Carmel Valley Road and Arroyo Seco Road, Greenfield
Before people made amusement parks, God created a few choice rivers. Thanks to this one, there’s no need to tromp off to Great America to blow hundreds of dollars with your adventurous amigos: This natural series of waterfalls carved into the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains provides its own roller coaster of experience and is totally free. Tubing this pristine collection of rapids requires no previous skill except for fearlessness as you face some treacherous drops. Compared to the hike/swim up-canyon, it’s a relatively restful return to the trailhead. Pause the adrenaline rushes for cat naps on sun-warmed rocks or floating in crystal clear pools of Los Padres National Forest.