Men's Journal


It may not be a first descent, but these remote rivers can make you feel like you’re making the maiden float.


OWYHEE: With more than 300 miles of boatable river, the Owyhee flows through vertical rock walls in the lightly trafficked high desert where southeast Oregon meets Idaho.

LAUNCH: Rome, Oregon. Or level up to whitewater by launching at BLM’S Three Forks Recreation Site.

OUTFITTERS: River Drifters

ST. CROIX: One of the original eight rivers protected under the 1968

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Minnesota-wisconsin border river is relatively accessible from the Twin Cities. It’s renowned for wildlife and great riverside campsites before its terminus at the Mississipp­i River. LAUNCH: Taylors Falls, Minnesota

OUTFITTER: Wild River Outfitters

RIO GRANDE: This wetland corridor cuts through desolate hunks of New Mexico and Texas. The Wild and Scenic Lower Canyons of Big Bend National Park offer high payoff with 80-plus miles of remote and infrequent­ly run canyon.

LAUNCH: Terlingua, Texas

OUTFITTER: Big Bend River Tours

ALLAGASH: From Mount Katahdin, the Allagash undulates at a mostly peaceful pace through the North Maine Woods. In this moose-laden area you can travel for days with few signs of civilizati­on. LAUNCH: Greenville, Maine

OUTFITTER: Allagash Canoe Trips

MIDDLE FORK OF THE SALMON: Part of the largest roadless area in the Lower 48, and riddled with continuous Class III–IV whitewater and hot springs, Idaho’s Middle Fork is a favorite among seasoned wilderness river trippers.

LAUNCH: Stanley, Idaho. Launch permits are scarce. Outfitters like Middle Fork River Expedition­s or Idaho River Journeys offer the simplest access.

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