The Bruneau River in southern Idaho is among the most spectacular desert rivers in the United States. Whitewater rafting connoisseurs looking for a remote wilderness river trip will find few that compare with the Bruneau River. From mellow Class II whitewater to raging Class V, each section on the Bruneau River is unique. ROW's 40-mile Bruneau trip is an incredible Idaho adventure with exciting whitewater, desert canyon scenery, and diverse wildlife and plant life.

For a longer and more exciting adventure, you can combine a Bruneau raft trip with the narrow and fast-moving whitewater of the Jarbidge River. Both the Bruneau and Jarbidge are early season rivers with limited departures.

Fast-flowing and narrow, with action-packed rapids requiring quick responses, we run small rafts on this stunning desert canyon river.

Bruneau and Jarbidge River Trip

Flowing through dramatic sheer-walled canyons, the remote Bruneau River is among the world's best-kept whitewater rafting secrets. Undammed and free-flowing, the Bruneau is only raftable during the spring snowmelt from April to mid-June. Secluded and impressive, technical and incredible, the Bruneau is one of the nation's finest desert rivers, and one of the most exciting whitewater trips we offer.

Whitewater permits for the Bruneau are strictly controlled and ROW operates just three rafting trips per year on this isolated river. Jarbidge/Bruneau Whitewater Combo trips are available by request. The Jarbidge River is a 29-mile stretch of narrow and technical whitewater that adds a lot of excitement to a Bruneau trip and shortens our trip shuttle times, but it also makes a more expedition-style trip. The tight corridors of the Jarbidge require light rafts and a portage around Jarbidge Falls, so we provide fewer creature comforts on a combination trip.

Newly designated a Wild & Scenic River by President Obama on March 31, 2009, the Jarbidge and Bruneau Rivers are truly national treasures.

The whitewater experience on these rivers is as diverse as the flora and fauna growing on the neighboring canyon hillsides. Intermediate Class II rapids and raging Class IV's keep our guests hooting and hollering when they're not busy marveling at the desert canyon's incredible kaleidoscope of life.

Wildflowers, birds, reptiles, beaver, otter, coyote, antelope, and bighorn sheep are common on the Bruneau. Campsites are set on sandy beaches among twisted juniper trees and sagebrush. And as your guides prepare the evening meal, you may want to hike up a canyon draw for sweeping views and a chance to glimpse some of the area's wildlife. After dinner, we'll sit beside the glowing embers of a campfire and admire the pinnacles of rock silhouetted against the fading evening sun.

For the nature lover and river connoisseur, whitewater rafting on the Bruneau River is a dream come true. In May the desert is in full bloom and dozens of plants are flowering, making the canyon a rainbow of color.

 

Images & Videos

A red raft curving around a river bend between canyon ways on the Bruneau River in Idaho
A sprawl of tents spread out riverside in Idaho
Side view of a red raft moving through a rapid with a big canyon wall behind it on a sunny day
Close up on a man on the left and woman on the right holding up aluminum camping mugs and smiling
The shadow of two people in an open oval of space between towering canyon walls in Idaho
People paddling through a rapid in southern Idaho on a sunny day
Birds eye view of a camping set up along the Bruneau River with red rafts in the water
A red whitewater raft full of paddlers wearing yellow helmets paddling through a rapid in Idaho
A group of people sitting around a blue table playing a game of cribbage
The shadow of four people stretching and getting ready for a day of rafting at sunrise
People smiling while being rowed through a whitewater rapid on the Bruneau River in Idaho
A group of people around a campfire at dusk while multi day rafting
Person standing up holding a grey plate with steak, greek salad, and mashed potatoes
A group of people in a line hiking through a green field with towering canyon walls in Idaho
Two guests wearing red life jackets and the one on the left holding a red paddle smiling
Panoramic view of the Bruneau River looking downstream on a sunny day
The back of two people wearing ROW Adventures life jackets as they get splashed while paddling on a red raft through a whitewater rapid
A group of people sitting around a camp table next to a group of tents at sunset
Two guests and a raft guide all smiling while on the Bruneau River on a sunny day
A man rowing a boat with two people sitting in front of him paddling and smiling through a rapid in Idaho
A red raft curving around a river bend between canyon ways on the Bruneau River in Idaho
A sprawl of tents spread out riverside in Idaho
Side view of a red raft moving through a rapid with a big canyon wall behind it on a sunny day
Close up on a man on the left and woman on the right holding up aluminum camping mugs and smiling
The shadow of two people in an open oval of space between towering canyon walls in Idaho
People paddling through a rapid in southern Idaho on a sunny day
Birds eye view of a camping set up along the Bruneau River with red rafts in the water
A red whitewater raft full of paddlers wearing yellow helmets paddling through a rapid in Idaho
A group of people sitting around a blue table playing a game of cribbage
The shadow of four people stretching and getting ready for a day of rafting at sunrise
People smiling while being rowed through a whitewater rapid on the Bruneau River in Idaho
A group of people around a campfire at dusk while multi day rafting
Person standing up holding a grey plate with steak, greek salad, and mashed potatoes
A group of people in a line hiking through a green field with towering canyon walls in Idaho
Two guests wearing red life jackets and the one on the left holding a red paddle smiling
Panoramic view of the Bruneau River looking downstream on a sunny day
The back of two people wearing ROW Adventures life jackets as they get splashed while paddling on a red raft through a whitewater rapid
A group of people sitting around a camp table next to a group of tents at sunset
Two guests and a raft guide all smiling while on the Bruneau River on a sunny day
A man rowing a boat with two people sitting in front of him paddling and smiling through a rapid in Idaho

Itinerary

bruneau river map
Collapse all days

Day 0

Travel from your home to Boise, Idaho, and meet ROW’s Team Leader at the local hotel at 7:30 PM Mountain Time for a one-hour orientation meeting to answer any last-minute questions and give you your waterproof bags to pack.
 

