California is normally the America's capital of whitewater rafting, with massive Sierra snowfalls feeding dozens of cascading, granite-lined mountain rivers. Unfortunately the Golden State has been wrung out by one of the worst droughts on record. For rafters, kayakers, and stand-up paddlers that means it's time to look elsewhere. Luckily, America is teeming with waters ripe for everything from lazy paddles to aggressive runs.
Here are six non-Californian streams that will be flush with whitewater this spring and summer.
Arkansas River, Colorado
The Arkansas rumbles more than 100 miles from the fourteeners surrounding Leadville, Colorado, down through the towering Royal Gorge near Florence, Colorado. Along the way, it plunges through five distinct day-rafting stretches ranging from thumping Class V in Pine Creek to splashy fun in Brown's Canyon, making the Arkansas the nation’s most diverse whitewater destination. Check out Arkansas Valley Adventures raft trips on the upper sections or take a kayak or stand up paddleboard lesson on some of the milder Class I-II sections near the town of Salida. As of April 1, the Arkansas basin's snowpack was right on the historical average, meaning the river should run its regularly rollicking way – cold and pushy in June and tapering off throughout the summer.
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