Whitewater Challengers' certified guides steer paddlers as young as 5 across the skipping surf of the Poconos’ Lehigh River Gorge, the Black River Canyon, and the Adirondacks’ Hudson, Moose, and Salmon rivers. In the rafting industry since 1975, the guides have collectively traveled more than 16 million miles of rapids. They chart courses that satisfy a range of experience levels, from beginning jaunts down gentle rapids to advanced battles through coursing foam and wicked currents.
The crew’s ultimate goal is to make rafting a fun adventure, which means that they take care of the business end, providing all safety equipment, transportation to launch points, and lessons for novices. When not on the water, the outdoors-loving crew also organizes mountain-biking and camping trips in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
River guides outfit each participant with a tube and life jacket before shuttling them to the Upper Hudson River, where they take in scenic views of the Adirondacks and float on water 2 to 3 feet deep that boasts an average temperature of 72 degrees. As the weather warms, the park shifts its focus to its four downhill tubing slides. To add more excitement, the company's crew revamped the colorful slides with snow-like surfaces that create increased speeds. This spirit for adventure echoes at nearby Lower Hudson Gorge, where Tubby Tubes' rafts and tubes explore the flat waters and tree-lined banks.
When the founders of Adirondack River Outfitters first took their raft to the shores of Moose River, they didn't know it was widely renowned as one of the wildest, most intense waterway in the region. The spirited New Yorkers were just looking for adventure, fun, and a means to explore their homeland's natural beauty. After falling in love with the river's tumultuous rapids and scenic surrounding wilderness, the trailblazers began honing their rafting skills with regular trips, eventually bringing their friends and family along for the ride.
More than three decades later, the group of adventurous guides continues to lead tours down Moose River. The guides, however, have since expanded their inventory of trips to include three other major New York rivers, each characterized by unique classes of rapids and magnificent rural backdrops. A cheerful bunch, the guides always end trips with a homemade barbecue, along with thrilling stories, good-hearted jokes, and impressive recitations of the first 34 digits of pi.
Nestled in the verdant mountains of Lake Luzerne, Adirondack Tubing Adventures launches inner tubes, rafts, and kayaks on guided adventures down the Hudson River. Watercrafts pile up around its rustic cabin, where colorfully painted school buses await to cart parties to their body of water of choice. Once there, a seasoned guide will steer vessels across calm waters, amidst lofty trees, and past inquisitive wildlife or Boy Scouts earning their bear-linguistics badges. The company keeps a full stock of water shoes, water toys, and floating coolers available for rent.
Since 1983, the seasoned river guides of Wild Waters Outdoor Center have been leading whitewater-rafting expeditions down the Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers. The outfitter also leads overnight rafting trips in which paddlers spend the day cruising the river and the night camping out beneath the stars and renaming the constellations after past winners of American Idol.
Rivers Northeast Adventures offers a deluge of summer activities along tranquil and feisty rivers in the picturesque Vermont countryside. The three-hour self-guided kayak trip lets riders glide along the currents of the Connecticut River or paddle around a nearby lake while gazing at the area's dense foliage and vast number of barges that carry sacks of rice. Adventurers are shuttled to and from their watery destinations and supplied with single or tandem kayaks, gear, and a quick intro to kayak navigation. Half-day whitewater-rafting trips on Sumners Falls or in the White River afford family-friendly or adrenaline-surging swells that entertain more effectively than watching a child tickle a horse. The Sumners Falls run sprints over Class III rapids and ends in a stomach-twisting drop, and the White River bounces between Class II rapids and stretches of flat water perfect for swimming. During the summer, bring along a friend or Mediterranean oarsman for a half-day float, captained by a seasoned, friendly guide.