Navua River – Upper

the-navua-river-canyonNo one would ever have thought about whitewater rafting in the heart of the South Pacific but tucked away on Fiji’s big island of Viti Levu, lies one of the most beautiful one-day river trips anywhere.  The Upper Navua River, framed by 150-foot blackened lava and limestone canyon walls that span little more than 15 feet in some places is Fiji’s third largest drainage and undoubtedly one of its most scenically spectacular natural wonders.

This warm, 18 kilometer stretch, of class II-III whitewater flows through the country’s first and only officially designated Ramsar site or protected wetland of international importance.  This area, known formally as the Upper Navua Conservation Area is home to a host of endemic species consisting of rare bats, birds, iguanas, palms and a newly discovered species of freshwater fish.

In addition to the unique flora and fauna, the river features at least 50 waterfalls, plus many mysterious side canyons and a plethora of trickles that during the rainiest times of the year produce more waterfalls per kilometer than just about anywhere on earth.

riversfiji-navuaIf that isn’t enough to capture a boaters imagination certainly the fossilized chunks of coral and turtle shell lodged in the canyon walls will capture the imagination of the intrepid, if only to tempt speculation as to the geologic forces that have thrust this island chain to the surface from the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

The end of the journey culminates in a remote Fijian village located approximately 5 kilometers upstream of the confluence with the Wainikoroiluva River home to Fiji’s other remote boating gem.

the-navua-riverThe ride back to civilization affords teasing glimpses of Namosi Valley, a tropical equivalent of our own Yosemite National Park and tantalizing vistas of the turquoise waters and white sand beaches of Beqa Lagoon.

Section(s): Upper Navua River
Difficulty:  Class II – III
Length:  24 Kilometers
Season:  Year round (free flowing)
Best Rapids:  Moce, & Snake
Best Waterfall:  Free Massage
Best Side Creek:  Mosi Mosi


Fraser River

fras1The Mighty Fraser River is a Canadian Heritage River. The largest river in British Columbia and one of the longest (854 miles or 1375 km) in Canada, it is the greatest salmon river in the world.

It begins in Mount Robson Provincial Park, in the shadow of the highest mountain in the Rockies. Its journey ends at the city of Vancouver, where it merges with the Pacific Ocean among vast wetlands that are an important staging and nesting area for shorebirds and waterfowl. Its rapids and canyons, once cursed by Simon Fraser, the first European to travel its tumultuous waters, are now favourites with whitewater enthusiasts.

big_hitThe mighty Fraser is a gigantic river. Flows at Hope BC, still 100 miles from the mouth, average 275,000 cfs. The lower Fraser between Boston Bar and Yale are not rafted until the volume drops below 200,000 cfs, usually by late July or early  August.  Average flows in August and September are around 75,000 to 100,000 cfs.

The river is rafted from Soda Creek to Yale with the most common stretch between Boston Bar and Yale on the lower river. Although there are not many rapids, six or seven depending on the water level, the most famous are Hell’s Gate, Little Hell’s Gate and China Bar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are huge rapids – not technical but gigantic – that are made up of heart-thumping waves, whirlpools that can swallow a Greyhound bus, and eddy lines powerful enough to flip a boat.

To run the big water of the Fraser large motorized rafts with outriggers are the choice. Nobody paddle rafts the Fraser. With a minimum of 16 tons of floatation, these  craft provide the buoyancy necessary to stay afloat in the large whirlpools, boils and eddy lines and provide lateral stability in the 20 ft. waves.

Raft sizes vary from 22 ft. to 35 ft. depending on the water level. Outriggers are always used on the lower river.


Colorado River – Upper

Section of river: Colorado River, Upper (Little Gore Canyon to Bond, Colorado)
Difficulty: Class 1-3
Length: 17 miles; 27 KM; 1-2 days
Season: May through mid-September
Best rapids:

upper-colorado-river-03High in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Rockies give birth to the legendary Colorado River.

Downstream of the Park near the town of Kremmling (25 miles north of Vail), the Colorado grows into a clear, gently flowing river that is friendly and inviting to people of all ages.

This gentle white water rafting river is perfect as an introduction to rafting for families with small children, senior citizens, or folks looking for a lazy Colorado vacation.

Upper_Colorado_River_Rafting_mdThe character of the landscape along the Upper Colorado River varies from natural to rural, and the scenery includes ranch meadows, valleys, steep slopes and rugged cliffs. Willows and cottonwood trees line the riverbank, and Ponderosa pines, pinions and junipers dot the sage covered slopes.


