IOGA FAQ

What type of guided recreation activities are offered in Idaho?
How do I select an outfitter?
Why should I book a trip in Idaho?
How do I know that an outfitter is legitimate?
Where is Idaho and how do I get there?
How do I plan a trip to achieve the best results?
How can I save money or find discounts on Idaho outfitted trips?
What type of outfitted river recreation trips, including fishing, are available?
What type of outfitted land-based recreation trips are available in Idaho?
What type of hunting trips are available in Idaho?
What type of guided winter activities are offered in Idaho?

What type of guided recreation activities are offered in Idaho?

Just about everything you'd expect in a wild mountain state - whitewater rafting, jet-boat tours, hunting, fishing, horseback trail rides, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, cattle drives, backcountry skiing, snow-cat skiing, heli-skiing, snowmobiling, and deluxe vacations at wilderness lodges.

How do I select an outfitter?

You can peruse the list of outfitters by recreation activity and start to narrow your search from there. Be aware that outfitters have different personalities. For example, on week-long river trips, some outfitters set up tents for guests, and others provide a more do-it-yourself experience. Some outfitters go on trips; others run the business and delegate trip-leading functions to experienced guides. One may specialize in high-adventure, physically challenging trips. Another may concentrate on relaxing excursions for all ages. Take the time to browse this web site and talk to outfitters on the phone. You may want to ask an outfitter for references, call previous clients and ask questions about what type of experience the outfitter provides. You should try to select an outfitter that matches your taste for maximum satisfaction.

Why should I book a trip in Idaho?

Idaho offers high-quality recreation trips in secluded alpine mountain and high desert settings. We have 3,200 miles of whitewater rivers - the most in the lower 48 states. Celebrities and tourists flock to the whitewater rapids of the Salmon, Selway, and Snake rivers every summer for a fun-filled wilderness vacation. Idaho has some of the best blue-ribbon trout fishing in the nation, not to mention the chance to catch ocean-going steelhead and chinook salmon. Hunters can pursue all of the most prized wildlife species in the West, including Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer, moose, mountain lion, black bear, antelope, wild turkey, chukar partridge, and forest grouse.

The best kept secret about Idaho is that we offer all of the great mountain adventures without the crowds.

A few other tidbits that you may not know about Idaho:

  • We have the deepest canyon in North America - over 7,000 feet in Hells Canyon of the Snake River in western Idaho
  • We have the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48, the Salmon River, 475 miles of free-flowing fun.
  • We have a ton of public land - 20 million acres of national forest land, and 12.5 million acres of BLM land - where public access is guaranteed.
  • We have the largest federally protected forest wilderness in the lower 48 states, the 2.4-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Now there's a place where you can find peace and quiet at a high mountain lake or a secret camp. The Frank Church Wilderness is part of an even larger wilderness ecosystem, considering that the 1.2-million-acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness lies directly to the north, and the 200,464-acre Gospel Hump Wilderness lies directly to the west. All told, it adds up to 3.8 million acres of official wilderness in central Idaho.

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How do I know that an outfitter is legitimate?

All outfitters in Idaho must be licensed and bonded through the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board, and they must have a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service and/or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Outfitters must carry liability insurance as a condition of both state licensing and federal permitting. These requirements ensure that outfitters and guides are financially and legally capable of providing a safe, high-quality experience for the public. Be sure to ask your outfitter for their state license number to verify that they are licensed with the state.

Where is Idaho and how do I get there?

Idaho is sometimes mistaken for Iowa or Ohio, but after you've been here, that won't happen again. Idaho is located in the Pacific Northwest, adjacent to Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada.

There are two national airports that provide quick access to Idaho: Boise and Spokane, Wash. For recreation trips in Northern Idaho, it's best to fly into Spokane. For recreation trips in southern and central Idaho, it's best to fly into Boise. A number of charter air services offer hour-long flights from Boise to key recreation destinations in McCall, Stanley, Sun Valley, Salmon and other Idaho destinations.

The Boise Airport is served by the following airlines: Delta; United; Northwest; America West; Southwest; Sky West; Big Sky; Frontier; and American Eagle.

The Spokane Airport is served by the following airlines: Air Canada, Alaska, Delta, United, Northwest, Horizon, Southwest, Big Sky and America West.

If your outfitter is located in eastern Idaho, they may suggest that you make airline connections through Salt Lake City, Idaho Falls, Jackson Hole, WY, or Missoula, MT. Some outfitters will recommend flying into the Lewiston airport for northcentral Idaho destinations.

