With more than 16,000 miles of rivers and streams to its credit, it's no wonder that Idaho is considered a top destination for whitewater rafting. Approximately 31,000 whitewater river miles stretch across the state, ranging from the gentler riffles and small waves of a Class II river to the exhilarating rapids of a Class V.
Idaho's mountainous terrain and vast stretches of undeveloped forestland provide the ideal setting for river exploration. The Snake River (near Idaho Falls) and Salmon River, (in the center of the state), are among Idaho's most popular rivers for organized tours of class III-IV rivers. The Payette, near Boise in the south western part of the state, ranges the gamut, from docile class I rapids suitable for young children and first-timers to the rollicking turbulence of a class V+. The Payette's Staircase Rapids, which is class III-IV, is a popular destination for both experienced rafters and organized river rafting tours.
For those who do prefer to raft with a group, Idaho has no shortage of white water tour companies. Some companies focus a specific geographic area or set of rivers, while other larger companies advertise tours in several states. Most offer set tours ranging from two hours to a full day of rafting; a few will customize a tour on an individual basis. Longer tours generally include stops for lunch and short breaks. Multi-day trips often include camping facilities with catered meals with return transportation in a company vehicle. The preferred time of year to raft depends upon the river, but summer is often an excellent time to raft, when Idaho's warm mountain weather is at its best.
Rafting Guides & Outfitters Listed by River:
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
The Idaho Paddler Whitewater Gems by Sean Glaccum. A guide to 72 different whitewater runs in Idaho covering rivers, creeks and water falls, accompanied with a full page photo and directions. This book will get you the adventure you are looking for and get you there with the info to have a great time. Order now...
Idaho the Whitewater State by Grant Amaral (Author), Laura Andrews (Editor, Illustrator), Doug Ammons (Designer, Editor), Mary Williams (Author). The complete guidebook to the rivers of Idaho. Containing over 100 different runs, 100 maps, 16 color and 52 black and white photos, The Whitewater State is the best-selling Idaho guidebook. Order now...
Whitewater Rafting by Graeme Addison. Paperback, 96 pages, Stackpole Books; 1st edition (February 2001). Clear, concise text and easy-to-read illustrations show how to read the water and maneuver the craft. Chapters on safety cover the basic equipment. An extensive listing of contacts and select destinations is also included. Order now...
The Complete Whitewater Rafter by Jeff Bennett. Paperback, 196 pages, International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 1st edition (January 1, 1996). Offers comprehensive course in river running with step-by-step pointers including tips from top guides, outfitters, and instructors, plus a detailed guide to Class V rafting techniques. Order now...
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