From Appalachian valleys to Rocky Mountain gorges, from subtropical Florida sloughs to the braided streams of the Alaskan bush, you’ll find a plethora of world-class rivers to float in the United States. Here at Dunn Rite, you can stock up for your next rafting or paddling voyage with one of our awesome floating coolers: towed along behind your vessel and keeping your go-to on-the-water beverages and snacks conveniently at the ready.
To wet your appetite for putting those Dunn Rite floating coolers to good use, here are five of the very best float trips in the country!
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
Floating the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River easily ranks among the most all-around iconic whitewater adventures in the world. The scenery is unsurpassed, given you’re rolling through perhaps the planet’s most spectacular (if not the largest) canyon, gouged out of multicolored rock that in the inner depths reaches better than a billion years old and fed by dizzying tributary gulches and ephemeral waterfalls. The mood of the run has all the variety you could ask for: from laidback rides on languid flatwater to heart-in-your-mouth plunges through monster rapids, including the infamous Lava Falls.
The outfitters licensed to operate within Grand Canyon National Park lead day trips and short floats of a few days, but the premier experience (whether self-guided or on a tour) is the full run through the defile from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek: 225 miles and up to two weeks in the canyon deeps.
Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho
Another of the truly legendary whitewater rivers in North America, the Middle Fork of the Salmon flows nearly its entire length through the 2.36-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness of central Idaho: part of the largest roadless area in the Lower 48. This canyon-clad stream was among the first eight rivers declared Wild & Scenic in the original 1968 legislation, and all but the one-mile, “Scenic”-designated reach outside the wilderness area is classified “Wild.”
From the confluence of Bear Valley and Marsh creeks to its mouth in the mainstem Salmon—the near-mythic “River of No Return”—the Middle Fork drops several thousand feet in a course ridden with Class III and IV rapids, among them Velvet Falls, Rubber Rapid, and Cramer Creek Rapid. A float trip may turn up sightings of bighorn sheep, black bears, elk, even pumas and gray wolves, not to mention grand “yellow-belly” ponderosa pines and the soaring crags of the Salmon River Mountains. Remote riverside campsites, hot springs, canyon trails, and trout-packed depths await you, deep in the heart of the conterminous U.S.’s greatest wilderness.
Tuolumne River, California
One of the great streams of the west side of the Sierra Nevada, the Tuolumne heads on Mounts Dana and Lyell and runs some 150 miles to the San Joaquin River in California’s Central Valley. While paddling is possible at points upstream, including within Yosemite National Park, the most acclaimed run is the 18-mile reach between Meral's Pool and Wards Ferry just above Lake Don Pedro: a boiling chasm that includes such formidable rapids as the Class V Clavey Falls as well as Rock Garden, Nemesis, Ram’s Head, Evangelist, Thread the Needle, and other big wildwater.
Buffalo River, Arkansas
The undammed Buffalo River offers some of the finest river-running in the country as it winds through gorgeous Ozark highlands. Most of the flow, a 135-mile stretch, is managed by the National Park Service as the Buffalo National River. The upper portion of this offers thrilling, hemmed-in whitewater during the late spring, while the Buffalo National River’s Lower District typically provides year-round floating past high riverside bluffs, some of the most impressive of which lie in the Lower Buffalo Wilderness reach.
Noatak River, Alaska
On a scale of wildness beyond almost any other major U.S. rivers, the Noatak drains the most pristine watershed in North America. The scale of untrammeled country—alongside the spectacular peaks and ridges of the Brooks Range as scenery and the opportunity to see Arctic critters such as caribou, wolverine, and barren-ground grizzly bears—makes this a bucket-list expedition for any wilderness-lover.
Many float the Noatak in its upper course within the roadless, trail-less Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, particularly the reach between Twelve Mile Creek and Lake Matcharak. But much longer trips are possible if you continue from Gates of the Arctic into the adjoining 6.5-million-acre Noatak National Preserve. Not far beyond the National Preserve lies Noatak, the only permanent settlement along the river and a great place to end your Brooks Range odyssey.
Run America’s Great Rivers With a Dunn Rite Floating Cooler
From the vast tundra-scapes of Arctic Alaska to the river bluffs of the Ozarks, the U.S. offers some of the most scenic and diverse float trips on the globe. Choose the perfect accessory for the river with a Dunn Rite floating cooler, ready to ride along with you wherever your adventurous spirit takes you!