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The Gearboat Chronicles

Top Whitewater Rafting Destinations in The World

There are rivers great for whitewater rafting around the world! Every continent (with the exception of maybe Antarctica) has world class opportunities for whitewater rafting thrill seekers!

In this post, we’ll outline some of the global whitewater rafting destination on our bucket list.



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The rivers of Idaho and Oregon

Country: United States of America

We may be a little biased, but the Pacific Northwest truly has some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. Below, we’ve put the two top destinations in our globally recognized whitewater rafting region.


The Salmon River

One of the best rafting destination in the entire world, the Salmon River combines world class rapids with beautiful scenery for a truly unforgettable rafting trip.

The longest undammed river contained within 1 state in the United States outside of Alaska, the Salmon river is one of the last untouched rivers in North America. The river is packed with deep canyons, sandy beaches, and rapids of varying difficulty, meaning there are trips suitable for experts rafters and families alike.

Given that it’s an example of the natural beauty of the American west, the Salmon River should be on the top of anybody’s list of top rafting trips in the world.


The Snake River through Hells Canyon

Combining the natural beauty of Oregon and Idaho, the deepest river canyon in North America, and rapid classes for the whole family, the Snake River through Hells Canyon is a rafting trip not to be missed.

This legendary route runs 51 miles through the crystal-clear water of Hells Canyon all the way to Oregon. Filled with class III and IV rapids along the way, this whitewater is unique given the Canyon’s depth, which reaches almost 8,000 feet deep at some points!

The route takes you through one of the most beautiful regions in the country. With natural beauty combined with historical sites to take in, this river is great for more than just whitewater thrills.


Experience the world-famous Idaho-Oregon rafting region as it was meant to be experienced

Winding Waters River Exploration will take care of everything so you can enjoy these wild rivers as they were meant to be experienced.

When you raft with Winding Waters River Expeditions, you’ll…

  • – Experience world-class whitewater runs, including class II, III, and IV rapids
  • – Enjoy delicious gourmet meals made from fresh, local ingredients
  • – Sleep under the stars in our deluxe and luxurious camping equipment
  • – See miracles of nature, including Bald Eagles, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, geometric columnar basalt, beautiful wildflowers, and much more
  • – Swim in warm, crystal clear waters

Plus, all equipment and transportation you’ll need is included. The perfect way to experience the rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

Explore Our Multi-Day Trips Through World Class Rapids



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Noce River

Country: Italy

Given the thousands of years of development on the continent, there are few untouched areas of Europe left for world-class whitewater. Northern Italy’s Noce River however, is still wild and filled with thrills.

The Noce is one of Europe’s most exciting – and beautiful – whitewater rivers. Located in the Val di Sole, or valley of the sun, the Noce is fed by the alpine glaciers of the Dolomites, one of Italy’s most famous mountain ranges.

The river itself boasts class IV-V rapids, including a stretch of class V rapids through the gorges of Mostizzolo that are one it’s most famous features. Though this section is known for its difficulty, there are plenty of sections of this 16 mile stretch that all experience levels can enjoy!



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Zambezi River

Country: Zimbabwe and Zambia

The Zambezi river is known worldwide as the river containing Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. Just below Victoria Falls however, is one of Africa’s most excitings stretches of whitewater.

Known as the Batoka Gorge, this 15-mile stretch below the falls is an exciting stretch of river that’s set against the backdrop of one of the most distinctly beautiful areas of the world. Known as “Slam-bezi” given it’s difficulty and punishing waves, the Zambezi should only be rafted by extremely experienced rafters. Also, make sure to watch out for the crocodiles and hippos that blanket the area.



Upano River

Country: Ecuador

Set amongst the rainforest of the Ecuadorian jungle, the Upano river is one of the most remote and exciting whitewater rafting rivers in the world.

Generally starting out of the village of Macas, the river winds past small villages and breathtaking waterfalls, including the Namangosa Gorge area. While it may take awhile to get to Macas (it is one of the most remote towns in Ecuador), rafting amongst the wildlife and nature of the Amazonian rainforest is an experience you’ll never forget.



Magpie River, Canada

Country: Canada

Located in northern Quebec in remote pine forests not accessible by road, the whitewater of the Magpie river is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. On clear nights you can even see the aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights!

Starting on Magpie Lake, which can only be accessed through a float plane, you’ll cascade down the river through rapids of varying difficulty, camping on river islands throughout. You’ll eventually reach Magpie Falls, an exhilarating end to your Northern Canadian trip.



Futaleufú River, Chile

Country: Chile

The Futaleufú River, starting amongst the glacial lakes of Patagonia in Chile, offers one of the most unique rafting experiences in the world. The water is blue due to the minerals from the glacial lakes, and the river winds through the high alpine scenery, offering an incredible experience completely different from the other South American river on this lst.

The Futaleufú is also known for its diverse range of rapids, with sections for all skill levels. That said, it is also known for its multiple regions of class V rapids that are challenging for even seasoned rafters.



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North Johnstone River, Australia

Country: Australia

The tropical landscape of Northern Queensland, Australia offers an incredible backdrop for North Johnstone River. Located in the volcanic gorges and and rainforests in Palmerston National park, the North Johnstone is easily Australia’s top whitewater destination.

As you float through the class V and IV rapids, you’ll see dense rainforests, waterfalls, and basalt cliffs that make this journey breathtaking. In order to get to the start point of this trip you’ll have to be helicoptered in, meaning you’ll see plenty of wildlife, including the extremely dangerous saltwater crocodiles and pythons. While the remoteness and lethal creatures make this a dangerous destination, for expert rafters this trip is worth it!



Sun Kosi River, Nepal

Country: Nepal

Located amongst the world’s highest peaks in the Himalayan mountain range, the Sun Kosi River in Nepal on the border with Tibet is a truly unique rafting experience. The river flows from high in the Himalayas down to Ganges river, one of the most important rivers in the world.

The river features class V whitewater through remote, narrow gorges and dense forest and jungle. This is one of the more difficult rivers on this list, and should only be attempted by experienced rafters.


Are you as excited as we are for world class rapids?

Get in touch to see how to book a trip here in Oregon and Idaho this summer. You don’t have to go all the way around the world to experience some of the best whitewater rafting. We have world class whitewater rafting here in the Pacific Northwest!