2-3 Day Rafting Tours on the Salmon River Near Riggins

The Salmon River in Idaho is the longest free-flowing river in the contiguous United States, contained in a single state.  ROW Adventures offers trips on several sections of the river, including five and six-day trips on the legendary Middle Fork of the Salmon, two and three-day trips on the Main Salmon near Riggins, and three to six-day trips on the lower Salmon River Canyons where we also offer our five-day Family Magic rafting trips. Our trips on the Salmon near Riggins are a great introduction to the majesty of the Salmon River and the American West!  The rapids are intermediate class II-III with a few challenging class IV at certain water levels.  In June the river is high and cool.  In July and August the flows moderate and the water warms up for ideal swimming conditions.  This section of the Salmon is perfect for both the beginner and veteran white water rafter.

Idaho Salmon River Near Riggins

The Salmon River near Riggins is one of three trips on the Salmon River operated by ROW Adventures. The Salmon River flows unimpeded through 425 miles of Central Idaho before its waters join the Snake River at the lower end of Hells Canyon to continue the journey to the Pacific Ocean. The free-flowing Salmon has incredible white sand beaches, diverse scenery, warm water and exciting rapids. This trip on the scenic Salmon is an excellent introduction to whitewater rafting and to Idaho's diverse wilderness and wild rivers.

We offer two and three-day Salmon River Rafting Near Riggins that are available for private rafting trips for families and groups, as well as scheduled departures on select dates from late June to late August, when water levels are ideal for this section of the river. Beginners and experienced rafters alike will find plenty of excitement on this stretch of whitewater. On our Salmon River Rafting trips near Riggins, the two-day trip covers about 25-30 miles while the three-day trips floats roughly 40 miles.  Water levels determine our exact launch point, which can be anywhere from 12 to 25 miles east of the town of Riggins, Idaho, known among locals as the "Whitewater Capital of the Universe."

On some trips, a highlight is a hike to a mountain hot spring.  All trips offer plenty of rambunctious whitewater rapids and stunning mountain scenery. Lake Creek, Ruby, Time Zone, Lightning Creek and Trap Creek are just a few of the exciting Class II-IV rapids you encounter. These rapids are known as "pool and drop" and are perfect for paddle rafts and inflatable kayaks. Between rapids you float along in the warm water, snapping a few pictures or just soaking up the sun and scenery.

While we travel on the river, our guides talk about the history of the Salmon River - the native peoples that lived along its banks, the white men that settled here and the first settlers to brave the Salmon's whitewater. There are also a few old mining sites that we'll stop to investigate. These were worked by Chinese miners from about 1850 to 1890. You'll learn about their culture and marvel at the rock houses that remain. These are some of the best-preserved examples of Chinese rock dwellings in the world outside of China. We hope that through hikes, stories and interpretation you'll gain an appreciation of the wild and historic treasures that dot the shores of Idaho's Salmon River.

Weather on the Salmon River is usually hot and sunny (80-90 degrees during the day) with water temperatures in the low 60's early in the season and rising to the high 60's as the summer's sun heats up the river. We camp on beautiful and expansive white sand beaches that are perfect for Frisbee, volleyball and sunbathing. Fishing and hiking are also popular campsite pursuits. Evening temperatures are mild (60-70 degrees), the sky is free from light pollution and there are no mosquitoes. This Salmon River offers idyllic camping, and you will discover why the river once dubbed "The River of No Return" is a river you will want to return to time and again.

Honoring Native People and Lands: Recognizing the significance of our travels through Indigenous territory, we would like to recognize the communities whose lands we visit. It is our hope, in doing so, to honor their legacies, their lives, and their descendants. To learn more about territory acknowledgement and specific information about the Native communities of this region, please visit our Territory Acknowledgement page.

 


Permits & Licenses:

ROW Inc., doing business as ROW Adventures, is proud to be an Equal Opportunity recreation service provider under permit from the Cottonwood Resource Area of the Bureau of Land Management.  All our operations and facilities are operated on a non-discriminatory basis.  ROW Inc. is bonded and fully licensed by the State of Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board.

