Whitewater Rafting

This is Andrey Feuerverger's web page intended as a service for whitewater rafting enthusiasts. Please E-mail me if you have information that may help to improve this site.

About Commercial Whitewater Rafting
My Favourite Whitewater Rafting Web-Sites
Some Books on Whitewater Rafting
The Top Ten Whitewater Rafting Rivers in the World
The Top Ten Whitewater Rafting Rivers in the U.S.A.
The Top Ten Whitewater Rafting Rivers in Canada
Rating System for Whitewater
Four photos (Yours truly is the one in the red helmet)
VIDEO (Yours truly is the one wearing a red helmet)
VIDEO (Fantastic footage of the Upper Tuolumne / Cherry Creek)

About Commercial Whitewater Rafting

I recommend rafting via commercial outfitters. Although some purists may disagree, there are significant advantages to this. For one thing, owning bulky equipment and vehicles to transport them (both when wet and dry) over long distances and riverside terrain, is not practical for everyone. Furthermore, many great rivers around the world have skilled commercial outfitters who operate on them, putting together safe raft trips and also providing all required equipment (not to mention guides with local knowledge trained in whitewater rescue) at reasonable prices. In fact, the best whitewater rivers are often impractical and unsafe to run any other way.

My Favourite Whitewater Rafting Web-Sites

For obvious geographical reasons, the world wide web is an ideal vehicle for disseminating whitewater rafting information, and most commercial rafting companies maintain easily found websites. (The caliber of the website, however, does not always reflect the quality of the outfitter.) Some sites related to whitewater rafting that I like:

http://www.americanwhitewater.org Website of the American Whitewater Association, dedicated to preserving whitewater resources and river access in the U.S. Publishes `American Whitewater' magazine which often contains articles, ads, and other info of interest.

http://www.nationalrivers.org or http://www.nors.org Website of the National Organization for Rivers which campaigns for public river access rights in the U.S. Publishes `Currents' Magazine.

http://www.water.usgs.gov The water resources website of the Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey. Provides real-time flow rates data for U.S. rivers and other useful information.

http://www.whitewater.org A resource page for whitewater rafting in British Columbia.

http://www.friendsoftheriver.org An organization dedicated to the conservation of California's rivers.

http://www.wvrivers.org Website of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition dedicated to river conservaton and restoration.

http://www.american-rivers.com Contains some useful info about rafting in California.

http://creekin.net An outstanding site with a comprehensive listing of California's whitewater runs, ranked by class, along with excellent descriptions.

http://www.wvexplorer.com [Follow the link to `whitewater rafting'.] Provides some coverage for rafting in West Virginia.

http://www.whitewatervoyages.com This commercial outfitter provides a good glossary of whitewater terms, and other interesting material. [Follow the link to `whitewater reference'.]

http://www.c-w-r.com A commercial site with useful information and links for California whitewater rafting.

http://www.dreamflows.com A highly useful commercial site with real-time information on river flows.

http://www.gorp.com A commercial site which has some useful info. Follow link to `Activities' and then `Paddling'.

http://www.whitewateradventures.com This cite, also known as Gordon's Guide, has a useful collection of international whitewater outfitters, etc.

http://www.coloradowhitewater.org Website of the Colorado Whitewater Association which promotes whitewater sports in the Rocky Mountain Region.

http://www.paddlermagazine.com Paddler Magazine's editor, Eugene Buchanan, is knowledgeable and widely quoted.

http://www.e-raft.com One of the better commercial sites with some useful information.

A Few Whitewater Rafting References

Addison, G. (2001). Whitewater Rafting. Stackpole.
Armstead, L.D. (1997). Whitewater Rafting in North America. Globe Pequot.
Bechdel, L and Ray, S. (1997). River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety. Appalachian Mountain Club Books, Boston.
Bennet, J. (1996). The Complete Whitewater Rafter. McGraw-Hill.
Bernasconi, M. and Tenucci, M. (1998). Extreme Rafting. Universe.
Blaine, M. (2001). Whitewater: The Thrill and Skill of Running the World's Great Rivers. Black Dog & Leventhal.
Cassady, J. and Calhoun, F. (1995). California Whitewater: A Guide to the Rivers. North Fork Press.
Cassady, J. and Dunlap, D. (1999). World Whitewater. Ragged Mountain Press.
Davison, P. et al. (1985). Wildwater West Virginia. Menasha Ridge press. Bermingham, Alabama.
Harrington, R. River Rafting in Canada. Out of print.
Holbek, L. and Stanley, C. (1998). Guide to the Best Whitewater in the State of California. Friends of the River Press.
Kuhne, C. (1980) Advanced River Rafting. Anderson World Place.
Martin, C. (1974). Sierra Whitewater -- A Paddler's Guide to the Rivers of California's Sierra Nevada. Martin Press. Out of Print.
Paddler Magazine. Published by Paddlesport Publishing. 6 Issues per year.
Walbridge, C. and Sundmacher, W. (1995). Whitewater Rescue Manual. Ragged Mountain Press, Camden Maine.

The Top Ten Whitewater Rafting Rivers in the World
(These three lists are currently being compiled from a variety of sources. Assistance from objective enthusiasts to improve them is welcomed.)

