Written by Thomas Walsh
December 15

World Class Whitewater

Idaho is well-known as the Whitewater State and there is certainly no shortage of rapids to satisfy thrill seekers in the McCall area.

Our amazing outfitters and guides offer everything from a half-day float to multi-day trips that put you deep in the wilderness. With so many options to enjoy the river, we have put together a few of our favorite trips to get you started:

Laid Back Fun on the Cabarton Stretch

Tamarack Resort offers a fabulous guided tour along the Payette River that starts from the Cabarton Bridge (just south of Cascade) and ends at Smiths Ferry. The float starts off nice and easy then flows into Trestle Rapids (class II or III depending on water levels) as you pass under a railroad trestle. At the bottom of Trestle Rapids, the river widens and offers up white sandy beaches perfect for a lunch stop. After the break, jump back on the river and ride through several smaller rapids as you near Rainbow Bridge. Here you will hit Francois Rapids then Howard’s Plunge, a thrilling class III+ drop that adds action at the end of the float. Finish up the trip with a mile of smooth river. This trip typically takes about 6 hours from start to finish (including shuttling).

Salmon River Day Stretch – Faster!

The 20 mile day stretch near Riggins, Idaho on the Salmon River is one of the most popular trips around. While a full day trip can take upwards of 8 hours, Salmon Raft has come up with a way to ensure you don’t miss any of the scenery while cutting the trip time in half with their exclusive “Express Trip.” Start the trip off by hopping on a shuttle in McCall, Idaho to take you to the put-in at Spring Bar near Riggins. Along this day stretch, experience class III and IV rapids including Ruby, Lake Creek, Time Zone, Trap, Ladder and more. The only difference between a standard day trip and the “Express” trip is less stoppage time for lunch (but don’t worry – you can bring your own and eat it whenever you get hungry!).

One Day Rafting and Jet Boat Adventure

Quite possibly one of the most unique adventures around! Hells Canyon Adventures has teamed up with Hughes River Expeditions to bring you an experience like no other in the Pacific Northwest. Start the day by rafting down the Snake River through Hells Canyon, the second deepest gorge in North America. While rafting, get your adrenaline pumping as you float through impressive rapids surrounded by jagged rock walls. A gourmet lunch is provided during the trip to fuel you up for the second adventure of the day…a jet boat ride back up the river you just rafted down! Access the launch site via Highway 71 from Cambridge.

The Salmon River “Sampler”

Wanting to get on the river, but are short on time? Maybe you are new to whitewater rafting and want to see what all the hype is about without committing a full week to the adventure. Exodus River Adventures has just the ticket with their Salmon River “Sampler” trip. This two day float covers 40 miles of class II, class III, and class IV rapids amidst beautiful scenery and white sand beaches. As an all-inclusive adventure, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy delicious meals, fun and games, and a set-up overnight camp. We think that after this trip, you will agree that 2 days just simply isn’t enough and be hooked on rafting!

A Week Away in the River of No Return Wilderness

The Main Salmon is arguably one of the most scenic rafting trips offered in the Pacific Northwest. This 89 mile stretch of river wind through pristine wilderness area and you can choose either a 5 day or 6 day trip with Mountain River Outfitters. The trip starts in Riggins, Idaho where you will be shuttled to the McCall airport and flown to the launch site near Salmon, Idaho. After launch, a typical day includes rafting (of course!), stops at sandy beaches for food, hiking, and hot springs followed by a stop at the overnight camp each evening for a gourmet meal, stories, history and fun. The best part about multi-day trips (aside from the scenery and world-class whitewater) is that they are all-inclusive! Enjoy meals prepared for you by experienced guides, a set-up camp each night, and equipment including a dry bag and camp bag for your personal use during the trip.

What are you waiting for?? Start planning your trip with one of these great companies:

Exodus Wilderness Adventures: Wide variety of experiences along the Salmon River of No Return including half day, 1 day, 2 day, and 3-6 day rafting trips, jet boat tours, and year round fishing charters.

Hells Canyon Adventures: Jet boat charters along some of the most spectacular portions of Hells Canyon in the “Wild River” section of the Snake River. Also offering a unique whitewater rafting experience including a raft trip and lunch followed by a jet boat ride back up river.

H2O Idaho: Whitewater raft trips for all skill levels including half day, full day, and multi-day trips through Class III and IV whitewater along the Salmon River. Single day and overnight fishing trips also available.

Mountain River Outfitters: Whitewater rafting and fishing trips on the Snake, Salmon and Owyhee Rivers. Half day, full day, and multi-day trips available as well as multi-sport adventures such as the “Saddle-N-Paddle,” jet boat tours and more.

Overall Rafting and Camping Adventures: Enjoy a front row seat to adventure along the Salmon River with a single day, 2 day or 4 day trip.

Salmon Raft: All-inclusive whitewater rafting trips on the Salmon River leaving from McCall daily. Choose from the all-day adventure, multi-day trip, or the exclusive “Express Trip” for those short on time.

Tamarack Resort: Full day guided rafting trip along the Cabarton stretch of the Payette River. Includes transportation, lunch, snacks and equipment.

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