If you're keen to incorporate some exciting activities into your gap year plans, you should be sure to visit the US. Although amazing adventures can be had throughout the entire country, there is perhaps nothing as thrilling as white water rafting along the Grand Canyon.
Here, you'll be able to explore the vast ravine by boat in what is sure to be an iconic America travel experience.
Over a period spanning millions of years, the Colorado River has carved through multiple layers of rock to create an astounding geological spectacle.
At some 277 miles long and up to a mile wide in places, it is perhaps unsurprising that the canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - so coming here on a year out is bound to be an experience that you remember forever.
Of course, you will be able to take in magnificent views of the landmark from either the South or North Rim with numerous rock formations spanning as far as the eye can see in every direction.
However, booking Grand Canyon rafting trips means you can get an entirely different perspective of the region as you'll be able to look upwards - as opposed to downwards - at the towering valley.
As one of the longest waterways in the country, rafting along the Colorado River allows you to take in a wonderful array of sights - even if you only travel a relatively short distance along it.
Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of your trip will be the chance to experience navigating your boat through sections of the river that are categorised as class IV rapids. One of the highest grades of white water, this means you can expect to encounter sizeable drops and medium-sized waves in what is bound to be an adrenalin-pumping adventure.
However, you won't be facing high-octane rafting for the entire duration of your activity holiday. You'll also be able to paddle along quieter, calmer stretches that provide you with the chance to look out and see some of the fascinating wildlife that can be found here.
Despite its desert setting, the Grand Canyon is teeming with animals. As you make your way along the river, a wide array of birds - from golden eagles and hawks to egrets and great blue herons - can be seen soaring up above.
There is an equally exotic range of creatures to be glimpsed living on the banks of the river. Bighorn sheep and mule deer are just two of the mammals you may be able to spot. Mountain lions and coyotes can be also seen while you negotiate your way down the river.
If you are more interested in flora, you can be sure that there will be plenty of plants for you to keep an eye out for. Wildflowers, cacti and moon lilies are just three of the varieties that you can see here.
Naturally, the main focus of a rafting holiday in the Grand Canyon will be to experience the thrill of navigating your way along the waterway, although there will be lots of other things to do.
Upon mooring up your boat on the banks of the river, you can go for a refreshing dip in one of the many side canyons.
Those keen to stretch their legs and explore the Grand Canyon's rocky terrain will have plenty of opportunity to do this.
Why not go for a hike along Nankoweap trail? Located along the North Rim, this is commonly regarded as one of the most challenging walks in the entire area. However, your exertions will certainly be worth the effort and as you walk you'll be able to take in wonderful natural scenery and see historic Native American ruins.
Saddle Canyon and Vasey's Paradise are just two of the other highlights of a journey along the Colorado River, while visiting Redwall Cavern gives you the chance to explore a gigantic limestone cave capable of holding thousands of people.
As the night draws in you'll be able to camp along the banks of the river, with the setting sun making the rock formations really come alive. Make sure your digital camera is close at hand so you can take shots of the picturesque landscape.
With so much for you to see and do, going on a rafting trip along the Grand Canyon is certain to be a highlight of your gap year travels.