6 Reasons To Go Rafting On The Lochsa River With Zoo Town Surfers

6 Reasons To Go Rafting On The Lochsa River With Zoo Town Surfers

6 Reasons To Raft The Lochsa River With Zoo Town Surfers

Don’t miss your chance to experience the thrill of the Lochsa! With a season lasting only 1.5 months, time is limited to raft this incredible waterway. Here are 6 reasons to choose Zoo Town Surfers for your adventure. Lochsa season is short and sweet! Here are 6 reasons to raft with us.

Rafting The Lochsa River

1: Non-Stop Whitewater Action:

Did you know that that the Lochsa spans 30 miles and includes over 40 named rapids? We run guided rafting trips on 10 or 20 mile sections, depending on guests’ preferences. Imagine navigating rapids with names like Ten Pin, Grim Reaper, and Bloody Mary! Get your heart pounding as you conquer Lochsa Falls and House Rapid. This exhilarating adventure will leave you grinning from ear to-ear long after the trip. No wonder we have so many return customers – the Lochsa whitewater experience is simply unmatched!

2: Our Lochsa Guides:

Unforgettable rapids deserve unforgettable guides! Our Lochsa guides aren’t rookies. Our guides are never introduced to the Lochsa as their first river, all guides are required to have a bare minimum of 3 years of commercial full time guiding experience to be considered for the job. Our current team has an average of 6-7 seasons of commercial guiding, with many veterans seeing upwards of 15-20 seasons on the Lochsa alone.

You are in the best of hands with our guides as you run down the Lochsa. And that’s not all: our guides go above and beyond to provide you with an exceptional experience. They are highly-skilled, entertaining and have great stories to share! Their love for the river is part of why they are hired. It’s more than a job, they have a passion for sharing their favorite spots with you!

3: Zoo Town Surfers Safety:

We have a rigorous training program with a heavy emphasis on safety, both on and off the water. Each trip we run will always have safety boats, and as mentioned, our guides are absolutely top notch. In fact, we just finished a multi-day training session on the Lochsa River where our team studied the river, perfected our communication and practiced rescue scenarios.

We never compromise on safeguarding our guests, and always operate as a tight knit team. Our training goes above and beyond the norm in our profession. This includes not only hiring highly-skilled guides, but also investing in extensive training to ensure everyone has the best experience possible. This is something we take pride in offering our guests, and something we encourage you to consider when booking your trip.

4. Our Gear:

We invest in the highest quality equipment available. That’s why we choose top-of-the-line rafts from AIRE Inflatables and the best apparel on the market from NRS. Our equipment is meticulously maintained and stored, ensuring it’s always in peak condition for your adventure. Relax and enjoy the ride. Rafting the Lochsa River with Zoo Town Surfers means you can focus on the breathtaking scenery and exhilarating whitewater. How great is this!? As our guests you don’t have to worry about airing up the raft, transporting it or worry about anything!

But, What About The Food!?

5. Epic River Meal:

Our food is all handmade, from scratch. We have even had some vegans cheat for a day to try our famous BBQ pork and homemade BBQ sauce. With a hot riverside lunch at our private camp, bellies are never empty and you will be recharged after the first half of the trip, to finish your day with the big rapids down river.

6. Our Customer Service:

We pride ourselves on the best customer service around. Want a custom trip? No problem. Want more or less adventure? We will be sure to fit your group with the guide that likes to go big, or the guide that is happy to take a smaller sneak line around the big stuff. Need to find out if the trip is right for you, or have any questions? Just give us a call and we are more than happy to go over any questions you might have, whether you are privately floating or looking to book one of our trips.

You can book trips directly on our website, too! Just follow this link…

Low Water On The Lochsa: What Does This Mean For Boaters?

Low Water On The Lochsa: What Does This Mean For Boaters?

What Will Conditions Be Like On The Lochsa This Season?

Around this time every year, I get asked the same question; what will flows be like? I usually base my answers off of what snow pack looks like, and when the weather starts to warm up historically. When we have a lighter winter and a lower snowpack, the questions shift to; will we still be able to run the Lochsa?  The answer is, absolutely.

While snowpacks are low when compared to the historical average, that does not mean that we have no snow. While snowpacks are low when compared to the historical average, that does not mean that we have no snow. In fact, though we have a low snowpack, there is still plenty of it up at high elevations in the Bitterroots, which drains into the Lochsa. There could, and probably still will be, some high water days.  As you can imagine, when the weather gets hot and it rains at the same time, snow melts incredibly quickly. This means we will probably not see every trip launch at the high water mark, but there will likely be trips that see the features the Lochsa is famous for during its short season.

