5 must-see spots you might have missed on the Lochsa River
We have guests that come to the Lochsa River year after year. Our Lochsa guests ebb and flow like the river: some folks are just starting a multi-year “Lochsa Run” and for others, the run is coming to an end. It always amazes me how this river brings so many folks together each year, congregating at all the popular spots like Wilderness Gateway, Fish Creek, Split Creek, and Lowell, ID. The Lochsa boasts cold, clear water, towering wilderness, and cedar trees that hover over the river. In short: it’s a badass place. No matter what draws you to the Lochsa River, it’s that connection to the river that brings us all together each spring.
Most folks come to enjoy the thrill of the rapids. The Lochsa’s world-class rapids overshadow so many other amazing features in the river corridor. Perhaps you’ve already floated the Lochsa and never noticed the spectacular creeks, side hikes, camping, and waterfalls in the area.
Here are a few things that you might have missed on your last trip or something new to look forward to.
Fish Creek Butte Trail
Have you ever waited for hours at Fish Creek for your raft/kayak buddies to show up? Well, next time you have some time to kill, get your legs moving and do a quick hike. You head up Fish Creek and hang your first left at the bridge (Trail #223). Once you start hiking, you will come to a junction. Keep going uphill, as the other trail goes along the river. Hike until you get to a nice overlook. From there, you can get a nice overhead view of all the action taking place down at Fish Creek and the Lochsa River.
Historic Lochsa Ranger Station
This ranger station is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The station is full of history and there are plenty of old photos and literature that illustrate what this place was like years ago. A visit to the ranger station is a great way to get connected to the area.
Stanley Hot Springs
This primitive hot spring is a 6-mile hike in from Wilderness Gateway campground. It’s not recommended to do this hike during the peak of spring runoff, as you will have to cross Boulder Creek at high water. Try to do this adventure before spring runoff or during the hot summer months. Trail #211 is located right before you get to C loop in the campground.
Horsetail Falls is one of the more technical rapids on the Lochsa River. Because river runners are so focused on the run, the falls itself is many times overlooked. At Mile 114.8, if you look river left, there is a beautiful waterfall. You can access the falls via kayak or raft by pulling out on the river left, just above the rapid.
Selway Falls is a magnificent sight at any time of year. It’s a cauldron of whitewater and siphons. Bring some cold beverages and have fun discussing “what if” scenarios if you were to one day choose to run this rapid. From Lowell, cross the Lochsa River and drive about 19 miles up the Selway River.