1-Day Rafting Tours
Whether on a paddle raft or an inflatable kayak, single-day rafting trips offer guests the opportunity to explore a region's remote areas. Many first-time paddlers go on one-day rafting adventures, fall in love and then want more! That said, many others come back year after year as a family tradition to our collection of single-day rivers.
Variety in One Day Rafting
There is a ton of variety in one-day trips too! Whitewater junkies looking for a thrill of a lifetime will find it on the Lochsa River in Idaho where there are more Class IV rapids than any spring river in the West! Families looking for fun, intermediate rapids will find it on the Clark Fork River through the Alberton Gorge in Montana. Some people just want a gentle float trip to take in nature and wildlife -- for them, there are one-day rivers like the Selway or Clearwater where guests relax in paddle rafts and take in the scenery.
Best Single Day Rafting Trips
Clark Fork River: Well isolated from any roads, the Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork flows through a deep canyon with dramatic rose-colored cliffs. Between the whitewater sections are calm stretches that are perfect for swimming or just sitting back, relaxing, and watching the spectacular mountain scenery pass you by. Warm water and quiet pools between rapids make this a perfect family rafting trip.
Lochsa River: From its headwaters in the Bitterroot Mountains to its confluence with the Selway and Clearwater rivers, the Lochsa River pounds and churns through more than 40 major rapids. A free-flowing river, the Lochsa river starts to roar as the winter snow melts. Rafting season on the Lochsa begins in early May and goes until the water gets too low for rafting, typically the first week of July.
St. Joe River: The Class II-III whitewater is ideally suited for beginners but exciting enough to thrill experienced rafters as well. The narrow canyon walls restrict the river to create big, exploding waves. In between rapids, as we float through this gorgeous Idaho mountain scenery, you can watch trout swimming in the emerald waters of the St. Joe.
- May-June - The Spokane, Moyie, St. Joe and Lochsa
- July-August - Early September - Clark Fork, Spokane
A better question may be: What trips are available when I want to go rafting? For example, you might have previous rafting experience and love the Lochsa, but if you can't raft until late July, then the Lochsa is not an option as by then it's too low for rafting. All the rivers we run are spectacular life-enriching experiences and no matter which you choose we promise you a fun-filled day of discovery. Your schedule may dictate the choices available.
Rivers are rated by the difficulty of their rapids, with Class I-II being easier than Class III (Intermediate) or Class IV (advanced). However bear in mind that the "most exciting" trip may not be the one appropriate for you. Previous rafting experience, water temperature and the age of those in your party determine which trips are appropriate for you. To help you decide, here's a list of rivers along with their season, water temperature and rapid classification from easiest to most difficult. (To learn more about rapid classifications, visit our Understanding Whitewater Classifications blog.
- Spokane River - Mostly class II, but some challenging Class III+ at certain levels in late May and June. Cold water in May/June then a warm-water gentle float trip in later July/August.
- Clark Fork - Class II-III with warmer (62-68 degree) temperatures in July and August
- Lower Deschutes - Class II-III+ with warmer (60-66 degree) temperatures in July-September
- Moyie River - Class III-III+ cold (48-58 degree) water in May/June
- St. Joe River - Class III-III+ cold (50-60 degree) water in May/June
- Lochsa River - Class IV - IV+ cold (45 degree) water in May/early June and cool (55-63 degree) in late June/early July
The Spokane River half-day trip and the Clark Fork River in western Montana are both great trips for families with younger children.
We have recommended minimum ages for our trips, but other factors matter too. Is your 12 year old small or large for her or his age? Are they are a strong swimmer? Have they been rafting before? In general, here are our guidelines:
- Spokane River - 12 years old through June. 5-7 years old in July and August
- Clark Fork - 7 years
- Lower Deschutes - 5-7 years
- Moyie River - 16 at higher flows, 14 at lower flows
- St. Joe River - 16 at higher flows, 12 at lower flows
- Lochsa River - 16 at higher flows, 14 at lower flows
Probably not. We prefer people with previous rafting experience on the Lochsa. Of all the rivers where we run 1-day trips, the chances of falling out of a raft are higher on the Lochsa than any other river. We want your first rafting experience to be a positive one. If you fall out and find out that you're terrified, you may not want to go rafting ever again. It's better to gain experience on an easier river where you're more likely to stay in the raft all day! Here's another way to think of it. Say you had never tasted wine in your life. Someone pours you a 20-year old French Bordeaux. With no point of comparison, the excellence of this wine would likely not be appreciated. Think of the Lochsa as the French Bordeaux. Better to learn more about whitewater on other rivers so you truly appreciate the Class IV power and excitement of the Lochsa's rapids.
The Spokane River half-day trip and Clark Fork full-day will be your only options close to Spokane/Coeur d'Alene. The Spokane River trip takes place in Spokane, while the Clark Fork is 2 1/2 hours east of Spokane in western Montana.
June is a time when rivers in our region are still running full as snowmelt pours down from the mountains. We offer trips on the Spokane, Moyie and St. Joe in June and all are fantastic options. We run the Moyie in early June and then move our trips and guides to the St. Joe for the remainder of the month. We run the Spokane all month and the whitewater is usually more difficult earlier in the month than later. For those with previous rafting experience looking for big whitewater thrills, the Lochsa is a great choice.
Yes! The number of spaces required for a private charter varies from river to river. On the Lochsa you would need to pay for 30 seats. On the Clark Fork, for 42. On the Lower Deschutes, we require that you pay for 21 seats for a private trip. Contact us for all the options for your church group, family reunion, school reunion, corporate retreat, etc.
Generally yes. Everyone wears a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and this is a more important tool than knowing how to swim. However, often people who swim are more comfortable in water and the idea of falling out of a raft. Your best choices would be an easier river like the Spokane, Lower Deschutes or Clark Fork.
Usually 5-7 people plus a guide ride in a raft. We also offer one-person sit-on-top kayaks as an option on our Spokane and Clark Fork trips.
When your plans are solidified, book your trip! Normally we have space available until a few days prior to a trip date. However, some days do fill up and we may not be able to accommodate your last-minute request. Bigger groups tend to book with us in the January-April time frame and often reserve an entire date. You can always check to see if the date you want is available through our online reservation system.
We've taken tens of thousands of people on our trips lasting from 1 to 6 days over the past 40+ years. We do our best to mitigate the natural risks of rafting. However we are human and nature can create difficult conditions. People fall out of rafts, rafts can turn over, people can accidentally hit another person in the raft with a paddle. In the end however, this is not Disneyland and our rafts are not on cables. Thus accidents can and do happen.
Yes! Our lunches are designed so that meat-eaters and vegetarians have good options. But let us know if your diet is gluten-free, vegan or have anything more strict that being a vegetarian.
Just meet us at the designated meeting point for each river and we take care of the local transport from there.
We have a great library of videos you can access here. These show the rivers and their scenery and may help you decide. And as mentioned above, the choices are always limited by the time of year you want to go rafting. In addition, you are always welcome to call our office for advice.