Ask your outfitter if they have any special travel discounts available with particular airlines.

For more information about travel in Idaho, please see www.visitidaho.org.
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How do I plan a trip to achieve the best results?

Before you book a trip, take a few minutes to set parameters with your trip-mates about how long you can get away and how much you wish to spend. Where would you like to stay - in a comfortable backcountry lodge, a tent on a sandy beach, a pack-in hunting camp or day hunting out of lodging facilities? Do you mind participating in a trip with other guests who you don't know, or would you prefer to create your own group of family and friends? Try to develop some specific ideas about your trip parameters. Then it will be easier to select your outdoor vacation.

How can I save money or find discounts on Idaho outfitted trips?

One way to save money is to shop around and find an outfitter that offers a trip at a price that matches your budget. Another great way to save money is to check out the "hot deals" feature on IOGA's web page and find the latest discounted trips being offered by Idaho outfitters. This is an ongoing service that changes with the seasons. The public also can save money by booking trips during the "off-season," when demand for services is low, and better prices prevail. Ask your outfitter if they offer discounts at a particular time of year.

What type of outfitted river recreation trips, including fishing, are available?

Everything from day trips to week-long luxury wilderness whitewater vacations, jet boat fishing trips and scenic tours, and canoeing trips in breath-taking canyons. On several trophy trout streams, such as the Henry's Fork, the South Fork of the Snake River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, outfitters provide guided fishing trips in slick-bottom drift boats for maximum maneuverability. In the fall and spring, jet boat and drift boat outfitters provide the chance to catch lunker steelhead on the Salmon, Clearwater and Snake Rivers.

Idaho's has a slew of great whitewater rivers, where both week-long trips and day trips are available, including the Moyie, St. Joe, Lochsa and Selway rivers in northern Idaho, the Salmon River in Central Idaho, and the Payette, Owyhee, Jarbidge-Bruneau and Hells Canyon of the Snake in southwest Idaho. Idaho outfitters take care of everything on these trips. Guides row the rafts or lead guests in paddling their own. They provide tents and waterproof gear bags. They cook all the meals, including gourmet fare cooked in Dutch ovens. For kids, they lead games on the beach and around the campfire.

During the fall steelhead season, both day and multi-day jet boat fishing trips, combined with overnight stays in nearby motels or wilderness lodge facilities are popular with anglers. Heated cabins or tents, prepared meals, hot showers and cozy beds keep clients comfortable at this chilly time of year.

Some fishing outfitters also provide guided wade-fishing on trophy trout streams such as Silver Creek, the St. Joe River, Henrys Fork, and Big Creek. On these tricky fly fishing streams, guides can help guests locate big trout and suggest the right flies that "match the hatch."

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What type of outfitted land-based recreation trips are available in Idaho?

Folks can choose from staying in a wilderness lodge, where hiking and horseback riding is available nearby, to day-long or multi-day horseback trail rides, to guided mountain bike adventures near Sun Valley. In mid-summer, wilderness outfitters take guests fishing to secret high mountain lakes where anglers can catch robust native cutthroat trout in a fabulous scenic setting, surrounded by cathedral-like mountain peaks. Take a week of this medicine to forget the stress of city life.

What type of hunting trips are available in Idaho?

What type of guided winter activities are offered in Idaho? Everything from hut-to-hut skiing in the Sawtooth Mountains to snowmobiling on more than 5,000 miles of groomed trails to elk-viewing sleigh rides to heli-skiing in Sun Valley. Guided snowcat ski trips are available in several locations in Idaho. Check out the Winter link on IOGA's web site for more details. Search for guides that lead the type of trips you'd like to take in the winter.

In combination with fishing or other big-game activities, outfitters lead chukar-hunting trips in Idaho. Chukar partridge are swift-flying birds imported from Asia that are very challenging to shoot and great eating.

Check out the following areas for more information: wilderness lodges, trail rides and hunting trips.

What type of guided winter activities are offered in Idaho?

Everything from hut-to-hut skiing in the Sawtooth Mountains to snowmobiling on more than 5,000 miles of groomed trails to elk-viewing sleigh rides to heli-skiing in Sun Valley. Guided snowcat ski trips are available in several locations in Idaho. Check out the Winter link on IOGA's web site for more details.Search for guides that lead the type of trips you'd like to take in the winter.