Originally Posted by Smokey Carter
agree with embudo but doesn't the box have way too many portages to be considered "classic"?
The box only has 6 portages. And there are individual rapids in the box that are better than the entire Embudo.
There are so many rad places to float rivers in North America that compiling an all-encompassing list is pretty tough. An individual experience is colored by water levels, what you portaged/ran, and your crew. I've had a blast on mediocre runs with a great crew, and I've had lousy days on mega-classics because I portaged my face off and/or had lousy flows.
Some of the most meaningful river moments for me have been on non-classic runs. I've also had some pretty pedestrian days on runs that are generally considered "classic". I don't know if I'd call the Devils Postpile a classic, but I had moments in there that I will still remember when I'm 80 years old.
With that long preamble, my top 5:
+Middle Kings: on my last trip someone described it as "a season's worth of class V in a single trip"
+Fantasy Falls: Huge flow window. Tons of variety, epic camping. Huge rapids that can be portaged. Slightly less-huge rapids in gorges that can't be portaged.
+North Fork Payette: Sometimes it's warm and mellow. Sometimes it's cold and terrifying. It's always good. Cool place to push yourself because the road is close, but also a high stakes place to push yourself because it's so continuous.
+Devils Canyon, Middle Feather: So good. So stacked. Like the Middle Kings but less scary.
+Clarks Fork Box: Aesthetic and complex rapids, just enough to mank to remember it's the rockies, unforgettable scenery.