- Sample Itinerary
- Trip Details
- About the Area
- Getting Here
This section of the mighty Salmon River guides us through four stunning canyons Green, Cougar, Snowhole and Blue Canyons — as the surroundings change from sheer rock canyons to rolling mountains plated in golden grass. At high water, huge standing waves and chomping rapids command the attention of whitewater enthusiasts. Later in the summer, the Salmon River calms down inviting families to enjoy warm water, white sandy beaches and family-friendly rapids. The Salmon meets the voluminous Snake River for the last 20 miles of our trip, before we return to the responsibilities we’d forgotten on the river.
- 4 canyons-Green, Cougar, Snowhole and Blue
- Sheer rock canyons and rolling mountains
- White sandy beaches
- Roller Coaster rapids
Submit your review
Love the trip! The guides were enthusiastic. We were the first trip of the season, so it did sometimes feel like they were still getting used to the schedule again, but never in a way that disturbed our enjoyment. Thanks all!
Our guides’ personalities matched up perfectly with our group. It was a perfect fit.
Tammy at the office handled everything in a professional manner. The guides (Russ and Molly) were outstanding. We specifically requested them based upon our Main Salmon River trip last year. We will also request them for our 2013 trip. Very impressed with the overall trip organization, the knowledge of the guides, the food (is awesome) and well...everything! Whitewater rafting has now become an annual adventure for me: I will do the Main Salmon (again) in 2013 and will likely do something in Colorado soon.
Guides Russ, Molly, and Mike are each incredible people -- they created a really fun and safe experience that we will all remember forever. My husband and I arrived pretty tired from our working lives...we left feeling relaxed and regenerated. My whole family has talked often of this trip -- we absolutely loved our time on the river. I wasn't expecting the fun bag of costumes! The last night of gifts was great -- funny and heart warming. Thanks. Incredible! Thank you!!
SALMON RIVER CANYONS
One of the advantages of a river trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary. It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, Mother Nature and courtesy for other groups on the river. This typical itinerary illustrates a 4-day trip on the Salmon River Canyons.
Day 1: Meet group at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters in Grangeville, Idaho. After a thirty-minute ride to the river, we launch the trip at Hammer Creek (near Whitebird). Downstream we will stop at Shorts Bar, where we will find our first pictographs – ancient Nez Perce writings. Run some exciting rapids in Green Canyon (the first of the four canyons) and enjoy the plentiful white sand beaches that appear along the shores of the Salmon River.
Day 2: Negotiate Bodacious Bounce, Lorna’s Lulu, Snowhole, and China rapids in Cougar and Snowhole Canyons (the next two canyons). We will have a possibility to view some Nez Perce tipi rings and pits. There is plenty of opportunity for fishing, hiking and just plain relaxing at camp.
Day 3: Devils’ Slide, Eye of the Needle and Checkerboard rapids provide more excitement before we set up camp. Today we may hike up to the Wapshilla Ranch, one of several ranches in Blue Canyon (the last of the Salmon River Canyons) run by a Nez Perce family.
Day 4: Reach the confluence of the Snake and Salmon Rivers. We may stop at Cottonwood Creek and Cache Bar, two more important Nez Perce sites. The final miles of this excursion are flat water, where we may use the assistance of a motor. After floating the lower part of Hell’s Canyon, we reach our take out point at Heller Bar and return to our headquarters in Grangeville, Idaho.
As mentioned earlier, this is a sample itinerary and should not be thought of as the trip you will experience. It is intended to give an idea of what the trip will be like. It could also be exactly what you do. Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy!
We meet for your trip in Grangeville, Idaho at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters, 8:00 a.m. (Pacific Time) the morning your trip begins. Our headquarters is located on Highway 95 (2 mile north of Highway 13 Junction). If you arrive in Grangeville by bus or plane, call our headquarters (208-983-1518) upon your arrival to make arrangements to have you and your gear transported. If you are driving, your car can be left at our headquarters. Please Note: Charter groups have the option to meet in Lewiston, Idaho.
When you arrive in Grangeville the day before your trip, please check in at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters. At this time we will issue your waterproof bags, and answer any questions you may have.
Beginning of the trip: On the morning of your trip, plan to meet promptly at 8:00 a.m. (Pacific Time) at our headquarters. We will then take a thirty-minute van ride to the embarkation point, where we will transfer to the boats.
After the trip: We will return you to Lewiston or Grangeville depending on whether you have to catch a plane, bus, or get back to your car (it is a 2 1/2 hour van ride back to Grangeville). If you are from the Northwest, you may prefer to have your car waiting for you at the river take-out point (it is a 2 hour drive from Lewiston to Spokane). If you would like this shuttle option there will be an additional charge of $100 per vehicle.
Medical Emergencies: Our guides are trained in first‑aid and carry first aid supplies only. REMEMBER to bring your own prescription medicines. ALERT our guides to any medical problems you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions. Wilderness expeditions are a long way from hospitals, doctors, and pain-relieving medicines. Evacuations to modern medical care are uncertain, and protracted. In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.
