When picturing Arizona, vast deserts, scorching weather and towering cacti may come to mind.
However, this state is not just about dry landscapes. In fact, it is home to several rivers that offer perfect destinations for whitewater rafting adventures, according to AZ Animals.
1. Colorado River
The Colorado River, meandering through Grand Canyon National Park, offers a remarkable whitewater rafting experience. With towering rock formations, lush caves, thrilling rapids and sandy beaches, it's an adventure like no other. The rapids are classified from one to ten, with class ten being the most challenging. Travelers can explore hidden side canyons, waterfalls and ancient indigenous settlements while camping beneath the starry desert sky.
2. Salt River
The Salt River Canyon, with its 2,000-foot-deep gorge, provides a stunning backdrop for rafting. It offers options for all paddlers, from family-friendly class II and III rapids to challenging class IV backcountry expeditions. Located near Phoenix and Tucson, the Salt River is easily accessible and flows through remote gorges, oak forests and the Lower Sonoran Desert.
3. Virgin River
The picturesque landscape and abundant sunshine make the Virgin River an excellent rafting spot. The gorge section of the Virgin River offers an exciting rafting experience. Campgrounds are nearby, allowing for extended stays and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the surroundings.
4. Gila River
While not known for huge flows, the Gila River is significant for Arizona. Rafting is possible year-round, with spring being the ideal time. The Gila River features class II and III rapids, which can become more challenging during heavy rainfall. However, caution is advised around the Solomon Diversion Dam due to natural and man-made obstacles.
5. Black River
Emerging from Big Lake and running east in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, the Black River offers a remote and challenging whitewater experience. With class II to IV rapids, including some class V sections, it's not recommended for novice paddlers. The river is known for its difficulties and remote setting.
Arizona's diverse rivers provide opportunities for rafters of all levels to explore stunning landscapes and experience thrilling adventures.