Where is the best whitewater rafting in the Southern U.S.?

I want to take a spring whitewater rafting trip in the U.S., but I hate being cold. Where should I go?

Big Bend National Park via Shutterstock     Photo: B. Franklin

A:Big Bend National Park, Texas
The desolate 120-mile stretch of the Rio Grande that flows through Big Bend National Park doesn’t quite have the thrills of the Colorado or Snake rivers, but it also largely lacks deep chills in the spring. This is actually a prime time of year to go: the wildflowers lining the stark canyons are bursting to life, but the weather’s not too hot to make you spontaneously combust. The main course of rafting through the park is the narrow, seven-mile-long Santa Elena Canyon, where the limestone walls reach heights of 1,500 feet and some rapids can reach Class IV, if the water level is high enough. Trips generally range from one to three days.

Far Flung Outdoor Center runs trips starting at $130 per person.

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