Day 1

Depart at 7:30 AM in our bus or van for a trip to the launch point. For our Bruneau trips, this is a solid four-hour drive, or more, depending on the conditions on the remote dirt roads. Once at the river our staff prepares you with a thorough safety orientation while the personal gear is loaded. We launch on the river and enjoy rafting a few miles before stopping for a delicious riverside lunch. In general, we travel between six and 12 miles the first day. Around 4:00 PM we arrive at camp. These trips are much more participatory than some of our other rafting trips and everyone helps set up camp and tents. Once that’s done, 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 camp is lit and an evening of laughter and sharing begins.

Day 2

We wake you around 7:00 AM with the smell of fresh-brewed coffee. Breakfast is served around 7:30 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 and amazing scenery. For those interested in the history of the area, we might stop and visit an Indian rock art site left by the original inhabitants of this rugged land. We stop for lunch and continue in the afternoon with alternating calm water and rapids. We arrive at camp late afternoon and settle in for an evening of fun, food and later on, star-gazing into the dark desert skies.

Day 3

Today your river adventure takes you through more breathtaking canyons jutting upwards into the cobalt sky. These desert rivers flow through canyons of rhyolite which were formed when volcanic ash exploded in vast quantity and settled over the land millions of years ago. Then the rivers carved their way through it.

At camp this evening our guides may set up horseshoes or guide a hike. We'll refuel with a nutritious meal and the night sky and fresh mountain air will help you sleep like a baby.

Day 4

We pass a few old homesteads along the way, from those days when this “middle of nowhere” was no more so than other unsettled areas of the west. This is the big whitewater day with “Five-Mile Rapid.” Another evening of camping under the star-studded sky.
 

Day 5

More rapids, soaring eagles, and incredible scenery. We may see some playful river otter swimming and frolicking or a coyote running along the river’s edge. Today we enjoy our last riverside lunch with a big smile for the group photo. Then, around 1:30 PM or so we reach our take-out and return to Boise. We typically arrive back in Boise by 3:00 PM.  Most guests will overnight in Boise at a local hotel. The next morning you can continue your travels or begin your journey home. If you drove to Boise your car is patiently waiting for you. If you are flying, take the hotel shuttle 5 minutes to the Boise airport.

Day

ROW. Inc. is proud to be an Equal Opportunity recreation service provider under special use permit from the Boise and Vale Districts of the Bureau of Land Management.  

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD)
Jun 01, 2024 to Jun 05, 2024 $2,490£0€0$0$0$2,490£0€0$0$0
Jun 10, 2024 to Jun 14, 2024 $2,490£0€0$0$0$2,490£0€0$0$0

Supplementary Information

2024 5-day adventures @ $2490 per person

June 1st - June 5th

June 10th - June 14th

TRIP INCLUDES: 

  • Services of our talented adventure consultants and professional guides
  • Hand-crafted itineraries
  • All meals/beverages as indicated in the itinerary (including beer and wine) 
  • Clean drinking water available at all times
  • All rafting/camping gear 
  • Specialized equipment needed for activities such as helmets, paddles, personal flotation devices, etc.
  • Private pre-tour orientation meeting
  • Transportation to/from river meeting points

DOES NOT INCLUDE: 

  • 6% Land and water access fee
  • Airfare/transportation to beginning and ending points
  • 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

Reviews

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Reviews

5

Rafting the Bruneau

June 2023 Bruneau river trip was great. I have rafted throughout Idaho , but was never interested in a desert river trip. The Bruneau changed all that! Deep majestic canyons, lots of wildlife and great whitewater. More than I would have thought from a 1500cfs run. Very remote with few other rafters and a small group size made the trip special. ROW was the right outfitter choice for me . They were talented with the boats, great cooks , and everyone of the guides have a deep passion for protecting and preserving the resource. I was impressed. Thanks ROW!

5

Epic paddling trip!

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip down the Bruneau River with ROW Adventures in the first week of June 2023. Our right-size group of 8 guests, 5 guides and the professional photographer, Chad Case, had a wonderful time. A bit of 4 wheeling excitement on the road in! Water levels were steady and higher than common for this time of year, at about 1500-1600 cfs. This made for high speeds and fewer exposed rocks, and a water-filled canyon. Food was excellent (salmon first dinner, steak last night with a pineapple upside down cake for dessert before the Thunderstorm hit!), individuals' dietary preferences addressed at all meals, and clear instructions from the guides every step of the way. Epic rapids on day 4, no swimmers but plenty of excitement. Easy conversations blended with local history and geology information. I'll be back next year for another trip with ROW Adventures. THANK YOU.

5

Bruneau River trip June 1 - 5, 2023

The Bruneau trip with ROW Adventures was absolutely fabulous. The river corridor and geological uniqueness was incredible! Couple that with great professional guides, interesting conversation, information on the history and geology of the area made for a joyous adventure. The whitewater was also challenging and engaging, and personally I enjoyed the paddle rafting and felt very safe with all 3 of the different paddle raft guides. I would highly recommend this trip.

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