The Los Angeles River's concrete-paved waterways play pivotal roles in many unforgettable movies (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Grease, The Italian Job, Gone in 60 Seconds, to name a few). What you may not know, though, is that it's "banks" have been closed since the 1930s due to multiple floods – the river is actually considered an Army Corps of Engineers flood control channel. But this week, Californians were eager to grab their paddles and kayak on the newly free waters. But the summer fun isn't just for them. You, too, can head to one of these scenic rivers across the U.S. for a day trip of lazy tubing, boating, or thrilling white-water rafting.
Los Angeles River, California
If you're anywhere in Southern California, spend a day kayaking down this newly public river. With an ecosystem full of wildlife in the middle of this bustling city, the river starts in the San Fernando Valley and flows through downtown L.A. to its basin in Long Beach. Begin your trip at Rattlesnake Park on Fletcher Avenue and paddle down through the famed Glendale Narrows waterway to Confluence Park. Class I and II rapids can be found along the stretch so you don't have to worry too much about capsizing or getting too wet. For a more leisurely way to experience the river, fishing and bird-watching are also permitted in the area.
Hudson River, New York
Escape the heat of the city and drive north for an exhilarating day of whitewater rafting in the mountains. Known widely for its Manhattan stretch, the Hudson River flows through all of eastern New York State. The best rapids are found near the Hudson River Gorge, and summer is the season for class III rafting. Adirondac Rafting Company offers rafting trips for all levels, complete with experienced guides and quality equipment.
Chattahoochee River, Georgia
A more relaxing river, the Chattahoochee begins in northern Georgia, flows through Atlanta and into the Florida Panhandle. Choose your transportation: raft, canoe, kayak, or tube, and float lazily down the slow-moving river. Also a National Recreation Area, the Chattahoochee is rich with wildlife, so don't be surprised if you come across some cool animals! Check out Shoot the Hooch for boat, tube, and raft rentals, located at an ideal put-in point in Roswell's Azalea Park.
Rio Grande River, New Mexico
Combine exciting whitewater rafting and one of the most picturesque and wildlife-rich rivers in the country and you've got a trip to the Rio Grande. Nestled in a southern part of the Rocky Mountains, the stretch of the river between Questa and Pilar is the ultimate spot for rafting or boating in rapids. For a full-day journey, ride the famous Taos Box – 17 miles of wild rapids in the beautiful Rio Grande Gorge. From family trips to challenging excursions, half-day to overnight voyages, Los Rios Runners has different points along the river to meet your group, and you'll be led by an expert guide.
Snake River, Wyoming
If you're looking to fly-fish, take a scenic float, and whitewater raft all along the same gorgeous river, Snake River is your destination. Different stretches of the river, which is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, offer various environments for a wide range of trips. Inside Grand Teton National Park, fly-fishing and relaxing floats down the river are optimal (the best fishing season is late June to mid-July), while thrill-seekers can whitewater raft starting from Hoback Junction to Alpine. Lewis & Clark River Expeditions in Jackson has expertly planned trips, from floating to whitewater rafting.
What's your favorite river to visit?