the Çoruh river

Located in north-east Turkey, the river is recognized as one of the top ten white water rivers in the world. Being one of those rivers with high volume rapids, this river is not for the faint of heart.

11. Noce River

Italy
Paddling down the Noce river
Paddling down the Noce river

The only European river that National Geographic have included in their top 10 rivers for white water rafting. It has gigantic waves that will make the ride more exciting, thrilling and exhilarating for those who have tried rafting in this river.

12. Cetina River

Croatia
It looks rather relaxing
It looks rather relaxing

Rivers like the Cetina are graded one through to six for their level of difficulty. With a grade one being classified a fast moving river with small rapids and few obstructions to the death-defying grade six rivers which are tsunami’s being forced through giant boulders. Let’s just say a grade 6 is for an expert with many years experiences. Fortunately, the Cetina is a grade 2-3 depending on the state of the river and is safe for a novice.

13. Katun River

Siberia
Rafting on the Katun
Rafting on the Katun

The Atai mountain range in Russia’s Siberia region is home to the class III-IV rapids of the Katun River. The run is lined with rolling pools and drops stops get you up close and personal with the people and cultures of Siberia.

14. Sjoa River

Norway
Sjoa Rafting
Sjoa Rafting

The Sjoa is by far one of Scandinavia’s best rivers. With class II-V rapids, canyons, chutes, and access to numerous other adventure activities are among the highlights. Camp on a beach in the Norwegian wilderness as you plot your route down this incredible river.

15. Lutschine River

Switzerland
Rafting on the Lütschine River
Rafting on the Lütschine River

The Lütschine river offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the Swiss Alps. Starting below the Eiger North Face, you will face class III-IV rapids surging down from the mountains and out into the Interlaken valley and the Lake of Brienz. It is an exhilarating rush from start to finish.

North America


16. Magpie River

Canada
Magpie River best rafting in Quebec
Magpie River best rafting in Quebec

This park is located 375 miles northeast of Montreal. It is one of the greatest whitewater rafting destinations in the world due to its dramatic scenery, unspoiled wilderness, exceptional fishing, spectacular camps and numerous class 3 and 4 rapids. There are a lot of things to do including rafting, inflatable kayaking and hiking with many sights and wildlife for your eyes to feast on in the place. The best part in this park is that you can drink directly from its water.

17. Middle Fork, Salmon River

Idaho, United States
Running Left at Velvet Falls
Running Left at Velvet Falls

A 104-mile long river in Central Idaho in the northwestern United States, Middle Fork lies in the middle of the Frank Church River. The river offers a variety of activities that families can enjoy not only rafting but kayaking and hiking as well. Camping, fishing, and picnics are also other great activities to be enjoyed. The great thing about this place is that boasts of hot springs for that relaxing soak. Caves with Indian pictographs can also be seen here.

18. Colorado River

Grand Canyon, United States
Boating down the Colorado River
Boating down the Colorado River

The Grand Canyon is one of the most incredible geological wonderlands on earth. While the canyon is mostly known for its grandeur, many didn’t even know that it is a great place for whitewater rafting. Combining whitewater rafting with hikes for exploring the canyon, it offers opportunities to discover waterfalls and other hidden delights.

19. Tatshenshini-Alsek Park

Canada
Raft in the mist
Raft in the mist

The park is located in the extreme northwestern corner of British Columbia continuing on to the neighboring parks in the Yukon and Alaska. It is an open park year-round with no formal methods of registration although a permit is needed. Access to the park depends on weather and snow conditions. It has different class range ranging from Class I to VI. Among the main attractions of this park are the glaciers, icebergs, mountains and wilderness on the borders of Alaska and Canada. The park is pretty remote so this should be taken into consideration when preparing for a trip and of course, with regards to safety.

20. Green River

Utah, United States
Green River Raft Launch Near Flaming Gorge Dam
Green River Raft Launch Near Flaming Gorge Dam

Whitewater rafting and hiking is just a few of the adventures one gets to enjoyed in this river. A perfect place to spend as a family while having the utmost fun of the river’s most exciting and famous rapids like Upper and Lower Disaster Falls.

21. Nenana River

Alaska, United States
We were the best rafters
We were the best rafters

The river’s rapids range from beginners to class IV ratings means that even kids as young as 11 years old can enjoy the experience. There are sections wherein the guests join in the paddling and then some sections where guests get to sit back and enjoy the scenery the place has to offer.

22. Chattooga River

South Carolina, United States
Chattooga River Section III
Chattooga River Section III

Dubbed as the Southeast’s premier whitewater rafting adventure, it delivers breathtaking scenery and treasured whitewater in a wilderness setting. This and a lot more makes it one of the most popular river trips in the country with something for everyone.

23. Flathead River

Montana, United States
South Fork Flathead River
South Fork Flathead River

A hidden gem of Montana with an awesome scenic landscape, excellent fishing, and excellent wildlife viewing. The river rafting ranges from peaceful float trips to Class III whitewater adventures making it ideal for those who just wants to enjoy an idyllic rafting experience.

24. Deerfield River

Massachusetts, United States
Crabapple Whitewater
Crabapple Whitewater

Another river that is widely popular as well as beautiful, Deerfield River is a Connecticut River tributary. Here guests can enjoy whitewater rafting, boating, fishing, and swimming with sections varying from mellow to class IV thrillers.

25. Tuolumne River

California, United States
Vlad’s boat entering Evangelist
Vlad’s boat entering Evangelist

It is said to be one of California’s finest whitewater rivers. Many who have enjoyed their rafting adventure here comes back year after year. It is also a popular hiking and backpacking destination.

