The Salmon River gorges are semi-arid, meaning we get very little moisture, especially in summer. However, we raft rain or shine. Generally speaking, in July or August you can expect highs in the 80s to 100+ range.
During May and part of June the water temperature is in the 50s and 60s. During July and August the water temp gets into the 70s approaching 80. The temperature is relative to the air temperature, length of daylight (sun on the water), and speed of the river. The faster the water gets to us from its source (snow usually), then the shorter time it has to warm up.
With the exception of May and the first half of June, the whitewater is Class III with the occasional Class IV. This means you’ll want to hang on or paddle hard in the rapids but is not white knuckle. This is not to say that the whitewater is not good – it’s a fun and adventurous ride. Raft upsets sometimes happen or people may fall out of the raft. With the pool and drop nature of the river, swims are short. Our guides are taught to self-rescue and to get guests back into the raft quickly. Because some guests do want the white knuckle ride, we offer smaller rafts and inflatable kayaks.
We recommend ages eight and above. The Salmon River is not Disneyland and it can be quite traumatic for a six-year-old to fall out in a rapid and even scarier for mom. Guests do not need to be in stellar shape. The activity is not strenuous. Paddling is an option, not a necessity.
Our guides are well trained. We conduct a thorough pre-trip safety talk. Although between 4,000 and 6,000 guests a year join us on the river, in 29 years we have never experienced a serious accident. Your safety is our first concern!
Most of our rafts are 14, 15 or 16 feet in length. They hold 6 to 8 + people. The most popular kind of raft set-up is called a stern mount paddle raft, where the guide sits on a small frame on the back of the raft and has a set of oars. The guests sit forward and paddle. The reason this set-up is most popular is that with the combination of paddles and oars, the raft has plenty of power to hit the big waves. The other options are a straight paddle raft, where the guide also has just a paddle, or the center mount frame raft where the guide does all the rowing and guests just hang on.
Upon booking your trip we will send you a list of suggested items to bring which will include clothes to get wet in and clothes to change into at the end of the trip. Typical river wear is shorts, lightweight shirt, and river sandals. Other gear we suggest is a warm top and jacket, sunglasses with safety strap, hat, and sunscreen. A camera is optional. Your photo is taken at one or two rapids is available for review at the photographer’s shop in Riggins or online at www.salmonriverphotos.com. The pictures are of good value and quality.
On overnight trips you will need to bring all the above (just more of it) plus a pair of long pants, sleeping bag (we can provide one free if you don’t have your own), toiletries, and flashlight. We provide all other cooking and camping equipment.
For a printable word document with suggested gear click below.
We provide beverages (water and pop), but if you would like to supplement our beverages with some of your own, you are welcome. The most common beverages people bring are their own water bottle, a favorite juice or soft drink, or beer in moderate quantity. Please make sure beverages are in cans or plastic, not glass.
We meet our one-day trips at 9:30 a.m. PDT at Lucile Boat Ramp near Riggins. We are off the water between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
We meet our two-day trips at 9:00 a.m. PDT at Lucile Boat Ramp and are off the water by about 4:00 p.m or even a little earlier if guests request it.
We meet our three to five-day trips at the Red Lion in Lewiston, Idaho at 7:45 a.m. PDT and deliver guests back to the Red Lion by about 5:00 p.m. the last afternoon. Your trip confirmation will give you additional information.
Riggins actually has a pretty fair selection of places to stay. Check out the Riggins Chamber website at www.rigginsidaho.com or better yet call us to get our specific recommendations.
In most cases, yes. Please call us and we’ll discuss how we can facilitate a fun trip for everyone in your party.
No, please don’t bring your dog.
Gratuities are optional and should reflect the level of service you received from your guide. A typical tip is 5 – 15% per person.