BONAVENTURE RIVER, QUEBEC
On Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula, the 85-mile long Bonaventure pours out of the mountains over a cobblestone bed and builds momentum as it drives to the sea through 'forested hillsides. The narrow, intimate river demands intermediate skills.
KONGAKUT RIVER, AK
On a 10-day route to the end of the continent, rafters cross paths with migrating herds of Porcupine caribou. The better part of the 160,000-animal herd splashes through the Kongakut's braided channels on movements through the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
MISSOURI RIVER, MT
Spend up to 12 days floating the Missouri of Lewis and Clark.
NOATAK RIVER, AK.
All of the Noatak's waters are above the Arctic Circle in Gates of the Arctic National Park, permafrost country where the river wanders 400 miles to the Chukchi Sea. Here in the 24-hour light of summer, break to hike the rugged Brooks Range for sightings of caribou, moose and grizzlies.
OWYHEE RIVER, ID/NV/OR
The loneliest river in the Lower 48. Starting in Duck Valley, Nevada, spring rafters shoot past remote desert cliffs on 200 miles of Class II-V water during the 16-day odyssey to reach Leslie Gulch, Oregon. As a bonus, you get to relax in hot springs on the way.
ST. JOHN RIVER, ME
Dividing Maine from Canada, the St. John ("a mile wide and an inch deep") flows 100 miles through Class III whitewater from Baker Lake to Allagash Village. Runnable May to June only, right after the melt.
SNAKE RIVER, YUKON TERRITORY
It's a 300-mile downhill ride from the Mackenzie Mountains to the Beaufort Sea 4000-foot drop in which the river morphs from a a(foot-wide rock-garden stream to big, broad, swift water. A floatplane drops you in a mountain pond and a two-mile portage starts the trip.
SOUTH NAHA RIVER, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES
The South Nahanni River is Canada's Grand Canyon: It drops out of the Mackenzie Mountains and winds through alpine tundra, forests, canyons and karst"a whole geological lesson paddling from the top to the bottom," says guide Chris Pullen.
TATSHENSHINI'ALSEK RIVERS, AK
Whitewater is the adventure traveler's reason to go down two river arms that start in Canada, meet in Glacier Bay National Park and flow through the world's largest protected area at 27 million acres.
THELON RIVER, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES
From the cold heart of the Northwest Territories, the Thelon winds 600 remote miles in a semicircle before spilling into Hudson Bay. Rough and swift near its origin, the river is a challenge for intermediate paddlers before settling into a steady Class II.
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