Images & Videos

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tents along the salmon river
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father and son fly fishing
river side camping
salmon river map
raft on the salmon river
raft guide
eggs benedict
tents along the salmon river
salmon river in idaho
whitewater raft
rafting
father and son fly fishing
river side camping
salmon river map

Itinerary

salmon river map
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2 - Day Itinerary

Day 0: Meet in Riggins, Evening Orientation Meeting

Before our trip begins we meet in Riggins, a small town located in a canyon overlooking the confluence of the Salmon River and the Little Salmon River in west central Idaho. Riggins lies off of US Highway 95, and it is easily accessed by car traveling north or south along the highway. The nearest commercial airports are: Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (two hours drive); Spokane International Airport (four hours drive); and Boise Airport (four hours drive). If you are flying into one of these airports, you can then rent a car to reach Riggins.

Once in Riggins, we recommend that you stay at either the Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge (877-957-2743) or the River View Motel (888-256-2322). Both hotels have storage facilities for your luggage while you are on the river and cars may be left in their parking lots.

We meet you at 7:30 PM Mountain Time the evening before your trip at the Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge. Once we have gathered, we have an orientation meeting to further discuss what to expect on the next day’s adventure, answer any last minute questions you might have, and provide you with waterproof bags. We'll also have some of our specialty outdoor items for sale such as ROW hats, eyeglass retainers, and T-shirts.

 

Day 1: Whitewater Rafting, Riverside Camping, Free Time Around Camp

Unless otherwise directed by your team leader at the orientation meeting, we leave the hotel in Riggins about 8:00 am and drive around 40 minutes upstream to the launch point. Here we have a safety orietation and then get on our rafts to start the journey.  It's not long before we arrive at some fun rapids.  We are surrounded by steep mountain canyons dotted with towering ponderosa pines.  Before long we stop for lunch followed by more fun whitewater and spectacular Western scenery all afternoon.  We set up camp by about 4:00 to 4:30 pm with time to explore the area, swim and enjoy the typical hot summer weather.  About 5:30 or 6:00 we serve 
ROW d'oeuvres - our delicious appetizers before sitting down for a scrumptious dinner.  As the sky darkens we light a campfire and end our necks up to see the star-jeweled heavens.
 

Day 2: Time Zone Rapids, Riverside Lunch, Wildlife Viewing, Return to Riggins

The morning sun heats up our tents and we rise for another glorious day on the Salmon River.  Hot breakfast and coffee get the senses moving and as the guides pack up the rafts, you take down your tent and pack your belongings.  By 9:30 or so we're back on the water, floating downstream for a great day of rapids, scenery and learnning.  The town of Riggins marks the border between Mountain Time and Pacific Time, so naturally we raft through Time Zone rapids!  This class III rapid is followed by a fantastic succession of others incluiding Chair Rapids, Tight Squeeze, Trap Creek and Fiddle Creek.  Between the rapids are calm pools perfect for a refreshing dip and also giving time for our guides to tell you some of the river's history. We stop for lunch along the banks and continue on to our take-out, arriving around 3:00-4:00 pm.  From here you get into your car, or we shuttle you back to Riggins where we started.

ACCOMMODATION : Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge, Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : All Meals While on Tour

3 - Day Itinerary

Day 0: Meet in Riggins, Evening Orientation Meeting

Before our trip begins we meet in Riggins, a small town located in a canyon overlooking the confluence of the Salmon River and the Little Salmon River in west central Idaho. Riggins lies off of US Highway 95, and it is easily accessed by car traveling north or south along the highway. The nearest commercial airports are: Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (two hours drive); Spokane International Airport (four hours drive); and Boise Airport (four hours drive). If you are flying into one of these airports, you can then rent a car to reach Riggins.

Once in Riggins, we recommend that you stay at either the Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge (877-957-2743) or the River View Motel (888-256-2322). Both hotels have storage facilities for your luggage while you are on the river and cars may be left in their parking lots.

