Overview

The Lower Salmon River in Idaho just might be the perfect family rafting trip. Warm water, great weather, white sand beaches and exciting rapids.  It’s the full package for family fun.  No lines to stand in, no hidden costs to pay upon arrival, no crowds, no internet, no cell service.  If you’re family is looking for the adventure they will all remember forever, this is it.

River time on the Lower Salmon is splashing through rapids, surfing the kayaks, swimming in the pools, and maybe throwing the football on the beach at lunch.  It’s filled with awe inspiring scenery, quiet conversations with your kids and lots of laughter.  A good Lower Salmon river day includes more than one cheer of accomplishment at the bottom of a rapid and a priceless smile on your daughter or son who just paddled through a rapid they did not think they could.  It’s about traveling as a family, succeeding as a family, reconnecting as a family.

At the end of every day on the Lower Salmon River camp arrives on a riverside beach.  Camp time is the chance to find your tent and the cot inside for a little afternoon nap or grab a quick shower in our mobile shower.  Many just spend the afternoon swimming in the river with the kids.  If your family likes a little competition grab the bachee balls and play a round. Regardless of how you choose spend the afternoons a few things are sure to happen.  This time with your spouse or kids won’t be interrupted by any type of social media or work beep on a phone.  You will have sand between your toes and a smile on your face. You will be asked, “would you like another drink and perhaps some more cake” after dinner. Your kids will fall asleep under an impressive sky of stars.  You will go to sleep with the quiet sound of the river flowing in the distance.

The Lower Salmon is about spending time with your family experiencing adventure, beauty, and more importantly, each other.  Grab the kids, the sunscreen, and sign up today for what will certainly become your new family tradition.

Highlights

  • Warm Water
  • Big waves in less technical rapids - Beginner friendly
  • Re-running, swimming, and surfing at Whitehouse Rapid
  • 4 unique gorges (one each day)
  • Incredible star gazing
  • Huge sandy beaches for camping
  • Typically great weather
  • Jet Boat ride returns the group to town - Best trip conclusion anywhere!
  • Deluxe camping with cots


Location

Riggins, Idaho

Travel Information

Flying in: Fly into Lewiston Idaho.  

Hotel: The Lower Salmon River trip begins and ends at the Red Lion Hotel in Lewiston, Idaho. You will need to make a reservation for the night before the trip and we advise staying at the hotel the night the trip concludes. Call 800-232-6730 or 208-799-1000 to make your reservation. Please identify yourself as an OTT customer when making your reservation and ask for the rafter rate.

When to Meet: We will meet the night before the trip starts at the hotel.  You should see a sign in the lobby area for the meeting room. We will have our pre-trip meeting at 7pm and it should last about an hour.

Packing List

On the River

  • 2 or 3 swimsuits or shorts and top (cotton not recommended)
  • Sports sandals or hard-soled wetsuit booties
  • Synthetic paddling gloves (if paddling an inflatable kayak)
  • Wide rimmed hat or ball cap (ball cap fits well under helmet)
  • Polypro, synthetic or hydro-skin shirt (nice for mornings and chilly days)
  • Water Bottle (1 liter) with carbiner
  • Waterproof sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with strap (consider bringing two pairs)
  • OTT will supply splash-tops for chilly mornings
In Camp
  • 2 pair pants & shorts
  • 3 shirts
  • Fleece jacket or sweatshirt
  • Light rain jacket
  • Sleeping bag (synthetic material recommended - rated to 45F) - We can provide if you request it.
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Beanie
  • Camera with extra film or memory cards and batteries
  • Personal hygiene items

Itinerary

Day before start date: Fly into Lewiston, Idaho. From the airport take the hotel shuttle to the Red Lion Hotel where you should have made a reservation previously. You should plan to arrive and check in prior to 7 PM the night before the trip starts. At 7 PM we will have an orientation meeting in the lounge area of the lobby. At the orientation the Head Guide will talk about what to expect, give some river history, answer any last minute questions, and hand out your equipment, including your clothing bag. As the meeting concludes the Head Guide will inform you when to meet the following morning.

Day 1: Meet your Head Guide in the lobby at the assigned time. It’s important to eat breakfast prior to meeting as it will seem like a long time until lunch. It is a two-hour bus ride to the put-in for the trip. When the group arrives at the put-in, the remaining guides and all of the river equipment will be waiting to meet you. Hop out, load on the sunscreen and get ready for some Lower Salmon fun! The Head Guide will give you a thorough safety and paddling orientation before you climb in your river craft and take the first strokes down stream.
We begin the Lower Salmon with great rapids like Roller Coaster and Big Foot Island before your first riverside lunch prepared by the guides. After lunch, we enter Green Canyon and the biggest whitewater so far. Rapids like Demons Drop and Right Way are a great introduction to what the next three days have in store. Camp will be on one of the many big Lower Salmon beaches where you can swim, throw the Frisbee, or just relax with a drink while your guides prepare a delicious three-course meal. After your fresh baked dessert, play a game of cards with the kids, or relax with a glass of wine, before lying back under a sea of stars to catch some shut eye.

Day 2: Start the day off right with a hot breakfast and fresh baked cinnamon rolls. Then take your time, pack your gear, load up on sunscreen, and get ready for another great day on the Lower Salmon river. A nice morning with some fun rapids leads to Cougar Canyon, where more whitewater awaits. After navigating Upper and Lower White House, the group will pull to shore and spend the rest of the day re-running, swimming through, and trying to surf the waves of Lower White House rapid. This is a great time to shoot video of the kids trying to surf or swim through their first rapid. If you have youngsters who have been riding the raft, this is a perfect opportunity to let them go in the front of your inflatable kayak or a guides and hit some waves from a Torpedo.
When you’re done surfing you can float around the corner to camp. Camp will provide another great time to relax with your family or friends, relive the highlights of the day and take in the stunning scenery.

Day 3: Wake up and get ready for whitewater! Today boasts the most exciting whitewater of the Lower Salmon including two Class IV rapids. The morning starts right off with Bodacious Bounce, Half and Half, Gobbler, and climaxes with the thrilling Snowhole! After the whitewater morning, the afternoon will seem like a breeze with fewer rapids and lots of time to swim and enjoy the hot weather. Camp tonight will be another large beach where games of capture the flag and ultimate frisbee have been known to happen. Look forward to more delicious food, good wine, and plenty of time to relive the highlights of the day with your new friends, old friends, family, and the guides.

Day 4: The final morning of paddling. A quick breakfast and you’ll be on the water headed towards civilization. As we continue down river the walls start to rise as we enter Blue Canyon, the steepest and deepest gorge of the trip. The Slide and Sluice Box will give you a great ride before you get to Eye of the Needle and the end of the Lower Salmon River. We meet the Snake River at the bottom of Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in the country.

At the confluence of the Snake and Salmon River say goodbye to your torpedo it’s time to load up on the jet boat. This two-hour ride, gliding down the river skimming past rocks and flying over waves, is the perfect end to an exciting vacation. The jet boat will drop the group in downtown Clarkston where a shuttle awaits to drive you the five minutes back to the Red Lion.