Arizona Whitewater Rafting Trips

When one thinks of whitewater rafting in Arizona, an image of the Colorado River rushing through the Grand Canyon has to come to mind. There is also the Verde River and The Salt River, which also offer unique whitewater experiences and are less populated with vacationing rafters.

Arizona is a wild water paradise, and there are enough great rapids in the state to keep you excited for a lifetime. But the story of whitewater boating in Arizona is ultimately the story of one river, the Colorado.

The Colorado River basin is enormous and com­plex (naturally so, even before-modern Americans began hacking it up into one of the most complicated and controversial water-delivery systems in the world), and virtually every other river in the region eventually will flow into the Colorado. In the whitewater world, the Colorado is "the big one," and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona is to wild water adventure what El Capitan in Yosemite is to rock climbing-the ultimate symbol and, even today, the ultimate experi­ence.

The image of Arizona whitewater is one of power and sweep-big-volume rapids where the surge of moving water even more than the configuration of canyon, boulders, and bank creates the boating chal­lenge. And, of course, this water is a dull brown, muddy and opaque, frothing rather than sparkling. That's generally true, but even the Colorado starts as a mountain stream, fed by other mountain streams which are not all big, not all muddy.

Rafting the full 225 miles of the Colorado River is perhaps the top adventure travel dream trip in America. A few other rivers in Arizona provide shorter, scenic trips.


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