Best Places For White Water Rafting In Idaho

If you’re looking for the best white water rafting in Idaho, you’re in the right place! Idaho River Adventures has a wealth of knowledge in all things Idaho river rafting trips, and we would love for you to join us on an adventure of a lifetime.

Below you will find our list of the best whitewater rafting in Idaho.

  1. Lower Salmon River Rafting
  2. Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting
  3. Hells Canyon - Snake River
  4. Payette River
  5. Selway River
  6. Lochsa River

1. Lower Salmon River

 

salmon river canyon trips

 

The Lower Salmon River is part of The Salmon River, which flows for over 400 miles through central Idaho, making it one of the largest rivers in the United States without a single dam on its mainstream. The scenery along the Lower Salmon River is epic, including the second-largest canyon in North America, the Salmon River Canyon, that is deeper than the better known Grand Canyon. 

The Lower Salmon River provides a home to a variety of fish species, making it a popular location for fly fishing. These species include Cutthroat trout, Bull trout, Rainbow trout, Mountain whitefish, Sockeye salmon, Chinook salmon, Smallmouth Bass, squawfish, and more.

 

Fly Fishing the Salmon River is a world-class experience and Idaho River Adventures offers a guided, all-inclusive fly fishing and rafting trip down the Salmon River. If that’s something that tickles your fancy, you should check it out.

 

2.Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting

 

rafting on the middle fork of the salmon

 

The Middle Fork of the Salmon river is an unforgettable adventure, in an off-the-beaten-path location. The nearly 100 mile river lies in the center of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and is surrounded by some of the most scenic landscapes in the country. Riverside natural hot springs, steep rocky cliffs, and an abundance of wildlife of all kinds call the Frank Church Wilderness home. 

 

The Middle Fork is known for its whitewater rafting, and Idaho River Adventures is your premier outfitter. With over 100 rapids throughout the course of the river, ranging from class III to class IV level of difficulty, the Middle Fork of the Salmon is one of the most challenging and scenic rafting locations. 

 

Idaho River Adventures offers a variety of unique, boutique-style, 6-day guided whitewater rafting trips down the stunning Middle Fork. When planning your trip with IRA, you can choose from a classic rafting experience, boutique wine rafting trip, a musical rafting trip, and more. All trips are all-inclusive, customizable, and accompanied by the best guides and riverside chefs in the game. 

IRA‘s founder is a fifth-generation Idahoan and has accumulated a lifetime of experience in Idaho’s wilderness on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The team of river guides at IRA are top shelf, skilled, knowledgeable, and an overall blast and a half.

 

3. Hells Canyon - Snake River

 

Hells Canyon idaho

 

The Snake River flows through the deepest river gorge in North America, Hells Canyon. This canyon is 10-miles wide and 8-thousand feet deep, making it deeper than the Grand Canyon by 2-thousand feet. This iconic river gorge forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon and its wilderness holds over 600 thousand acres of wild beauty. 

 

The mighty Snake River is home to numerous fish species, some of the largest rapids in the Pacific Northwest, miles of trail systems, all kinds of wildlife, and pictographs rich in history. The activities within the canyon are abundant and one of the most popular activities is whitewater rafting. The rapids on the Snake River are rated class III to class IV level of difficulty, and attract kayakers and rafters from all over. If you’re dreaming up an adventure on the snake river to experience Hells Canyon, there are many outfitters out there ready to share the experience with you.

 

4. Payette River

 

 

The Payette River is the place to be for kayakers and rafters of all skill levels. The Main Payette has numerous class I to III rapids, perfect for those who are looking to get more comfortable with rafting. The Cabarton Section of the North Fork is full of class II to IV rapids, and the Staircase Section of the South Fork is perfect for the intermediate rafter. Finally, the Canyon Section of the South Fork and the North Fork Payette are for those who are more advanced with rafting and kayaking, with many class IV and V rapids. 

 

The Payette River flows through the southwestern parts of Idaho and is one of the major tributaries to the Snake River. The Payette River System is a Federal Fee Site. Daily permits or a seasonal pass are required for parking.

 

5. Selway River

 

 

They say that the Selway River has it all, and they’re not wrong. Breathtaking scenery, technical rapids, backcountry trail systems, pristine camping, rich habitats, etc. The Selway River begins in the Bitterroot Mountains near the Idaho-Montana border and continues to flow through some of the most epic scenery for the next one-hundred miles. 

 

For those looking to whitewater raft this incomparable river, the rafting portion is a 47-mile stretch that descends 28 ft. per mile throughout, and is abundant with both technical rapids and flat stretches of water. The level of difficulty does not exceed IV, and though the river is a sought-out location, the traffic is controlled and limited, allowing rafters to have the river almost exclusively to themselves. 

 

In addition to rafting, The Selway River is abundant in fly fishing opportunities, as well as stellar camping for the land-dwellers. Our premier outfitter for the Selway River is ARTA River Trips.

 

6. Lochsa River

 

lochsa river idaho

 

The Lochsa River (pronounced: lock-saw) is an undammed river that flows through north-central Idaho. Lochsa is a Nez Perce word meaning rough water, so obviously you can tell that this should be on your list for best places for whitewater rafting. The Lochsa River is rated one of the world’s best for continuous whitewater. It’s rapids are considered technical and fast, with big holes and hydraulics, guaranteeing a thrilling experience. Not to mention the scenery that surrounds the Lochsa is breathtaking and simply majestic. 

 

Typically, whitewater rafting trips down the Lochsa last 1-3 days and are worth every penny. Our premier outfitter for the Lochsa River is ROW Adventure Center.

 


When you're ready to book your bucket list Idaho river rafting trip, we hope you'll consider joining Idaho River Adventures.  Our attention to detail along with a strong emphasis on safety, experience, and customer service make us the perfect match for your family or group vacation. Our diverse Middle Fork Salmon River rafting trips and Lower Salmon River rafting trips are tailored to you in order to provide the most premium experience. Reach out today to inquire about the adventure of a lifetime on Idaho's most prestigious rivers.

Emily Knittel is a Montana based writer, mountain biker, and self-proclaimed professional hype girl. With a degree in Journalism, and an unshakable love for the outdoors, Emily writes to encourage a life of whimsy and adventure.

Salmon River Rafting - Lower Salmon Rafting Trip

Salmon River Rafting - Lower Salmon Rafting Trip

The Lower Salmon River, where the water is warm & the weather is sunny. If you are looking for a fun, family-friendly river trip featuring fun Class III whitewater and camping on huge white sand beaches, look no further than the trip.


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