Lower Selway Rafting
The Selway River flows through Idaho's Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, and the wilderness section is one of America's premier wilderness whitewater adventures. At the end of the wilderness trip, the river meets a Forest Service road and then pours over Selway Falls. Our one-day rafting trip on the Selway begins just below the falls and before we board our rafts we admire the splendor of this frothy cataract. In June and early July we sometimes see salmon who have returned from the Pacific Ocean, leaping up the falls to find their spawning beds upstream. Later in the summer the flow diminishes exposing the long-enduring bedrock that forms the falls.
Our Lower Selway trip covers 15- to 18-miles and has a number of splashy Class II rapids and at certain water levels a few Class III including Rock Island and Falls Creek rapids. Flowing from snowmelt in the Bitterroot Mountains along the Idaho/Montana border, the river is crystal clear. Steep slopes covered in cedar, fir and pine rise up dramatically on both sides of the river. This is an inland rainforest and some of the plants that exist here are also found in the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington.
When the United States Congress passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, one of the original eight rivers given protection under the Act was the Middle Fork of the Clearwater and its tributaries, the Selway and Lochsa. ROW Adventures is proud to offer trips on all 3 of these Wild and Scenic Rivers, each of which have been Federally protected in recognition of their outstanding beauty and value to our Nation.
Bordering the 1.1 million-acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area, one of the Nation’s largest, these rivers are embraced by a cedar forest that carpets the mountains in rich green. While our Lochsa trips are for serious whitewater enthusiasts (and described separately) the lower Selway and Middle Fork of the Clearwater are gentle floats with some class II-III rapids at certain higher water levels and easy class I-II rapids at lower levels. We offer these trips from June until late August and they are perfect for folks of all ages looking for a day of relaxation in nature. By the middle of July, the water temperatures have risen to around 65-70 degrees and are very comfortable for swimming. The water is crystal clear and you can see fish in the deep pools along the way. Along the river we’re likely to see various waterfowl, osprey, bald eagles, deer and perhaps even a playful river otter. ROW also offers fishing trips on the lower Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater for those who want to wet a line. Our Selway trips are raft only, but for our Clearwater float, we offer you the choice of riding in rubber rafts that range from 13’ to 16’ and carry six to eight passengers plus a guide, sit on top kayaks, or inner tubes. Meeting Place: Our trips are based from the River Dance Lodge - Idaho’s Outdoor Adventure Resort, located in the hamlet of Syringa, along the banks of the Clearwater River.
Meeting Time: Trips on the lower Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater generally meet at 9:00 AM, but different times can be arranged for large groups. You can leave your car at the River Dance Lodge for the duration of the trip. How to Find Us: Syringa is 90 miles east of Lewiston, Idaho and 129 miles west of Missoula, Montana. River Dance Lodge is located on the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway on U.S.12 in the heart of Nez Perce Territory. This route is the easiest way to trace the Lewis and Clark Expedition trail along the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers. If you plan to fly, the closest major airport is in Missoula, just over two hours away. You can also fly to Spokane and drive four hours to our meeting point or from Boise which is 5 hours.
What to Bring:
- Sunglasses with retaining head strap - such as "Chums"
- Swimsuit and/or quick-dry top and bottom
- Tennis shoes or sports sandals with straps (No flip-flops)
- Personal water bottle
- Waterproof camera (optional)
- Towel for the end of the day (optional)
- Polypropylene long underwear or non-cotton base layer on cold days.
*Please note we require a minimum of 6 guests to run a trip. If you're on your own, however, you can still join in the fun! We'll be sure to place you with another group in order to confirm your trip.
Images & Videos
9:00 AM Meeting time
10:00 AM Hit the River!
NOONish Stop for a delisious lunch prepared by our amazing guides
4:00-5:00 PM Back to your Vehicles*
* Please notes times are relative
ROW offers whitewater rafting trips on the last twenty miles of the Selway River, from Selway Falls to the river's confluence with the Lochsa River. This section of the Selway is a perfect family rafting trip and is ideal for beginners since it requires no previous whitewater rafting experience.
"The Selway, which meets the Lochsa near the hamlet of Lowell, is a different character. Where the Lochsa is stirred and frenzied, the Selway is more meditative, deeper, moving at a much gentler pace for the most part. It is another one of the places here that reminds me of Alaska, mainly because of the wildlife. While hiking and fishing the Selway, I've seen moose, elk, black bears, every manner of raptor, and have come upon tracks of cougars, the most elusive of Rocky Mountain inhabitants."
- New York Times, "The Last Wilderness" July 1, 2007
The Selway River is protected by the U.S. Congress under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and is one of Idaho's most pristine rivers. This piece of Idaho is unique because it includes a temperate rainforest. Some of the plants found here are also found on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, but nowhere else. ROW's Lower Selway rafting trips float you through a scenic masterpiece.
Just one launch per day is permitted and a Selway raft trip carries you through a thick forest of cedar, fir, and larch. The Selway's banks are overgrown with emerald ferns, spongy mosses, huckleberries, and mountain spray. You'll likely see osprey, bald eagles, and waterfowl as you paddle, maybe even a playful river otter.
ROW's professional interpretive river guides will teach you about the Nez Perce Tribe, the original inhabitants of this majestic land. The Selway River provided rich fishing waters and you can still see salmon jumping at Selway falls early in the summer.
You have the choice of riding in a raft or paddling your own sit-on-top kayak or inflatable kayak, depending on water levels and availability. Your rafting or kayaking adventure on the Selway begins and ends near Syringa, Idaho.
Permits & Licenses:
ROW is proud to be an Equal Opportunity recreation service provider under permit from the U.S. Forest Service. We operate under special use permit from the Clearwater National Forest. All our operations and facilities are operated on a non-discriminatory basis. ROW is bonded and fully licensed by the states of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We are members of America Outdoors, Idaho Outfitters and Guides Assn., Montana Outfitters and Guides Assn., National Association of Interpretation; Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation and many other effective organizations.
Dates & Rates
Weekdays only - May-June, Call for Availablity
Adults - $115
Youth (ages 16 and under) - $105
*based on availability
**Prices are plus 8% Land & Water Access fees.
If you are interested in a gentle or moderate float trip, we can accommodate you or your group on the Selway or Clearwater during the months of May and June.
Important Notice: ROW has an excellent safety record, but you should know that whitewater rafting is inherently risky. You will be required to sign a "Release and Assumption of Risk" agreement prior to the trip, recognizing and accepting the risks involved. If you're interested in trip cancellation, travel or accident insurance, contact our office. We do not allow alcoholic beverages or any drugs
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