Green River – Lodore Canyon

Section of river: Green River,Lodore Canyon
Difficulty: Class 3-4
Length: 4 days
Season: May – September
Best rapids: Upper and Lower Disaster Falls, Harp Falls, Triplet Falls, Hell’s Half Mile

20_holidayexpeditionsWithin Dinosaur National Monument, the Green River winds its way through three distinct canyons: Lodore, with its red rock walls and famous trio of rapids, Whirlpool which features Jones Hole Creek and echoing cliffs, and Split Mountain which contains geological curiosities and exciting whitewater.

Lodore was the first major canyon encountered by John Wesley Powell and his men on their 1869 expedition. Powell’s adventures live on in the rapids he named: Disaster Falls, Triplet Falls and Hells Half Mile.

ldscenicThe Green is a wonderful introduction to the special world of desert rivers. Lodore Canyon rafting trips travel 44 miles through the dramatic sandstone cliffs and enchanting canyons of the imposing Unita Mountains in Colorado and Utah.

Set aside as an American treasure in 1938 under the National Park system, this canyon is a sanctuary for bighorn sheep, deer and other wildlife.

The region has quite a history, and it shares it delicately through geologic wonders, sublime rock forms, mysterious fossils and fleeting remnants of Native American pictographs and petroglyphs. The trip features abundant wildlife, beautiful side hikes, and several thrilling rapids for all members of the family.


Colorado River – Westwater Canyon

Section of river: Colorado River, Westwater Canyon
Difficulty: Class 3-4
Length: 1-3 days
Season: May through September
Best rapids: Hunter’s, Funnel Falls, Surprise, THE BIG ONE: Skull Rapid, Bowling Alley, Sock-it-to-me and Last Chance

09_holidayexpeditionsOften called a miniature Grand Canyon, this segment of the Colorado River is the answer for the person who is short on time but wants it all…a wilderness canyon so stunningly beautiful you ‘ll have no doubt but to leave the world behind. The finale – world class whitewater. Depending upon water level and trip length, you will see from eighteen to fifty miles of the Colorado’s finest beaches, side canyons, and campsites.

A century ago pioneer river explorers Thane Galloway and John Wesley Powell developed two distinctive rowing styles. Your guides will employ them to meet the challenge of Westwater’s rapids. Galloway’s innovative facing style will be used in most of the rapids that demand tight boat placement, including Funnel Falls and Sock-it-to-me. Powell’s distinctive style is used for Skull rapid where a powerful thrust is required to thrust through a diagonal wave feeding right into Skull Hole.



Arkansas River – Royal Gorge

Section of river: Royal Gorge
Difficulty: Class 3-4+
Length: 17 miles/27 KM
Season: May to August
Best rapids: 3 Rocks, Sunshine Falls, Sledgehammer, Narrows, Wall Slammer, Boat Eater

Rafting2_RoyalGorge_MIThe Royal Gorge is a favorite destination of thrill seeking rafters and includes some of the West’s best whitewater. This section of the river is lower in elevation and always warmer than other higher elevation sections. You will paddle through huge rapids as you pass 1053 feet below the famous Royal Gorge Bridge that was built in 1929.


Mahakali River

mahakali_river2Mahakali River (India): The Kali river forms the international border between India and Nepal in its upper reaches.

A self-contained river journey down this river is one of the prime options in this part of the Himalaya. The river flows past terraced farms of Kumaoni and Nepali villages, fresh water streams, sandy beaches, thick tropical jungles, plantations as we travel downstream through the terai belt negotiating exciting white water.

mahakali-river_14368With the Mahseer making it an angler’s delight, the lack of road access makes it a complete wilderness journey. After the first few days of serene float past its confluence with the Saryu at Pancheshwar (also a famous fishing spot) with the occasional big rapid, the Kali makes its final descent to the plains in the last day on river, beginning with the mighty Chooka rapid. Flowing past the terai hills after densely forested hillsides, this trip is an outdoor wilderness experience in a league of its own.


North Platte River

Section of river: North Platte River, Northgate Canyon (Walden, CO to Sanger Ranch in rural southern Wyoming)
Difficulty: Class 1-4
Length: 30 miles; 48 KM; 1-2 days
Season: May to mid-June
Best rapids: Cowpie, Narrow Falls and Stovepipe

north_platte_riverFlowing through the Northgate Wilderness Area, the North Platte is the best-kept secret in Colorado. Even though there is an abundance of Colorado’s best whitewater here, the crowds have not yet discovered this gem. Northgate Canyon begins near the border of Colorado and Wyoming.

