There are a few great class IV whitewater runs in the world, and in the US, the three most famous are the Gauley in West Virginia, the Tuolumne in California and the Lochsa in Idaho. Of the three, the Lochsa has the most whitewater miles. While the Lochsa is legendary as one of the top whitewater day-trips in the world, fewer people know that there are over 60 miles of rapids and river canyon making the Lochsa great for two and three-day trips as well. No other river in the US offers so many class IV river miles as the two-day Lochsa river trip which covers close to 40 miles with almost non-stop whitewater action! The three-day trip adds another 15-20 miles with more moderate rapids making the perfect warm up for the wild whitewater that is downstream. ROW brings our camping expertise to the banks of the Lochsa providing you with comfortable riverside tents, delectable meals and campfire fun!
The season starts in early to mid-May and we run until July 10th or so, depending on the snowpack. The Lochsa is completely undammed and flows depending entirely on snowmelt and rain. Thus flows increase and decrease during the season. It's ranges from a fairly big volume 15,000-20,000 cfs to a low of around 1200 cfs. Rapids such as Log Jam, Mile Long, Stanley Creek, Triple Hole, Castle Creek, Ten Pin Alley, Grim Reaper, Bloody Mary, Surprise, Termination and Lochsa Falls are just some of the many that make for a thrilling whitewater rafting trip. We recommend paddlers have previous whitewater experience and come expecting to get very wet!
ROW provides wetsuits, wetsuit jackets, booties and helmets.
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Meet ROW's Team Leader at the River Dance Lodge at your designated meeting time for a brief orientation meeting to answer any last-minute questions. About 45 minutes later you depart in our bus and travel to the rafting trip launch point. Along the way your guides will tell you a few stories about the area. Once at the river our staff prepares you with a thorough safety orientation. We launch on the river and enjoy rafting a few miles before stopping for a delicious riverside lunch.
Our three-day Lochsa adventures put-in near the confluence with White Sands Creek and the Crooked Fork. The first day is an intermediate whitewater day floating through a beautifully forested canyon of cedars and fir. The next day we continue downstream, running the same section of river as our two-day trips, which is an exciting day of big and technical whitewater with challenging moves.
On two-day trips we don't have a "warm up" day, so start off with big whitewater immediately! This is some of the most technically challenging whitewater to be found anywhere on the planet and requires your full attention and enthusiasm! Few rivers offer so much raft-bashing quality whitewater!
On both our two-day and three-day Lochsa whitewater rafting trips, we arrive at camp in the late afternoon. Carry your personal gear to the tent of your choice and enjoy the spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery. The first night on the three-day trip stays at a quiet camp on a bend in the river. On night two of the three-day trip, and the only camping night on the two-day trip, we stay on an amazing island with the rushing river on one side and gentle, quiet current on the other. Enjoy free time for hiking, fishing, reading or just relaxing. Hors d'oeuvres are served around 6:00 and dinner around 7:30. After dinner a campfire is lit and an evening of laughter and sharing begins making the perfect ending for a fantastic day of whitewater rafting.
We wake you around 7:30 AM with the smell of fresh-brewed coffee. Breakfast is served around 8:00 and while we clean up the kitchen you pack up your personal gear. The rafts are loaded and we depart from camp about 9:30 for an adventure-packed day of white water rafting with rapids, great Western scenery and fun. Our guides share stories as we raft. You learn about the thick forest and trees that surround the river as well as the forest fires that have ravaged this land in the past. You also learn about the Nez Perce, the original inhabitants of this rugged land.
If you are on the three-day trip, this is the technical whitewater day with rapids such as Stanley Creek, Castle Creek, Triple Hole and many, many more. This is heart-pounding whitewater that requires superb teamwork.
People on the two-day trip paddle the "Goat Range" on this day, with famous rapids such as Ten-Pin Alley, the Grim Reaper, Bloody Mary, Horsetail Falls, Otter Slide, Lochsa Falls, Termination and more. This section is less technical than the upper section, but has bigger waves and provides an amazing day of whitewater.
Folks on two-day trips get off the river between 3:30 and 5:00 PM and return to the River Dance Lodge while those on three-day trips continue with another night's camping on the river. After dinner and the evening campfire, watch for a glorious star-studded sky.
Day three of the three-day trip is the same as Day 2 of the two-day trip. It's a big day paddling through the Goat Range. Here are dozens of rapids including House Wave, Horsetail Falls, Bloody Mary, Pickin Up the Pieces and Termination. By the time the day is over you'll be grinning from ear to ear. Return to the River Dance Lodge at the end of the day. Overnight at this vacation resort, or begin your travels home.
Notes on 2 & 3 Day Trips:
3-Day Trips: We raft about 60 miles of the Lochsa. Generally, on 3-day trips, we begin near the headwaters of the Lochsa, where Crooked and White Sand creeks meet. These trips begin on gentle waters, allowing us to practice our paddling skills and learn the ways of the river. The next two days are filled with one exploding rapid after another. If the water gets too low to float the furthest upstream section of river, then we begin our 3-day trips at the same place as our 2-day trips. Then, on the 3rd day, we repeat the 2nd day since this section has the wildest rapids. People love it. Mile for mile, the Lochsa is unequaled for whitewater excitement.
Whitewater is only one of the many attractions of the Lochsa. Our camps are set amidst cedar forests in a deep, thickly forested canyon. We may enjoy sightings of eagles and osprey as well as numerous other birds. Moss-covered rocks, star-lit nights and evening campfires are but a few of the reasons we strongly encourage you to join us for a 3-day trip in this enchanting land.
2-Day Trips: cover the same section of river as the last 2 days of the 3-day trip, and include one night of camping on the ROW Island. This is a great 2-day getaway featuring 40 miles of fun-filled and action-packed whitewater!
The Lochsa parallels Highway 12, allowing us to transport your gear between camps in our van. It is also the reason we can offer 2 and 3-day trips at a lower price than other trips of comparable length. All overnight trips include all meals starting with lunch on Day One and ending with lunch on the last day.
Dates & Rates
2-Day Rafting/Camping Tours
- Monday to Thursday departures - $530 per person
- Friday, Saturday or Sunday departures - $560 per person
3-Day Rafting/Camping Tours
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday departures - $990 per person
- Friday, Saturday or Sunday departures - $1190 per person
- Full service of our Adventure Consultants
- Full service and knowledge of our talented river guides
- All rafting equipment - including wetsuits, splash jackets, booties, helmets and PFD's
- All camping equipment - including tents, sleeping bags, mats, pillows, etc.
- All meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on day 2 or 3 (depending on the length of trip booked)
- Clean drinking water available at all times
- Private pre-tour orientation meeting
- Transportation to/from river meeting points
- 8% Land and Water Access Fee
- Airfare/transportation to and from Syringa
- Shuttling your car from launch to take out point if driving
- Gratuities for guides
- Travel protection plan
- Pre & post-trip hotel reservations
- Items of a personal nature