The 10 Best Rivers to Run in the Fall

Where to get your thrills now that summer is over

Ocoee River, Tennessee.    Photo: Kenn Stilger/ Shutterstock

I once spent two months camped in a parking lot in West Virginia so that I could have easy access to the scariest river in the Southeast. Four days a week the Army Corps of Engineers would open the flood gates of the Summersville Dam, causing the Gauley River, which only runs in the fall, to fill in. About 2,800 cubic feet of water per second would rush down over holes and around undercut rocks, creating class V rapids that made the dirtbag accommodations completely worth it.

Spring gets a lot of attention from boaters, but fall is an equally good time to run rivers if you know where to paddle: the water is warm, the summer crowds go home, and some otherwise unrunnable rivers come into season. These are the 10 best rivers to run after summer winds down.

Gauley River, West Virginia
Dead River, Maine
Green River, Utah
Gore Canyon, Colorado
Upper Youghiogheny, Maryland
Deerfield River, Massachusetts
Rogue River, Oregon
Ocoee River, Tennessee
American River, California
Kaituna, North Island, New Zealand

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