CHATTOOGA RIVER, GA
The longest free-flowing waterway in the Southeast is a classic drop-pool river with gorges and falls followed by flatwater. Section III has Class II water more suited to novices. The seven-mile Section where Deliverance was filmed chal-lenses experts at Five Falls, a succession of Class IV-V rapids.
COLORADO RIVER, AZ/CO/UT
The Colorado covers 1400 miles, with whitewater up to Class V found in the Gore (Colorado), Cataract (Arizona) and Grand (Arizona) canyons. Check out the Grand's Class IV Sockolodoger (1860s lingo for "knockout punch"), which is fronted by a 12-foot wave.
GAULLE RIVER, WV
The Gaulle is the epicenter of worldwide whitewater during the 22-day annual drawdown of the Summersville Dam,which unleashes a torrent the weekend after Labor Day through the most technical water anywhere: Class I-V rapids with boulders as big as mobile homes.
OCOEE RIVER, GA/TN
Made famous by the 1996 Olympic whitewater events, the Class III-IV rapids of this eight-mile-long, dam-controlled river surge through the Cherokee National Forest. Sign up now to run the limited dam releases of the Upper Ocoee, site of the Olympics' 350-yard, $30-million Class III-IV slalom course.
ONTONOGAN RIVER, MI
Ride the rapids of the U.P.'s west end on a route to Lake Superior. Contact: Sylvania AuSable River Canoe Marathon Jay stroke, rudder, draw, cross draw, sweep, pry
PAYETTE RIVER, ID
Just north of Boise, the Payette's three forks range from forgiving Class III to treacherous Class V-plus. On the South's Class IV Staircase canyon, the view's so stunning you'll actually enjoy the portage around a 35-foot waterfall.
PENOBSCOT RIVER, ME
It's open season from May through September on 15 miles of the West Branch below Ripogenus Dam, which generates Class IV-V rapids for rafters in the upper five miles, Class III-IV down below. The water rumbles from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.long enough for two trips a day down the top stretch.
SNAKE RIVER, WY
The Snake thunders through eight miles of Class III wild water before reaching the Lunch Counter, a big wave train with 12-footers one after another. Kayakers and surfers-yes, surfers on boards are among its most crazed passengers.
TOUTLE RIVER, WA
Raging west from Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, a 14-mile run of Class III-IV rapids tears through canyons and floodplains, where shifting mud changes the river daily and scars from the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens are visible on trees 50 feet from the water.