This is one of the last remaining completely free-flowing rivers in Colorado, where the best whitewater occurs in June.

north_platte_river2The canyon contains many challenging rapids, including Cowpie, Narrow Falls and Stovepipe. This 30 miles stretch runs through the forested canyon wilderness, emerging late on the second day into the rolling, sage-covered hill country of southern Wyoming, where wildlife sightings such as eagles, antelope, bear, lion, coyote, elk, and deer are common.

The North Platte is located west of Fort Collins and east of Steamboat Springs near Walden, Colorado. It is also within easy driving distance of Laramie, Wyoming.


Chilko River

Difficulty: Class 3-4
The rapids in Cataract Canyon are generally rated Class III in April, September and October, Class III+ in August, Class III+ to IV in July, and IV to V with peak water usually occurring during the last week of May and the first week of June during maximum snow melt.
Length: 100 miles / 4-6 days
Season: April – October
Best rapids: Big Drop 1, 2 & 3

chilko-scenicThe Chilko starts at the north end of Ts’yl-os Provincial Park. Established in 1994, Ts’yl-os (pronounced sigh loss) is 233,240 hectares in the Chilcotin Ranges of the Coast Mountains.  Though there is much to explore in the region, it is rugged and un-serviced leaving its visitors up to their own devices. The put-in for the Chilko is a 1-hour flight or 12-hour drive from Vancouver.  Commercial trips are prohibited to use the park boat ramps but private trips can so long as they pay the appropriate park user fees.

The Chilko is a fast flowing river averaging more than 8 miles per hour and as much as 20 miles per hour in some sections.  The upper river offers several miles of floating and features class I and II water that is frequented by logjams and debris.  The upper section is also a class II fishery and requires special license and a daily tag for trout fishing.

DCIM100GOPRO whitewater_rafting_thompson



Luva River

luva_river1Two hours drive into the interior of Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu, lies one of the most spectacular valleys in the tropics.

Framed by two volcanically inspired mountain chains the Korobasabasaga and the Mendrausucu, Namosi Valley is Fiji’s very own version of a tropical Yosemite.

Steep cliffs, seasonal waterfalls, and quaint villages are just the start to this amazing adventure.

luva_river2A short visit to the village for some Kava and a request for permission leads boaters to the Mando, where the put-in and on-river preparation for the day’s journey on the Wainikoroiluva (Luva) River awaits.

This creeky, class II run is best done in inflatable kayaks, as rafts, except during the rainiest times of the year, have a difficult time negotiating the rocky obstacle courses typical of this adventure.  The river is best known for its many swimming holes, and playful rapids.

20060524_luva-riverBoaters can expect to glimpse tropical bird life such as the ever colorful yellow breasted musk parrot or the yellow wattled honey eater, a hot spring as well as numerous quaint traditional Fijian villages which when interspersed with the awe inspiring scenic beauty of the valley make for a truly enjoyable and well rounded experience.

Typical activities in addition to kayaking include a lunch in the famed garden grotto where sunlit canyon walls and the acoustically enhanced trickles of water blend in uncommon beauty, or the short hike through a traditional plantation to the clear waters and a refreshing rinse beneath the areas highest waterfall, Wainuta (120 feet).  If kayaking, exploring, swimming and scenic wonder were not enough then the culminating motorized longboat ride from the confluence of the Navua River down through the beautiful lower Navua River Canyon should help top off a great trip.

Sierra Exif JPEGThis journey takes visitors deeper into the island interior than any other excursion, provides unparalleled views of Beqa Lagoon, and Namosi Valley, all while kayaking on the Wainikoroiluva river, motorized longboating through the lower Navua Gorge and 2 hours of 4×4 truck riding through some of the most spectacular terrain in the country.  Boating is only the beginning!

Section(s): Upper and Lower Luva (1 & 2 day) + Lower Navua Gorge
Difficulty:  Class II – II+
Length:  Upper Luva (6 K-kayaking) (Lower Luva 5 K-kayaking) (Lower Navua Gorge 14 K –motorized longboat)
Season:  Year round (free flowing)
Best Rapids:  Mando &  #3
Best Waterfall:  Wainuta
Best Side Creek:  Wainadoi