Wednesday, May, 9, 2012
Trip of the Week: The Lower Salmon River
by Julie Trevelyan
Come play hard or relax into serenity on the Lower Salmon River
in Idaho—it’s a very special river that changes with the seasons, offering different experiences to different rafters. Since the Salmon River is the country’s longest undammed river winding though one state, it gives you a taste of the way rivers were meant to be: the wild way nature intended. For the rafting vacation of a lifetime, this is very good news! Extremely popular for years with river rafters due to its unparalleled whitewater rapids, the Lower Salmon beckons to the river rafting vacationer with its rushing water, high canyon walls, green Idaho scenery, and the possibility of never-to-be-forgotten memories. Idaho river rafting
offers a voyage into some of the biggest wilderness left in the United States, which means excitement every time we go on a trip. Running the Lower Salmon is a thrilling introduction to this area’s spectacular natural beauty.
Running the Lower Salmon anywhere between 2,000-20,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) can make for the perfect trip, depending on what you’re looking for. Full of wild whitewater during spring runoff and more sedate, family-oriented flow later in the season, this is one of Idaho’s best rivers to raft. See current water flow conditions at the USGS site.
The trail to historic Wapshilla Ranch is a little hike you may be able to check out during your rafting vacation on the Lower Salmon. It’s short and sweet and lets you experience the river canyon at an ambling pace. Deer, elk, and turkeys might put in an appearance along the trail. Run by a Nez Perce family, the ranch remnants today evoke ideas of life here many years ago. People lived close to the land that sustained them. We suspect they also enjoyed the stunning scenery of their Idaho home as much as we do today.
The Nez Perce Indians made this canyon their home starting about 11,000 years ago, and descendents still live here today. Steelhead salmon in the river provided an excellent food source for the people, and they provided a great living for themselves with the natural resources available in the area. Historical record left behind in the form of petroglyphs, tipi rings, and pit houses can be viewed along the river. As always, it’s especially fun to examine these ancient writings and speculate about the lives of the people who lived here so long ago.
Who will enjoy this most:
Adventure-seekers during spring runoff; families during the later summer season; anyone who wants to see one of the most beautiful rivers in the U.S.!
1. Rapids include Bodacious Bounce, Snowhole, Eye of the Needle, and Lorna’s Lulu.
2. Devil’s Slide is considered one of the toughest rapids to run in North America.
3. At 425 miles in length, the Salmon River is the longest waterway in the lower 48.
4. The Lower Salmon section of the Salmon River begins at the fancifully named Vinegar Creek.
Written by Julie Trevelyan.
Julie is a freelance writer and wilderness guide in southern Utah. She especially enjoys books, coffee, yoga, wild country, horses, and dark chocolate.
See more of her work at www.wildgirlwriting.com
Tags: family rafting trip, Idaho Adventures, Idaho Whitewater, idaho wilderness, Multi-generational trips, Salmon River Rafting, trout fishing