Rafters navigate the rapids in Glen Canyon, Colorado.

Whitewater rapids are set to swell with an epic spring melt.

Find RV parks near exciting water destinations on Good Sam’s Boating Fun page.

Get ready for the big thaw. The record snowfalls of winter are melting into a massive runoff in the spring, fueling rivers across the West. The result: outstanding whitewater paddling in some of the most popular paddlesport locations in the U.S. From Montana to New Mexico, rafters and kayakers are drooling over faster currents, bigger swells, and taller waves. Hit the whitewater while peak thrills still last: we’ve picked 9 thrilling river destinations with nearby Good Sam Parks.

Consult WetPlanetWhitewater.com’s guide for whitewater classifications before setting out.

Rafters hurtle through Lava Falls on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon National Park. Photo: Grand Canyon NPS

Rafters hurtle through Lava Falls on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon National Park. Photo: Grand Canyon NPS

Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Colorado River generates formidable rapids as it flows along the floor of the Grand Canyon. The Lower Canyon at the western end of the park boasts a 192-mile stretch of river with a high concentration of Class IV whitewater. Feel your pulse race on the notorious Lava Falls, with daunting obstacles like Saddle Rock, Ledge Hole, and Hump Wave. While floating on the more sedate stretches of the river, rafters can gaze up at the scenic Granite Gorges and Grand Wash Walls. Several outfitters offer rafting trips.

Located in Williams, the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park situates visitors near a historic train line that whisks passengers to the national park.

South Fork of the American River, California

About 50 miles east of Sacramento, this waterway churns out frothing rapids, especially in the stretch from Chili Bar to Folsom Reservoir. Upstream, the Chili Bar dam keeps the fun going with carefully timed releases, sustaining the Class II and Class III segments of the river. The Chili Bar Put In in Placerville near State Highway 193 is the starting point for a thrilling odyssey. Shuttles ferry riders back upstream for more crazy fun. Obstacles like Troublemaker Hole and the Cesspool put paddlers’ skills to the test.

Thousand Trails Ponderosa puts on the banks of the American River puts travelers right alongside the action.  

A kayaker navigates heavy rapids

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The Kaweah River, California

Fed by snowmelt, this Southern Sierra river enjoys peak rapids in April and May. The river is one of the nation’s steepest river runs, flowing southwest from Sequoia National Park, the waterway drops roughly two miles on its 34-mile course to the San Joaquin Vally. Paddlers can enjoy long boulder slaloms and a speedy current.

Near the shores of Lake Kaweah, Lemon Cove Village RV Park in Lemon Cover puts travelers close to some fantastic water recreation.

Paddles on a blue raft in calm waters

Paddling on the Kern River

Kern River, California

Northwest of Bakersfield, the Kern River attracts rafters and kayakers to with thrilling rapids that range between Class III and Class IV. Tour guides can match rafters up with the appropriate adventure, depending on skill level.

Lake Isabella RV Resort sits close to both river and lake adventure possibilities. 

Paddlers in a yellow raft get ready for some whitewater action

Hitting the Merced River.

Merced River, California

Just outside of Yosemite National Park, the Merced River churns with 18 miles of continuous Class IV rapids. Visitors can sign up for rafting trips with Oars, an outfitter that specializes in eclectic rafting adventures. Take a 1-day trip filled with hair-raising thrills or opt for a 3-day jaunt that includes camping and hiking. This rafting adventure will fit perfectly into a vacation to Yosemite, San Francisco, the Napa Valley and the California coast.

At Yosemite Lakes RV Resort, guests can go swimming, fishing and panning for gold in the Tuolumne River that runs through the campground.

Riding a bright green kayak, a young man navigates frothing rapids in Glenwood Whitewater Park & Activity Area.

A kayaker rides whitewater at Glenwood Whitewater Park & Activity Area. Photo: #VisitGlenwood.

Colorado River, Colorado

The Glenwood Whitewater Park & Activity Area in Glenwood Springs dishes out whitewater thrills for the whole family. Once the site for the U.S. Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials, the park has the distinction of being the first whitewater feature built on any stretch of the Colorado River. The park offers kayakers, rafters, and even standup paddleboarders a place to hone their skills and agility. The park’s signature feature is the standing wave, also known as the G-wave. Just two miles upstream, Glenwood Canyon thrills rafters and kayakers with Class IV and V rapids.

Glenwood Canyon Resort places guests close to Rocky Mountain adventure, including the world-famous Hot Springs Pool.

Using oars, a man guides his boat through whitewater in Montana with mountains in the background.

Rafting and boating on the rapids of Montana’s Madison River. Image: BLM

Madison River, Montana

About 80 miles north of West Yellowstone, the Madison River surges through the ruggedly beautiful terrain of the Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness. Visitors to this Bureau of Land Management area can take a 9-mile float trip under 2,000-foot cliffs and the famous Class V “Kitchen Sink” rapids at the end. This is recommended only for those who possess serious whitewater skills. If you prefer hiking, hit the trail that runs the length of the river and watch the daredevils sweat it in the current.

Guests at Ennis RV Village can float or fly fish in the nearby Madison River. Bozeman is just one hour to the east.

A kayaker propels his bright yellow kayak in front of a crowd through the whitewater in the Truckee Whitewater Park in Reno.

A kayaker showcases his skills during a competition in the Truckee Whitewater Park in Reno. Photo: TravelNevada

Truckee River, Nevada

Reno’s Truckee River Whitewater Park encompasses a 2,600-foot stretch of river with 11 drop pools for kayaking recreation. The riverbanks of the Class II to Class III park are lined with 7,000 tons of smooth, flat-top rocks and boulders for easy public access and enhancement of kayaking maneuvers. This is the place for kayakers to refine their side surfing, cartwheeling, front flips and more. If you prefer to stay dry, you can take a seat in the spectator area and watch the action in the water below.

Just two miles south of the Whitewater Park, the Silver Sage RV Park sits minutes from casinos, restaurants and more.

A yellow raft laden with fun seekers paddles on a rough part of the Rogue River.

Rafting down the rapids of the Rogue River. Photo: Oregon Travel.

Rogue River, Oregon

Winding through southern Oregon, the Rogue River foams with world-class rafting with wild rapids pulsing amid rugged, forested terrain. Morrison’s Rogue Wilderness Adventures takes guests through multi-day float trips through 40 miles of the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River with more than 20 Class II-to-IV rapids. Guests can float on a raft or single-person kayak with stops for riverside lunches and visits to historic sites and side-creek swim holes.

Situated in the heart of vibrant Grants Pass, Jack’s Landing RV Resort features all the amenities you’ll need for a restful stay between adventures on the river.

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