RIVER RATING: Class II-IV
TRIP MILES: 40 Miles
PUT-IN: 25 miles upstream of Riggins ID
TAKE-OUT: Riggins ID
RETURN TIME: 3:30 PM MST Riggins, Idaho
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 8
BOAT TYPE: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft, Inflatable Kayak
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.
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Salmon Rapids Lodge (Not Included in trip cost)
- MEALS INCLUDED: none
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.
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Riverside Camping
- MEALS INCLUDED: L, D
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, or "Daring Duckies" as we call them, 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.
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Riverside Camping
- MEALS INCLUDED: B, L, D
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.
- MEALS INCLUDED: B, L