Middle Fork Of The SalmonRanked as one of the top 10 whitewater rivers in the world, the Middle Fork of the Salmon is Idaho's most famous "Wild and Scenic" river. It is known for big, thrilling whitewater, but for continuous challenging (Class III-IV) rapids -- 100 in less than 100 miles. The Middle Fork is also known for Wilderness. It is undammed and unspoiled as it passes through central Idaho's "Frank Church River-of-No Return" Wilderness, the largest federally protected Wilderness in the lower 48 states. Attractions include water falls, hot springs, Indian pictographs. No motorized boats are allowed on this river.
Main SalmonThe Main Salmon was dubbed the "River of No Return" by early explorers. Today it is considered a choice pool-and-drop river for adventurers of all ages. On an 80-mile stretch between Salmon and Riggins, Idaho, it is a relaxing "Wild and Scenic" river punctuated by intermediate (class III and IV) rapids. Historic sites include the preserved homes of prospector Jim Moore and of river hermit Buckskin Bill. Big, clean beaches provide good campsites. Family day trips, through 12 miles of fun but not scary rapids, also are available on the Main Salmon near Stanley, Idaho, surrounded by the Sawtooth Mountains.
Lower Main SalmonAlthough a "Wild and Scenic" designation is pending for the Lower Main Salmon, it is still a largely undiscovered stretch of recreational river. It drops out of the forest near Riggins, Idaho into narrow basalt gorges. Then the landscape opens up again to grassy palisades until the Salmon joins the Snake River at Hells Canyon on the Idaho/Oregon border. The lower Main Salmon is a good place to get away from it all. Most of the typical 40-mile, pool-and-drop trip is a scenic float with regular exciting whitewater. The water is warm in the summer. Sportsmen's trips are popular in the fall.
Snake River In Hells CanyonEverything about the Snake River in Hells Canyon is big. Big river, big waves, big views, big cliffs. The canyon is the deepest gorge in North America, several thousand feet deeper than the Grand Canyon. Rapids get class III-IV ratings largely because of their size. Jet boats offer sightseeing cruises both from Lewiston at the quiet-water northern end of the canyon and from Hells Canyon dam at the southern end. Rafts and dories float through the central 34-mile "Wild and Scenic" section of the river. Visitors often combine the two by float boating down the river and jet boating back to their starting point. Historic sites include the Kirkwood Ranch in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Sportsmen's trips are popular in the fall.
SelwayThe Selway is Idaho's most private "Wild and Scenic" river. Only one launch is allowed each day, to protect the pristine beauty of the river as it passes through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Selway river running comes in a heart-stopping rush for just a few months in the spring and early summer. The rapids are nearly all large (class IV-V) through all 60 river running miles. Limited access makes the Selway a challenge to experience. Outfitted river running trips should be booked 8-12 months in advance. Fishing trips are available in the summer.
Owyhee RiverThe Owyhee may be Idaho's most secluded river. It is hidden among thousands of square miles of canyons and sagebrush desert where Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon meet. Five different stretches of the Owyhee are known for their springtime whitewater trips. The Upper Owyhee passes through a deep canyon with grand scenery. The steep, turbulence of the Middle Owyhee makes it a favorite with serious boaters. The East Fork is a demanding trip but worth it for the deep gorge, bighorn lambing grounds, falcons and mountain lions. The South Fork has sweeping views of the high country and long gentle to intermediate (class II-III) rapids. Rome to Lake Owyhee is a popular intermediate run.
PayetteThe Payette River leaves ci