We meet you at 7:30 PM Mountain Time the evening before your trip at the Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge. Once we have gathered, we have an orientation meeting to further discuss what to expect on the next day’s adventure, answer any last minute questions you might have, and provide you with waterproof bags. We'll also have some of our specialty outdoor items for sale such as ROW hats, eyeglass retainers, and T-shirts.

 

Day 1: Whitewater Rafting, Riverside Camping

Unless otherwise directed by your team leader at the orientation meeting, we gather at 8:00 a.m. to leave the Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge in the ROW bus and drive about one hour to the put-in site.

We board the rafts and set off on our trip down the wilderness shrouded canyon of the Salmon River. Soon after our launch you come upon the rambunctious whitewater of Vinegar Creek Rapid found just below the confluence of Vinegar Creek and Salmon River. As we continue our paddle through the canyon for the rest of the day, you can witness the passage of the river and wilderness Lewis and Clark once wondered at.

We set up camp near some mountain hot springs around 4:00 in the afternoon. Enjoy the free time for a dip in the springs, hiking, fishing, or relaxing on the banks of the river. We reconvene for hors d’oeuvres around 6:00 before settling in for a delicious and fresh dinner. Bring the day to a close with campfire camaraderie and sleeping under the star-studded summer skies.

 

Day 2: Rafting, Hiking, Wildlife Watching, Wilderness Camping

The morning begins bright and early around 7:00. Enjoy fresh-brewed coffee and the brisk mountain air before breakfast is served and we pack up camp. The rafts are loaded and we depart from camp around 9:30 for an adventure-packed day of rapids, magnificent scenery and fun. 

Today we encounter Ruby and Lake Creek Rapids, two of the biggest of the river’s rapids. These rapids are thrilling examples of "pool and drop" rapids, where a series of short rapids are followed by quiet pools. Pool and drop rapids are perfect for our inflatable kayaks and provide a brief respite as you head toward the next thrilling drop. If the rapid levels are right, we might stop at Ruby Rapids to collect the star garnets that rest on the large rocks along the shore and in the sand. Between each roaring rapid, you may float alongside the raft in the warm water or soak in the sun and the alpine scenery from a drier perch. Elk, deer, moose, and mountain goats roam the river banks while eagles, hawks, and osprey can be seen swooping down from their towering roosts in search for fish.

We once again make camp in the afternoon, leaving plenty of time for you to discover wilderness adventures off the water. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and wine among nature’s sights and sounds while the evening meal is prepared. Afterward, take in the bright night sky and the relaxing sound of the river rippling past as you settle in for the night.

 

Day 3: Splashy Whitewater, Return to Riggins

Today takes you from one turbulent rapid to another! We break camp and breakfast early once again before setting out on one of the best stretches the Salmon River has to offer. Today’s float brings out your intrepid spirit as you travel through the Time Zone Rapids, followed by the Tight Squeeze Rapids, Chair Rapids, Trap Rapids, and Fiddle Creek Rapids. Between chutes and pools, drops and eddies, learn more about the Salmon River’s history, its reputation as “The River of No Return,” and the pioneers and miners that tried to make their fortune along the foaming river.

Our journey along the river brings us back into Riggins, upon which we unload our kayaks and return to The Best Western Rapids Lodge before the end of the afternoon.

ACCOMMODATION : Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge, Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : All Meals While on Tour

Dates & Rates

Supplementary Information

2-Day Rafting Trip

  • Departures: By request for private groups of six or more
  • Adult Price: $695
  • Youth Price: $645

*Minimum of six guests to guarantee departure

3-Day Rafting Trip

  • Departures: June 8, 15, 22, 29 & by request for large groups
  • Adult Price: $955
  • Youth Price: $855

*Minimum of six guests to guarantee departure

Group Rates for 10+ guests on a 3-day adventure = $855 per person
 

Reviews

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Reviews

5

Riggins 2 day

I can’t even explain what a great trip this was for our whole family. We had from 11-66 in age represented and brave water people to timid water people. Our trip was a blast for all that attended. Food was great and guides were fun and knowledgeable. We will definitely be back!

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