Here in the Gorge, whitewater isn’t just fun – it’s a way of life. And no one knows it better than Bobby Bower. Born and raised here, Bobby is the general manager of Rocky Mountain Rafts and has been guiding rafts down rivers for over 31 years. Here are Bobby’s top picks for a perfect day of whitewater in the Gorge.

While your first time whitewater rafting can be daunting, it is an exciting and memorable experience. If you’re ready to get outside of your comfort zone, we suggest contacting one of our reputable local outfitters. Each offers a variety of trips — from heart-pounding to family-friendly — that are sure to fit your group’s preferences, and their expert guides will be able to lead you down the river safely.

Cathedral Cafe

A favorite local hangout, this quirky eatery — complete with beautiful stained glass windows — serves piping hot coffee and espresso drinks, tasty breakfast (try the sweet potato pancakes) and lunch every day and dinner specials on the weekends. Don’t forget dessert — the carrot cake is award-winning. While there, you can also browse a selection of used books and wares by local artisans or swing upstairs to Raw & Juicy Juice Bar for a healthy beverage or bowl.

The New River

With two raftable sections in our region, the New River is the perfect introduction to whitewater. The Lower New offers up Class IV rapids with big waves and long flatwater pools, perfect for those searching for an adrenaline rush. The Upper and Middle New is more chill river, with Class I, II and III rapids that are perfect for families with smaller children.

The Gauley River

The raging Beast of the East attracts rafters and kayakers from around the world. During Gauley Season, the Upper Gauley features five Class V monster rapids. The Lower Gauley has a good mix of Class III and Class IV rapids, including Mash and Koontz Flume.

Rocky Mountain Rafts

If you enjoy whitewater so much that you want to make a more permanent investment, visit Bobby at PRO River Outfitters to see the selection of Rocky Mountain Rafts. He’ll hook you up with whichever boat best fits your adventure needs.

Pies and Pints

You can settle down with a cold one and carb load after a long day of riding rapids at the original location of this creative pizza and craft beer joint (now with new bar and game room). Try out the Grape and Gorgonzola, made with red grapes, gorgonzola, and fresh rosemary, that has been mentioned as the best pie in the state by various outlets, including Food Network, Huffington Post, First We Feast, and Food Republic.