There's nothing like a day on Oregon's Rogue followed by a glass of wine and a delicious alfresco dinner.
3. ROGUE RIVER, OR
Gourmet cooking Thrills, spills, and at the end of the day, a multicourse meal prepared by renowned chef Bob Anderson and his wife, Mary (from V Restaurant in Murphys, California), who are there to share their vast knowledge of food and wine. Learn how to make a creamy risotto or carve a whole beef tenderloin into filet mignon. Or just lounge riverside, in comfy camping chairs, with real glasses of fine wine in hand, and wait for candlelight dinner to be served. On tablecloths, of course. 4 days (Sep 18-21); $1,215; class II-III rapids; OARS; 800/346-6277. -Susan G. Hauser
4. UPPER COLORADO RIVER, CO
After dark Rafting the Colorado at night sounds, umm, dark. And scary. But anxieties fade as quickly as twilight on this one-of-a-kind Lakota River Guides "night vision" trip. Peer through superhero-like lenses during a mellow 8-mile float beneath the Milky Way ― and see the river in a whole new light. The greenish amplified glow lets you spy on deer, raccoons, beavers, and other wildlife in the wee hours. 4 hours; $95; no rapids; Lakota River Guides; 800/274-0636. -Ted Alan Stedman
5. SKAGIT RIVER, WA
Bald eagle-viewing Want proof that bald eagles have made a comeback? Spend just four hours floating the Skagit and you could see upward of 200 of the regal, white-crowned birds, which soon may be delisted as a threatened species. December through February is prime viewing time, when the eagles migrate south to feast on salmon. So file this away till winter ― when you'll want to bundle up, drift down the river, and point your binocs toward the treetops. Half-day; $75; no rapids; Pacific NW Float Trips; 866/389-1349. -Molly Lori6. FLATHEAD RIVER, MT
Saddle and paddle This hardy trip kicks off with a horseback ride through Indian paintbrush-filled meadows to a secluded camp in Montana's Flathead National Forest, where wranglers grill steaks on the campfire as the last light melts over the peaks of nearby Glacier National Park. The next three days are spent tackling the turquoise water ― rewarded by Dutch oven brownies and the perfect combo of crickets and current that sings you to sleep. 4 days; $625; class II-III rapids; Wild River Adventures; 800/700-7056. -Lynn Donaldson