The Best Fall Paddling Trips for the Avid Explorer

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The crisp leaves and refreshing air of fall is nearly upon us, and many travelers are setting out to see the season’s beauty before it’s gone. Paddlers are no different, as many waterways throughout the United States are home to some of the most breathtaking fall sights. If you’re a kayaking enthusiast and you’re looking for an amazing ride this fall, explore some of the best fall paddling trips.

Rio Grande

Though temperatures in the southern United States might not drop as much as it does in other regions of the country, take advantage of the lessened heat by exploring the twisting canyons of the Rio Grande. Stretching over 190 miles from the Texas border, through New Mexico, and into southern Colorado, this cavernous pass offers beautiful views of the changing leaves while giving you a rare glimpse into the world of the local wildlife. Be aware, however, that these waters can quicken with little notice, so practicing proper kayak safety is essential.

Congaree National Park

If you’re looking for a more relaxing excursion, this park and wildlife refuge offers water trails that flow for miles through the rich South Carolina landscape. Paddling upstream in the tranquil waters, you’ll have full access to the lush greenery and quiet setting. You’ll also have the opportunity to view native animals such as river otters, bald eagles, and the rare alligator in their natural habitats.

Connecticut River

This trip is known for its breathtaking scenery and plethora of beautiful colors during the fall season. The river flows through four New England states, but sights along the New Hampshire portion include Percy Peak and several other mountain ranges that mark the path of the Cohos Trail. With the crisp fall breeze at your back, paddle your way down this relaxed river and take in everything the area has to offer.

John Day River

The third longest undammed river in the Lower 48, the John Day River passes through a series of unique terrains in northeastern Oregon. Some of these colorful landscapes include deep canyons, grassy hillsides, and volcanic plains of fossil and ash. Experience a day out in nature like you haven’t before as you float down this calm river brimming with local wildlife.

Written by Kevin O'Neill

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