Cancellation Policy: If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the trip, monies will be refunded less a $50.00 service charge per person. If cancellations are made within 90 days and outside of 45 days of the trip date monies will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person. Cancellations made within 45 days of the trip date are non refundable. Prior to 45 days to the trip date we will transfer reservations to another trip in the same year with a $25.00 service charge per person. All policies will be enforced and we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance. Cancellation of a trip is very unlikely, but we reserve the right to cancel any trip due to river or weather conditions or the lack of sufficient reservations. A full refund will be made if such is the case.
Insurance: Medical Evacuation and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. You should be aware that medical evacuations in the backcountry can easily cost $10,000 and up. You are responsible for these potential expenses and we strongly encourage all guests to have this coverage. We offer plans by TRAVEL GUARD that cover evacuation, baggage and cancellation claims. It is available to American and Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. For a quote or questions give us a call or include Your Names, Birth Dates in an Email and we will send a quote. Also, if you are bringing expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items we suggest you have insurance coverage for them (commonly available through Homeowners Policies). In the event of a loss, our insurance will not cover those items.
Tipping the guides: Many guests ask us if tipping is appropriate after the trip. If you feel the guides have been instrumental in your enjoyment of the trip, you may choose to direct a gratuity to the trip leader in the form of cash or check. He/She will then distribute it evenly to the other crew members. Of those that choose to tip, the average contribution amount ranges between $15.00 and $25.00 per guest, per day. However, the decision to tip is left to your sole discretion.
Beverages: We provide ice water, lemonade, fruit juices, one soda per day per person and ample cooler space. If you choose to bring any specialty sodas and/or alcoholic beverages, we have no problem taking whatever you want to bring – within reason. Don’t bring beer, wine coolers or sodas in glass containers. Wine packaged in a box is ideal. Mark beverages that you bring so they are packed on your boat. In Idaho, liquor is not sold on Sunday.
If you have any questions prior to leaving for your trip, we welcome you to call our Salt Lake City office, Monday through Friday at 800-624-6323 (outside Utah) or 801-266-2087 (inside Utah). We’re happy to take the time to answer your questions. You may also contact us by email at email@example.com.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TRIP, OUR GRANGEVILLE HEADQUARTERS NUMBER IS 208-983-1518
Salmon River Canyons Weather: In September, temperatures average between 55 and 80 degrees during the day and 40 to 60 degrees at night. In late June, July and August, daytime temperatures are 80 to 100 degrees, with nighttime temperatures 50 to 70 degrees. A thunderstorm or rainy day can happen and can cool temperatures considerably. With this in mind we recommend you have a rain suit, polypropylene underwear, (fleece top and pants are nice in cool weather too) and a light tent. If you reserved a rental unit with us when you booked your river trip, we will have a tent and rain gear for you.
Bugs, snakes, etc. are generally no problem. In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons wilderness camping on the river is so pleasant. Any river trip, however, is subject to a localized insect hatch. Sometimes bees will be about, so make sure you have appropriate allergy medications with you. We rarely see any snakes, but if the thought of them bothers you, try sleeping on the beaches or in a tent instead of rocky or bushy areas.
Fishing: You will need an Idaho fishing license, which you can obtain in Grangeville. A nonresident license is approximately $12.75 for the first day and $6.00 for each additional day. Junior fishing licenses are also available for children 14-17 years of age ($21.75/season). Trout and Bass fishing on the Lower Salmon is fair to excellent. There is also sturgeon to be caught and released. You will need to purchase your fishing license and fishing gear before the morning of the trip. If you would like to obtain more information or secure your license in advance contact: Idaho Fish and Game, online or at 800-554-8685.
Hiking is a highlight of the trip, however, it is strictly an optional activity. There are many interesting short hikes available. Hiking can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Remember that hiking and other activities vary widely pending time, and what other plans are ahead for the day on the river.
Things to see in the area: Wolf Center in Winchester, Kooskia National Fish Hatchery, Whitebird Battleground Historical Site, Lewis & Clark Canoe Camp of Orofino, Nez Perce National Historical Park (East Kamiah Site), Nez Perce National Historic Park (Spaulding site near Lapwai)
Reading material, you may enjoy:
River of No Return Carrey & Conley…………………………………………………. $15.95
River of No Return can be ordered on line at www.bikeraft.com, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $5.60 priority shipping to Holiday River Expeditions, 544 East 3900 South, SLC, UT 84107. This is available within the U.S. only. If outside the U.S. additional shipping and handling charges will be added. You can call 801-266-2087 for rates.
If you are flying, you can fly to Boise, Idaho located 200 miles (4 hour drive) south of Grangeville, Idaho (OR) Spokane, Washington located 185 miles (3 ½ hour drive) north of Grangeville, Idaho. You can also fly with Horizon Air (an affiliate with Alaska Airlines) to Lewiston, Idaho, which is 72 miles (1 ½ hour drive) north of Grangeville.
From there you can rent a car or take a bus to Grangeville. There is a shuttle service, Central Idaho River Shuttles (208-507-1830), out of Lewiston, Idaho (approximately $200). If you need assistance with your travel arrangements, please ask your Holiday River Expedition reservation agent.
Lodging before and after your trip can be booked at one of two locations:
Super 8 208-983-1002 (indoor pool, spa, free internet) *discount for Holiday guests.
