Where to get that last whitewater fix of the season

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Destinations, September 1998

Hot Dam!
Where to get that last whitewater fix of the season
By Stephanie Gregory

It's still too warm out to mourn the end of summer, though we do get wistful for whitewater about now. But thanks to that modern engineering marvel — or scourge — known as a dam, a few choice rivers rage till Halloween. West Virginia's Gauley, of course, is the mother of autumn runs. But here are four more spots where you can squeeze in one last, soul-drenching adrenaline hit before stowing those Tevas for the season.

River: Upper Youghiogheny, Maryland

Rating: Class IV-V

Description: 10 miles through a precipitous, narrow canyon that descends at an average of 116 feet per mile.

Highlight: Plummeting down the Miracle Mile, where the river drops 200 quick feet between Bastard and National Falls rapids.

Outfitter: Precision Rafting ($100- $115 per day; 800-477-3723)

River: Kennebec River, Maine

Rating: Class III-IV

Description: 12 miles through a deep, tree-lined gorge. High water combined with few obstacles creates giant, surfable rollers.

Highlight: Catching the balmy, 65-degree spray thrown off by the raging foam piles at Magic Hole, a Class IV drop.

Outfitter: New England Outdoor Center ($79-$99; 800-766-7238)

River: Hells Canyon, Snake River, Idaho

Rating: Class III-IV

Description: A 34- or 80- mile run through the deepest river gorge in the nation; similar water to the Grand Canyon.

Highlight: Gazing up at snowcapped, 7,900-foot peaks while bobbing in the shadowy, 1,300-foot depths of the gorge.

Outfitter: ROW (three days, $730; six days, $1,280; 800-451-6034)

River: Lodore Canyon, Green River, Utah

Rating: Class III

Description: 44 miles of technical rapids, bordered by Dinosaur National Monument's alpine pi±on forest and sheer red walls.

Highlight: Basking in the desert scenery while passing waterfalls, prehistoric pictographs, slickrock caverns, and wind-eroded cliffs.

Outfitter: Holiday Expeditions (four days, $659; 800-624-6323)

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