Lochsa River

Lochsa River 1

The Lochsa River is one of the best whitewater rivers in the world. The Lochsa (pronounced lock-saw) was one of the original six rivers protected by U.S. Congress in 1968 as part of the designated Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

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Our team of river guides here at ZTS feel that the Lochsa River is one of the best white water rafting rivers in the world. The Lochsa originates on the western slope of the Bitterroot Mountains, deep in the wilderness of the Clearwater National Forest. It quickly gains momentum as it cascades downstream, challenging boaters with its infamous big water rapids. The Lochsa will thoroughly drench and exhilarate anyone who attempts to charge through its impressive standing waves and churning holes.

Lochsa season begins in early April, when the high mountain snow begins to melt and spring rains come to Lolo Pass. This free-flowing, truly wild river can vary in flow depending on many variables, and its levels are hard to predict. The “big water” levels are typically between mid-April and the end of May. Higher flows are great for guests with previous rafting experience who crave the rush of thunderous world-class rapids. Good physical shape and the ability to self-rescue are essential at these bigger levels. As the water drops, the temperatures increase and the river becomes more technical (and a little less intimidating). The Lochsa has something to offer at all flows. It never disappoints!

All of our trips include hot, satisfying meals served from our Lochsa Riverside wilderness camp kitchen, Riley Flats. Locally smoked pork shoulders, homemade BBQ sauces, rolls, and our famous cookies from scratch will satisfy any hungry appetite. 

With rapids such as Ten Pin, Christmas, Joansie’s, Bloody Mary, Grim Reaper, Lochsa Falls, Pipeline, Split Creek, and Termination, every trip down the Lochsa is a superlative whitewater experience. Our guides are seasoned river runners and will enhance your white water rafting experience while maintaining the overall safety of your trip. No matter how many times you’ve seen the Lochsa, when your guide shouts “Paddle forward!” your heart pounds hard, and you know that the unparalleled thrills of this river are waiting for you just downstream!

Lochsa River Gauge

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Lochsa River 2