The Most Extreme Whitewater Rafting in the US

By Molly   •   September 12, 2016

The United States is filled with fun, exciting and tough whitewater adventures! The question is: what are the top 5 toughest adventures out there? In our opinion, the following  whitewater rafting adventures make the mark for the toughest in the US.



Gore Canyon, Upper Colorado River, Colorado


This section of whitewater rafting starts with 4 miles of flat water through a dark deep rock canyon which is the calm before the storm. The next 5 miles contain 10 rapids including 6 class IV and 2 class V. This river gorge is extreme in nature and it is recommended that participants can easily run a mile and swim 10 laps in a pool before participating in this commercially guided adventure!


Upper Animas, Animas River, Colorado


whitewater rafting


The Upper Animas drops at 85 feet per mile out of Silverton, Colorado at 9,308’ in elevation surrounded by incredible 14000 ft peaks. With 3 sections of class IV and V whitewater rafting, this river not only challenges your river skills but also endurance. The completely free flowing nature of the river leaves the rafters in the hands of frigid and unpredictable snowmelt! The Upper Animas River canyon has very limited access where your only two options in are hiking or by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.


Loscha River, Idaho

The Loscha River, who’s name literally translates to “rough water,” is famous for having 30 rapids in 30 miles! As an undammed river the unpredictability adds to the excitement and adventure of the cold snowmelt river. At high water there is little respite between rapids often creating a continuous trail of whitewater that leaves your arms burning and heart racing. The exhaustive nature of this river can become dangerous to those unprepared or involuntarily swimming!


Cherry Creek & Upper Tuolumne River, California


The Cherry Creek section of the Tuolumne River contains 15 technical class V rapids in under 9 miles! Narrow and steep, this river is scattered with big boulders and technical moves through a tight canyon. Cherry Creek is not an adventure for the out of shape or the weak at heart! This whitewater rafting adventure is just 30 minutes from Yosemite National Park.


Upper Gauley, Gauley River, West Virginia:


whitewater rafting


The Upper Gauley is one of the most popular Class V sections of river being commercially rafted in the US and has acquired the nickname of “the Beast of the East.” With it being a dam-released river, you can be sure that the day you pick to go has great flows and fun water! This section of river has many notoriously dangerous moves and rapids, but the guides who run it every day have found and perfected their favorite lines.




The above listed whitewater adventures are an absolute blast and can be a wonderful fun vacation for you and your friends or family! But it is important to remember that rivers are unpredictable and can be dangerous, these sections of river are not recommended for folks who have no rafting experience or do not meet the physical requirements asked for by the respective companies. Go out, raft hard, and have fun! Check out our Upper Animas adventures here!

Get New Blog Posts in your Inbox