Idaho: the Whitewater State

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Idaho is filled to the brim with amazing places. From the mountains to the desert, Idaho seems to have access to it all. Through all of this, wild rivers are its lifeblood.

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Idaho: The Whitewater State: Rivers & Adventures

North- Central Idaho is renowned for its diverse landscapes and natural beauty. One of the most-majestic regions is the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, a vast expanse of rugged terrain that spans across Idaho and Montana. This wilderness area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, rafting, and fishing. The dense forests, alpine meadows, and pristine rivers create a serene and unspoiled environment, making it a perfect escape for those seeking both tranquility and adventure.

Selway-Bitterroot Forest

Within the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, the Lochsa River stands out as a premier destination for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Aside from its exhilarating whitewater, the Lochsa River area is also rich in cultural and historical significance. The river corridor was an essential part of the Nez Perce people’s homeland and later played a critical role during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Today, the Lochsa River offers more than just outdoor adventures; it provides a connection to the past and an opportunity to appreciate the region’s heritage. Whether you’re navigating its rapids or exploring the nearby trails and hot springs, the Lochsa River and its surroundings offer a unique blend of excitement and natural splendor.

The Lochsa River

The Lochsa River is one of, if not the best, roadside whitewater trips in America. The stunning scenery mixed with world class whitewater, not to mention the numerous hot springs, fishing opportunities, and camping make this a singularly special place.

Idaho has so many incredible rivers running through it such as the Selway, Salmon and Payette to name a few. But, as one of our absolute favorite places, the Lochsa sits atop the pile as a crown jewel of day trip whitewater rafting runs. From its accessibility and scenery to the jaw dropping thrills of rafting down its world class rapids, it is a truly incredible place that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. If you’re like most of us, the first trip will make you want to return year-after-year!

Lochsa River Season

The season usually goes from early May to Mid June. As the snow melts from the mountains, and rains begin to fall,  the water gets bigger and bigger, with huge features that will leave everyone laughing with delight and drenched to the core. It does get more advanced and difficult as the water gets higher, yet middle and low flows are still an incredible experience, starting to shift away from the massive waves and holes that punctuate the river at high water, to the more approachable, yet still huge and incredibly fun features at middle flows. Finally we see a shift to a much more technical run with much more maneuvering required at lower flows. White water rafting on the Lochsa has proven to be fun at a variety of water levels!

You’ll see private boaters enjoying the Lochsa more than on other day sections. They are typically well-trained on swiftwater rescue and have invested in their own raft and gear.  But, there are relatively few outfitters with permits to run commercial trips. Whatever flow the Lochsa is at, you are guaranteed to have an incredible experience. For commercial outfitting needs, book your trip through Zoo Town Surfers, and always feel free to call with questions or beta on the river, or our trips.

We hope to see you out on the water to share in one of our favorite places in the world. We do not make promises lightly, but we do promise that the Lochsa will not disappoint. In addition to white water rafting on the Lochsa River, be sure to check out the beautiful waterfalls, camping and rockhounding while you are here. This is such a beautiful part of America!

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