The Best Rafting Rivers for Tubing & Duckies

Gorp.com
Rafting the Hiwasee River, Tennessee
ONE SMOOTH DRINK: Tennessee's Hiwasee River, best enjoyed in an inner tube  (courtesy, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development)

Certain rivers are inexorably linked to the ferocity of their whitewater—let's just call it the ""my-Class-V-is-bigger-than-yours"" complex. However, a river can also mellow out depending on the time of year, with water levels that were bolstered by heavy spring snowmelt dropping to an easier summer flow. Unlike bigger, more cumbersome rafts, duckies—small, inflatable kayaks—allow you to navigate normally fierce rivers like the Middle Fork of the American or Nantahala with greater independence. They also give you a better taste of the contours of the river. Go one step further on certain rivers by plopping yourself in an inner tube with a floating cooler in tow; crack open a cool one, lie back, and enjoy the sun as you let the river do all the work. Medical disclaimer: this approach is not recommended for hyperactive over-achievers.

American River, California
Cache la Poudre River, Colorado
Chattooga River, Georgia/South Carolina
Clark Fork River (Alberton Gorge), Montana
Clearwater River, Idaho
Dead River, Maine
French Broad River, North Carolina
Hiwassee River, Tennessee
Kennebec River, Maine
Methow River, Washington
Nantahala River, North Carolina
New River, West Virginia
Nolichucky River, Tennessee/North Carolina
San Juan River, Utah/Colorado
Shenandoah River (South Fork), Virginia

Published: 10 Jun 2011 | Last Updated: 11 Oct 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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