South & Central America


26. Rio Upano

Ecuador
Rio Upano
Rio Upano

A river in Ecuador, the Upano River runs from the sierra to the depths of the Amazon. Although the river is mainly used locally for fishing, rafting and kayaking is also offered out of Macas. A river known for its fossils, sandy beaches, and many hot springs, we should not forget to include its spectacular whitewater, incredible scenery, amazing hiking trails and beautiful riverside camps. With the country’s rich cultural history, this is one trip that most will surely enjoy.

27. Futaleufú River

Chile
Turquoise water and beautiful scenery
Turquoise water and beautiful scenery

Rafting in this river is sure to be an amazing experience. Amongst the many adventures, you will get to experience here are rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, and camping. Visitors can also rent one of the numerous cabins in the area with really friendly and accommodating cabin owners and guides. The river is magical with its literal translation of “painted by gods” which is to say it mildly, aptly named.

28. Rio Pacuare

Costa Rica
Oars up
Oars up

It is easily Costa Rica’s premier whitewater rafting river. The National Geographic even called it one of the world’s top 10 river trips in the world because of its stunning scenery. As with most tropical country, the country has numerous rainfalls but it will not even dampen the experience for you. Expect to see a lot of beautiful rain and tropical forest with towering waterfalls and of course, diverse wildlife.

29. Apurimac River

Peru
Under water
Under water

On Peru’s Apurímac River, you can raft beneath steep canyon walls until you reach pastoral valleys and a tropical rainforest. Expect lots of Class III and IV rapids, and an occasional Class V. These trips usually last about 4 days. If you can escape for 12 days, raft on the Tambopata River, which runs through the Tambopata-Candamo National Park.

30. Mendoza River

Argentina
Muddy waters
Muddy waters

Some of the best class IV-V rapids in Argentine can be found on the Mendoza River as it snakes its way from the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. The best part – at the end of your paddle you can sit back and enjoy the world-famous wine from this region.

Africa


31. Zambezi River

Zimbabwe
Hold on tight
Hold on tight

The Zambezi River means the “Great River” in the local Tonga dialect. Most of the exciting activities in the river are done in the Victoria Falls. Activities range from kayaking, canoe trips, river cruises and daily floats on both the Zimbabwe and Zambian sides. While whitewater rafting takes place through gorges of basalt rock below the falls.

32. White Nile River

Uganda
Takeoff in Uganda
Takeoff in Uganda

This river flows from vast Lake Victoria and has both wild and mild stretches. Float past untouched woodlands or rock and roll in rapids reaching Class V. Here, you’ll find some of the most outstanding technical rafting through sustained rapids in the world. Don’t be surprised if you flip, race over waterfalls, or high-side on huge rocks. You’ll lunch at islands in the middle of the river, and camp where there’s African music and dancing. A trip down this part of the Nile should only be part of a trip to Uganda.

33. Mangoky River

Madagascar
Rafting with baobabs
Rafting with baobabs

If you are looking for a calm, multi-day rafting ride with only minimal whitewater this is the trip for you. On this journey you will pass baobab trees, colonies of lemurs, remote villages, and other wild scenery. Truly a trip you will not forget.

34. Orange River

South Africa
Orange river rafting
Orange river rafting

Not too far from Johannesburg, the Orange river is the most popular river in South Africa. Catering to all levels of ability from beginner runs, such as the section above the Augrabies Falls, to expert runs, like those near the Gorge.

35. Ahansal River

Morocco
Rafting Morocco
Rafting Morocco

The Cascade D’Ouzoud, a phenomenal waterfall near Marrakech, is the starting point for these fantastic light to intermediate rapids. The High Atlas run passes gorges, around bends, and beside isolated Berber villages.

Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific


36. North Queensland

Australia
Tully River
Tully River

There are several options for whitewater rafting in tropical north Queensland. The most famous rapids are on the North Johnston River in the World Heritage rainforests of Palmerston National Park. Rafting usually begin into the heart of the rainforest and is a 4 to 6 day journey. The Tully and Baron rivers are much more accessible and provide a nice day trip from Cairns.

37. Franklin River

Australia
Franklin River, Tasmania
Franklin River, Tasmania

Tasmania’s Franklin River is a must for experienced rafters and can take up to ten days for those willing to take on the entire 77 miles (124 kilometers). Don’t worry, it’s worth the effort as you take in Tasmania’s most beautiful World Heritage areas.

38. Upper Navau River

Fiji
lunch break
Lunch break

In the Fijian highlands of Viti Levu you will find a truly remote whitewater run. Thes Upper Navau River is an intermediate grade rapid. Expect to be wowed as you take on lush, fern-shrouded waterfalls as you make your way through a pristine tropical rainforest.

39. The Shotover River

New Zealand
Shotover river
Shotover river

The Shotover river is the epicenter of the world’s action sports. Here you will find bungee jumping, jetboating, skiing and of course whitewater rafting. The giant canyon walls will make you realize just how insignificant you are on this planet while you navigate some of the sweetest rapids in New Zealand.

40. Rotorua

New Zealand
Rafting the Kaituna
Rafting the Kaituna

Rafting on the Kaituna River in Rotorua is truly an amazing experience. Steeped in Maori history the gorge of the Kaituna is also home to the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world – Tutea Falls. Warm water, outstanding scenery, heart-pumping rapids and world class guides, it doesn’t get any better than this.

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2 thoughts on “Best Places to go Whitewater Rafting

  1. I’ve been whitewater rafting twice with Rafting in the Smokies (www.raftinginthesmokies.com) on the Pigeon River. I am glad the river actually has two sections of difficulty. The Lower Pigeon allows me to take my young daughter. I can’t wait until we can try harder rapids on the Upper. Since we’ve gone so many times, by the time she is old enough, she’ll be ready for it!

  2. Amazing article about white water river rafting around the world. In Bali we have Ayung river and Telaga Waja river to do white water rafting and it is so fun.