The Best Part Of Low Water Lochsa Boating

The best thing about low water though, is that the Lochsa is still amazing, and delivers a fantastic experience for guests.  Lochsa Falls is not quite as ‘big and crunchy’, and there will likely be less carnage during Lochsa Madness, which if you’re hoping to stay in your raft is a great thing! Did you know that every rapid has different features that form only when water levels are lower?  Brain Wave in Grim Reaper Rapid is a fantastic example! It disappears as the flows rise to about 9-10,000 cfs. But from 7000 to 9000 cfs or so, it is a spectacular feature, and is one of my favorite hits on the river at all flows.

Did You Know!? Rapids tend to get a bit more technical at lower flows, which means more teamwork and maneuvering may be required. Even at low flows the Lochsa still has a big water feel, and is still an action packed ride in every way. 

What You Can Expect On A Lochsa Trip This Season

In reality, what you can expect from the Lochsa on a low water year is pure fun.  We may see warmer weather than usual.  Safety talks will probably feel a bit less scary. Trips may take a bit longer, and you may see launch locations change a bit from what you remember.  That is purely an effort on your outfitters part to keep the trip from running too long. Other than that, whether you book a trip through an outfitter or you have the skillset to privately run the Lochsa, the thing to expect is that you will still be running the Mighty Lochsa. It still requires skill and respect to navigate safely, and you can definitely still expect to crush big waves throughout your trip. 

The takeaway here is that The Lochsa River is an absolute blast at lower flows, and we could not be more excited for this season. Some things might feel just a bit different, but in general, it is still the Lochsa, and it is still an absolute kick in the pants. So, this 2024 season, do not let nay sayers and media sources keep you from getting fired up when they talk about low snowpack and low river flows.  We will be out there every weekend, and are so excited to see old friends and make new ones on one of the best roadside whitewater trips in America.

Zoo Town Surfers runs commercially-guided trips on the Lochsa River, Clark Fork River and Blackfoot River. We are locally owned and operated and hope you’ll join us for an adventure! Book your trip here or reach out for a personalized trip planning experience.

New Beginnings: Part 2

New Beginnings: Part 2

What an honor it is to be writing this and introducing ourselves to all of our future friends, employees, coworkers, partners and customers.  Megan and I are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do what we love to do, serve our community, as well as educate and find stewards, or build upon existing ones.  This truly is a dream come true.  First, we must thank Jason Shreder again for this opportunity.  We will do everything we can to ensure the continued growth and prosperity of the business you started, my friend.  Thank you. I will try to keep this brief, but I am not known for that talent.  Here is a bit about us, and our journey to Zoo Town Surfers.

Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated and drawn to water.  I have a picture floating around somewhere of me, around 2 years old, standing next to some rafts my parents had rented for a Green River multiday.  Since then, water and rafting has been in my blood.

I grew up never being able to get out the ocean, spending much of every summer in Southern California with family. The same was true when I was home in Idaho on it’s rivers and lakes; I was the first one in the water, and the last one out, and that much of me at least, largely remains true to this day.

Megan similarly always loved the water.  She grew up snowboarding on the frozen kind, and playing on the wet kind in various river and fishing trips with her family in Alaska. Her love of rivers grew dramatically when she hopped on her first multiday trip with me back in college on the Lower Gorge of the Salmon River.  Since then, she’s taken every opportunity to be on the water. The Lochsa is one of her favorite places on the planet, and in her words, where she “truly fell in love with rivers.”

7 years ago, Megan asked me whether or not I would ever want to own an outfitting business. My work in guiding on the Salmon and Hells Canyon led me to work as a rep for the absolutely wonderful folks at Northwest River Supplies (NRS), so the question of owning a river business came up pretty frequently. My answer was invariably; it depends on the business. I would not want to do it for the wrong reasons, and I would want to structure a company that I would be happy to guide at.  One that focuses on guide voice, stewardship, individual and professional growth, and sharing our incredible rivers with those that do not get to experience them as often as we do. One example of this type of business came up as a general answer to Megans question; if Jason Shreder ever decided to sell, that would be a business worth purchasing.  As luck would have it; 7 years, a few moves, and many river trips later, as well as right place at the right time and some good friends, would lead us to start the process of purchasing Zoo Town Surfers.

We could tell from the get-go that Shreder’s involvement in the community and his passion for his business was incredible.  He built this business from the ground up, and we want to continue the traditions, hard work, and community care and involvement that he set the foundations of ZTS on.  That seemed a daunting task at first, but it has become much more achievable and exciting as we have seen how much love and support has been built around ZTS.  Our promise to you is this: We will continue to grow ZTS into a community minded, inclusive, and safe place where any and all can experience the river.

I am always available via email at ian@zootownsurfers.com, and phone at 208-310-2253. I would love the opportunity to introduce myself over a cup of coffee or a beer, please feel free to reach out! Thank you all for taking the time to read this far, and we hope to see you on the river!


-Megan and Ian Fodor-Davis.

5 must-see spots you might have missed on the Lochsa River

5 must-see spots you might have missed on the Lochsa River

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

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

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.