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With more whitewater river miles than anywere in the lower 48 states, Idaho is a truly spectacular place to go white-water rafting. Whether you’ve never gone white water rafting before or you’re an experienced rafter, you’ll have a fantastic time white-water rafting in the rapids of Idaho. I’ve been rafting on the Payette river (only about 45 minutes north of our house in Boise) since I was 6 and loved every minute of it. I started off easy on the Main section of the Payette river, where there are fun class 3 rapids, but plenty of calm water to have water fights and swim in the river on a hot, sunny day. The small beaches on the sand allowed us to pull off in an eddy and have lunch, though the river usually only take a couple hours (depending on water flow). Then I moved on to a few more intense rivers, such as the South fork of the Payette, the Canyon run, and the Cabarton.
You’ll have some decisions to make when you go white-water rafting in Idaho. You’ll have lots of choices and places to raft to decide from, and you’ll have to take into consideration what will work best and provide the most wonderful experience for you.
If a wild and scenic trip is what you’re looking for, look no further. Choose from rafting on the Bruneau River down the 40 mile rapids, the Owyee River for 35 miles, the Loscha River for 30 miles, the Salmon River for up to 100 miles, the Selway River for 48 miles, or the Snake River for 81 miles. All of the wild and scenic trips are for intermediate to advanced skill levels.
If an extreme trip is what you’re really thirsting for, you can check out all the previous rivers listed, as well as the Boise River, the South Fork of the Payette River, the St. Joe River, and the Clearwater Rivers. All of these, too, will require advanced skill levels on the water, but are only up to about 17 miles long due to the intensity of the trip.
Lastly, if what you really need is a more mellow trip out on the water, Idaho has plenty of opportunity for that too. The Boise River, Brueanu River, the Moyie River, the Payette, Salmon, Selway, Snake, St. Joe, Clearwater, Couer d’Alene, Kooteani, Pend Oreille, Priest, St. Maries, and Teton Rivers all offer opportunities to take others out on the water and have a great day. All of these rivers have rapids that are accommodating for beginners and will be a wonderful experience for you. Check out visitidaho.org and check out more river information and pictures of your favorite rafting spots.Kevin Hughes