April showers bring May flowers, but those spring rains also mean great summertime boating. Unusually high water levels earlier this year caused a bit of worry and inconvenience, but they mean good news for summertime whitewater rafting.

“Going into the rest of the season, it is good news,” said Craig Wright, owner of Oregon River Experiences near Portland. He said while the true high water season is past, flows are still “more liberal than they would normally be.” Those higher summer levels will buoy the rafting season, which extends into October in parts of the state.

Whitewater rafting offers a unique vantage point of some Oregon’s most remote beauty (including some of the state’s dozens of Wild and Scenic rivers). You can float through high deserts, mountain foothills and deep canyons, gaining a window into a secret landscape of wildlife, waterfowl and hidden, watery byways.

And then there is the adrenaline factor — the matter of finding yourself in the middle of a Class IV rapid with your friends and family, digging deep with your paddle and shrieking over the thunder and crash of the whitewater.

For a mellow, all-day trip, check out Imperial River Company‘s 18-mile adventure on the Lower Deschutes River out of Maupin. “It’s a great family river. It has a lot of excitement but also a lot of relaxing spots,” said Sarah Ashley, director of sales and marketing. “It’s what you might call a ‘splash and giggle’ trip.” The boats leave from Imperial’s private launch, and the day includes a barbeque lunch on the lodge lawn.

Visitors to Portland might like a quick day trip down the Upper Clackamas. It’s close to the Rose City and, “not too intense, but a lot of fun,” said Wright. Those looking for a major white water vacation can choose multi-day trips down the Rogue River, the Snake River and others.

White Water rafting trips are available around the state. Check out www.traveloregon.com for trips on the Deschutes, Umpqua, Rogue, Snake, John Day, McKenzie, Owyhee, Grand Ronde and other rivers. Get in the boat, and hold on tight!

About the Author: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

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