Ever wondered about the most scenic rivers in the U.S.? Our nation is full of water-based recreational opportunities from natural lakes, to inland beaches, to over 95,471 miles of shoreline. We often forget about our rivers.
The U.S. is home to some beautiful rivers and in this guide, we’ll look at some of the most scenic rivers in the U.S. for a wide variety of recreational activities including fishing, rafting, and even just plain old relaxing.
Rivers Play a Significant Role in the U.S.
Rivers have played a large role in U.S. history since the founding of our country. Explorers and travelers alike have used the artery-like river system in the U.S. to traverse the wilderness. U.S. rivers helped shape the cities we know today.
In modern day, rivers in the U.S. serve several purposes. We use them for agriculture in many parts of the nation and they supply much of our public water system but, we also get to use them for recreation. Rivers can create some of the most scenic backdrops for relaxation or adventure.
The Best U.S. Rivers for Fishing
One of the best rivers in the U.S. for fishing is the Bighorn River. The Bighorn River is located in both Wyoming and Montana. The area is famous for its abundance of trout near the surface because of extremely dense hatches.
The best fishing on the Bighorn River is located near the Afterbay Dam around Fort Smith, MT. There are public fishing areas and camping areas operated by the National Park Service. The Bighorn River gifts anglers with clear and still waters, ideal for fishing.
Another prime river for fishing in the U.S. is the Colorado River. The Colorado River is known for its ideal conditions for catching striped bass, channel fish, large-mouth bass, rainbow trout, redear sunfish, and bluegill. The best fishing on Colorado is in Nevada near the Davis Dam. Public fishing extends downstream from the dam for 12 miles.
Camping is available in the area on both the Nevada and Arizona sides of this stretch of river, though RV camping is only available on the Nevada side. Fishing in this region is best in the spring and fall, especially considering temperatures can reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
The Best U.S. Rivers for Rafting
When you think of rafting, you probably think of the Rockies and of snowmelt runoff – but one of the best rafting rivers in the U.S. is actually in West Virginia. The Gauley River system in West Virginia provides 35 miles of roaring rapids. The landscape is remote and beautiful and the river gives thrill-seekers some of the most difficult rapids in the nation. Luckily, there are also nearby rapid that is calmer for those who are just beginning.
For a river with multiple levels of difficulty, adrenaline junkies should check out the Rogue River in Oregon. The Rogue River has rapids with class V, class IV, class III+, and even class II ratings. Lush, forested cliff sides line the river creating a very serene setting. Additionally, the area is known for its aviary wildlife.
The Best U.S. Rivers for a Relaxing Getaway
Sometimes, rivers don’t play the recreational role. As a relaxing getaway, there is nothing better than letting loose with the backdrop of a calm, flowing river.
Considered as one of the most beautiful rivers in the U.S., the Rio Grande river is a great place for a relaxing getaway. The river flows across Colorado, central New Mexico, and the Texas border, but there are a couple of popular vacation destinations that allow you to experience the river’s natural beauty.
One such place is Albuquerque. Albuquerque, NM is a metropolitan city that the Rio Grande flows right through. The city offers serene getaways near the river, however, surrounded by mature cottonwood trees. The Rio Grande in Albuquerque is particularly beautiful during the fall months.
Another gorgeous river located in the U.S. is the Tennessee River. This river flows for 652 miles and eventually connects with the Ohio River.
Chattanooga, Tennessee provides unparalleled access to the beauty of this natural river. Visitors to Chattanooga can either take in the sights of the deep, rushing waters or, if they’re feeling more adventurous, take part in the city’s many offered recreational activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and paddling.
Go With the Flow – Plan Your Trip Around One of These Beautiful, Scenic Rivers
It’s no secret that the U.S. is a beautiful nation. Our mountain ranges, plains, and even rivers are something to be proud of.
For your next trip, plan around visiting one or more of these beautiful and scenic rivers. It can be fun for the whole family. Rivers provide the opportunity for play as well as relaxation.