Running Idaho's Riotous Whitewater

The rafting gods smiled upon the state of Idaho, blessing it with the mother of all North American whitewater. Nicknamed the "River of No Return" and consistently ranked as one of the ten best runs in the world, the Salmon churns up 230 miles of white-knuckle rapids as it weaves through six national forests. The Middle Fork of the Salmon alone is worth the trip. Thread through 2.7-million-acre Frank Church Wilderness, soaking you sore shoulders in one of the nine hot springs scattered along the riverbed. But don't let the Salmon's mythic status overshadow Idaho's other 2,780 miles of raging river—more than any other state, from the foam-churning fury of Selway to the calmer currents of the Boise. Descend to the deepest runnable canyon on the continent: the Class III-IV final stretch of the Snake River in Hell's Canyon. Veteran river rats, meanwhile, can take on the Jarbridge River, a screaming 29-mile dash suited for experts only. More historic-minded water-runners can tackle the Selway, rich in Indian heritage, or retrace Lewis and Clark's exploratory route along the Lochsa River, both framed by the staggering beauty of Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

Published: 14 Feb 2002 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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