The Greatest Idaho Rivers


There are many things that Idaho holds dear. There is a long and rich history that citizens of Idaho are careful to learn about and present in the many museums that can be found across Idaho. Obviously, Idaho cares a lot about potatoes because of their importance in the Idaho economy and because potatoes just taste really good in a number of different dishes. There is also a spot in Idaho’s heart for nature, and the different mountains and mountain ranges of Idaho are very dear to the state. However, it could be said that even the mountains do not hold a candle to the Idaho rivers. There are many differences between rivers and mountains to the point that they have essentially nothing in common besides being natural formations and there are many reasons why you might prefer one over the other for your aesthetic eye and for exploration, but rivers are a more unique feature of Idaho. Idaho has some really nice mountains but only a few states can claim something so incredible as the Snake River lies within their borders. Idaho rivers are very special, and I want to help you on the start of your journey of those special landmarks.

First, there is the big daddy of all of the rivers in Idaho, the Snake River. Of course, the Snake River cannot solely be claimed by Idaho since it begins in Oregon and ends in Wyoming after traveling through a number of different states, but it certainly spends a lot of time in Idaho and some of its most interesting landmarks can be found in Idaho. The Snake River is a massive body of water and very important to the Idaho landscape. While the Snake is by no means the largest river in the world (It ranks at about the 75th largest at the moment, paling in comparison to rivers like the Nile) it is still very long and very wide at points. To point to the most interesting parts of the river there is Shoshone Falls, one of the largest and most impressive waterfalls on the planet. It can be found just a short distance from Twin Falls, Idaho and is truly a sight to behold. The water comes over the edge of a cliff in its millions of gallons and if you are close enough, it can be hard to hear anything other that crashing water. The Snake Also runs through the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, a part of the state that has been set aside for the shelter and recovery of a number of different raptor species. Idaho would not look at all the same as it does today if it were not for the influence of the Snake River. Canyons would not exist and there would be entire plains of country that would look totally different. The Snake River is king of Idaho rivers, and considering how many rivers there are in Idaho, that is saying something. Anyone who visits Idaho should take some time to check out the nearest part of the Snake River, something that is easy to do since most places in Idaho are fairly close to the Snake.

Coming in at roughly half the length of the Snake River is the Salmon River, sometimes known as the River of No Return. Where the Snake makes up a large part of Idaho’s borders with its neighboring states, the Salmon River mostly cuts across the middle of Idaho, traveling through Payette National Forest and Salmon-Challis National Forest. This gives the Salmon River a bit of a different setting than the Snake River. A lot of the area around the Snake can look flat and empty while the Salmon River has no such problem, with trees and mountains everywhere, as is the general look for Northern Idaho. One of the most interesting features of the Salmon River is that it passes through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, a part of Idaho that is strictly off-limits for anyone who wants to develop or mine. It is an area that is pretty much totally wild and the only human influences you are going to come across there are touristic in nature, though even that is limited. If you want to get a real taste of what the natural side of Idaho is like, you might consider visiting this wilderness area. There are a number of deep and impressive canyons along the length of the Salmon River and some of them are even deeper than the Grand Canyon, though they do not have the other qualities that can be found in the Grand Canyon.

There are a few rivers in the north of Idaho that are mostly Canadian rivers, but they do come down into Idaho for at least a part of their course. Two of specific note are the Kootenay River and the Moyie River. Both are of a significant length and wind their way all across the two countries they can be found in, but they only briefly intersect with Idaho. Despite this, the time they spend in Idaho leaves a lot to check out and enjoy. The Kootenay River, in particular, takes an interesting course down through the panhandle of Idaho. It looks like a long and winding road and much of it can be seen from Highway 95. At Moyie Springs, the Kootenay River and Moyie River come together, and the Kootenay River takes over for both of them, heading off to the east and into Montana. The water is going to be pretty cold that far north, but it is still worth visiting and maybe even getting in for some swimming or fishing. The last river I want to make mention of is the Boise River in, you guessed it, Boise. The Boise River passes right through the heart of the city after branching off from the main path of the Snake. Despite being one of the smaller rivers in the state, the Boise River is quite popular because of its location. A lot of people like rafting down it on innertubes, especially on the days when the whole city gets together for the activity.

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