Zambezi River, Zimbabwe: The section below Victoria Falls (Batoka Gorge) is considered to be the premier stretch of `big' class IV warm (and quite safe) whitewater in the world and can be done as one day trip. (Unfortunately, this region is currently not safe to visit.) If in the area, why not check out the class V White Nile River in Uganda which, unfortunately, is seriously threatened by the proposed Bujagali Dam.

Upper Tuolumne River, California. Known as Cherry Creek, most outfitters on this class V+ run require you to pass a physical prior to embarking on this run.

Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica. 32 miles of emerald green class III-V. Best June - January. Considered quite safe.

Great Bend of the Yangtze River, China. Class IV-V. Feb - March, Aug - Oct.

Rio Futaleufu, Chile. The upper 18 mile section is class V+ while the lower 22 mile section is class III-IV. Warm water with a stretch of very high standing waves (10-15 feet). Nov/Dec - Mar/Apr. While there, check out the Bio Bio; its 35 mile stretch of class IV-V whitewater is currently under threat of hydroelectric development. Also the Piralta/Guayabo section of the Reventazon which has over 30 class IV-V rapids.

Sun Koshi River, Nepal. 170 miles of class III-IV, warm, big `pool and drop' water. In the Himalayas, accessed via Kathmandu. Best October - December and March - May, but avoid monsoons. While in Nepal -- why not check out the Karnali, Gandaki, Marshyngdi, Kaligandaki and Bhotekoshi, or the much easier Seti and Trisuli Rivers. Unfortunately, Nepal is very expensive.

Coruh, Turkey. 170 miles of class III-IV, with two class V gorges. Best April - July.

Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho. Class III-IV.

Karamea, New Zealand. Class V. In the Kahurangi National Park. October-April. While there, check out the class V Kaituna, all year.

North Johnstone, Australia. Near Cairns. 50 miles of class IV-V.

Rio Apurimac, Peru. Class III-V. May-November.

The Top Ten Whitewater Rafting Rivers in the U.S.A.

Upper Tuolumne River, California. Known as Cherry Creek, most outfitters on this class V+ run require you to pass a physical prior to embarking on this run.

Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho. Class III+, higher at peak flows. Warm water. June - September.

Forks of the Kern River, California. From the Little Kern confluence to the Johnsondale Bridge, 17 miles of Class V. April to July; other parts of the Kern can be run as late as September.

Upper Colorado River, Colorado. The Gore Canyon section is class V. Many other good rivers nearby.

Gauley River, West Virginia. The 16 mile upper section of the Gauley from the Summersville Dam to Peters Creek is Class IV-V. Dam releases of about 2800+ cfs make for good rafting in September and October, but try to avoid the `Gauley Fest' and `Bridge Day' madness. Other good rivers are nearby (see Davidson et al.)

Colorado River, Grand Canyon. 280 miles; class II-IV. Requires at least one week, and reservations about one year in advance.

South Fork American, California. Class III-IV. Can be run any time of year due to dam releases. Crowded.

Upper Animas River, Colorado. From Silverton to the Tacoma Powerhouse, 25 miles of intense class V+. Cold water, high altitude.

Upper Youghiogheny, Maryland, Class 5-.

Ocoee, Tennessee. A short class III+ dam-release run. A warmer and easier version of the Gauley. Crowded.

Hudson River. Adirondacks. Best during spring, fall and dam releases.

The Top Ten Whitewater Rafting Rivers in Canada.

Fraser River, British Columbia. The Upper Fraser from Moose Lake to Robson confluence (11 miles) is class IV+ and from there to Jaune Cache (10 miles) is class III-. Boston Bar to Yale is Class IV+. Very large volume, with some dangerous runs. May - September.

Magpie River, Quebec. 40 miles. Class V. Remote -- requires air-access and an airlift portage. Blackflies and mosquitos in early season.

Stikine River, British Columbia. The 400 miles long Stikine drops 4500 feet, reaching the Pacific at Alaska. The 60 miles long Canadian `Grand Canyon' section is class V-VI and very dangerous in high flows. There is good whitewater above and below this section.

Elaho and Squamish Rivers, B.C. The last 7 miles of the Elaho is class V and class III+ and the first 7 miles of the Squamish are III+. Approximately June - September.

Toby Creek, British Columbia. Involves steep, risky portages, and the dangerous Seven Canyons class V+ run, once entered, allows no way out.

Batiscan River, Quebec, large volume, class III/IV, April-August; Rouge River, Quebec, large volume, Class III+, April-October; Ottawa River, Ontario -- two channels south of Foresters Falls.

Chilko River, British Columbia. The 17 mile segment from the top of Lava Canyon through Big John Canyon to the Taseko confluence is continuous class III-V, with large standing waves and huge holes caused by submerged boulders. Some dangerous segments. May be the longest stretch of navigable whitewater on the continent. The segments 23 miles above and 12 miles below are easier. June - September. The Chilcotin nearby is Class III-IV, April - September.

Alsek/Tatshenshini, Alaska/BC. 180 + 130 pristine miles, class III, cold water. The Alsec has a more difficult 4 mile section. June to mid-September.

Clearwater River, British Columbia, Class 4, large volume. Around May - September.

Cheakamus River, British Columbia, Class IV/V