Jet Boating the Salmon River - Lucile to Hells Canyon


Jet boat outfitters offer half-day and full-day trips on Idaho's Lower Salmon River, normally from Whitebird downstream into the Lower Salmon "Gorge," which features four distinct geologic canyons and many huge natural white-sand beaches. One of them is aptly called "Whitehouse Bar," where the beaches are enormous, perfect for volleyball, camping and hanging out.

A popular 80-mile jet boat trip that's available at particular water levels allows outfitters to take guests by vehicle over to Hells Canyon, and then the jet boat provides a tour of 25 miles of Hells Canyon and 55 miles of the Lower Salmon River, ending up in Whitebird, where the trip originated. It's called the "Loop Tour." Be sure to ask about that one.

Truth be told, the Lower Salmon Canyon is an Idaho secret. Enjoy perfect, long sunny days and warm swimming water - just like a trip to Baja. Add in roller coaster rapids, Native American pictographs, ancient Chinese miner rock cabins, spectacular canyonlands, fishing, unlimited summer fun ... and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful relaxing day.

You'll also see lots of wildlife, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, coyote, song birds, birds of prey, upland game birds and waterfowl.

Jet boat outfitters also offer fishing trips in this reach. Fishing opportunities include small-mouth bass, rainbow trout, fall steelhead and huge white sturgeon. Fishing for white sturgeon and wild steelhead is all "catch & release." Outfitters offer custom summer and fall fishing trips.

The Salmon River was featured in the National Geographic Society (NGS) article "Down Idaho's River of No Return" (July 1936). The article includes an image of the huge, wooden NGS scow navigating Class IV Snow Hole rapid in the heart of the canyon.

The Lower Salmon River is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Cottonwood Field Office.