Gateway Inn 208-983-2500 (outdoor pool, new owners, remodeled, complimentary breakfast)
*When making advance reservations at the Super 8, mention that you are on a Holiday River Expedition trip and you will be extended a discounted rate on your room (see above).
BE SURE TO MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS!
If you are camping out, there are several Forest Service campgrounds within 30 miles of Grangeville, Idaho.
Holiday River Expedition's Travel Agents - Mateja Harrington & Cindy Swenson with Cruise and Travel Masters are happy to assist you with your travel plans. Contact Mateja or Cindy to take the work out of "Getting Here".
Toll Free - 800-264-0557 (You must ask for Mateja Harrington or Cindy Swenson)
Email Attention Mateja or Cindy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, do it yourself, we can help…
Gateway - Boise, Idaho
Air Service to Boise (BOI)
- Alaska Air 800-252-7522
- Delta Air Lines 800-221-1212
- Southwest Airlines 800-435-9792
- United Airlines 800-241-6522
- US Airways 800-435-9792
- Allegiant Air 702-505-8888
Once in Boise most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting point in Grangeville, Idaho or Salmon, Idaho. All rental cars are located at the Gowen Field Airport.
- Enterprise Rental Car 208-381-0650
- Budget Rental Car 208-383-3090
- Dollar Rent a Car 801-575-2580
- Thrifty Rental Car 208-342-3924
- Hertz Rental Car 208-383-3100
Boise to Grangeville 200 miles
Boise to Salmon 250 miles
McCall Aviation provides flights from Boise to Salmon, Idaho. Flights are available at any time for any number of people from 1 to 25. Call 208-634-7137 x1 or 208-756-6211
Other destinations you can travel to Grangeville and Salmon, Idaho from:
Missoula, Montana to Grangeville 180 miles
Missoula, Montana to Salmon 140 miles
Idaho Falls, Idaho to Salmon 161 miles
Spokane, Washington to Grangeville 180 miles
Lewiston, Idaho to Grangeville 72 miles
Shuttle service to Grangeville from Lewiston Central Idaho River Shuttles 208-507-1830
Rafting Gear & Clothing Checklist
PROVIDED BY HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS
- LIFE JACKET
- LARGE WATERPROOF BAG
- DAY BAG
- CAMP CHAIR
- EATING UTENSILS AND PLATES
- FULL COURSE MEALS lunch the first day through lunch the last day
- DRINKS ice water, lemonade, juices, 1 pop/person/day-mix of reg. & diet
The day bag 8" diameter x 20" high is for items you will need access to during the day. For your sleeping gear and clothing, we will furnish you with one bag 16" diameter x 2 feet high. When properly sealed, bags are usually waterproof. Once in a while, one could develop a problem; so if you have concerns, test your bags. Separate storage is provided for tents and beverages. Please remember to keep your gear light and compact . . . the less you bring, the happier you will be. Please limit gear and clothing to no more than 15-20 lbs.
GEAR YOU MUST BRING OR RENT FROM HOLIDAY
- CUP plastic mugs work well
- WATER BOTTLE (not included in the rental kit)
- SLEEPING BAG compact and warm
- PONCHO/RAIN SUIT high quality important for Dinosaur & Desolation trips.
- SLEEPING PAD/AIR MATTRESS Compact, must fit in the bag described above.
- LIGHT TENT Back packer style, not the bulky, heavy types.
You can rent most of the items listed above in our sleeping rental kit. We offer two varieties, our basic sleeping kit which includes a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain gear and cup for $40.00, or the same basic sleeping kit with a two-man tent for $65.00. Rentals must be reserved in advance. Rentals requested the morning of the trip are subject to availability. Cups and water bottles available for purchase at our stores in Green River and Vernal Headquarters, or online.
- SWIMMING SUITS
- SHORTS quick drying
- LONG PANTS quick drying
- HAT for sun protection, with strap
- SUN GLASSES with safety strap
- SUN SCREEN SPF 15 or higher
- CHAPSTICK with sun screen
- HAND LOTION non-fragrant,small plastic bottle
- COMB or BRUSH
- TRAVEL TOWEL dries quick
- KLEENEX small travel pack
- CAMERA (at your own risk), extra memory cards (or film), batteries, and waterproof container
- SARONG (optional)
- SHIRT (S) short-sleeved, cotton, i.e. T-shirts
- SHIRT (S) long-sleeved, quick dry for sun protection
- SHOES keep dry for camp/hiking, i.e. durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots
- SHOES to get wet while rafting, i.e. water sport shoes or sneakers
- SOCKS several pair, 1 cotton, 2 polypropylene or wool
- JACKET fleece or pile with wind/rain resistant shell
- LONG UNDERWEAR (optional) med. weight polypropylene/synthetic type
- BIODEGRADABLE SOAP available at outdoor specialty stores, or ivory soap
- INSECT REPELLENT concentrates in small bottles works best, i.e. Musk brand
- TAMPONS/ZIPLOCK BAGS 1 bag per day
- MEDICATION Aspirin/IBU Profen/Tylenol and personal prescriptions
- FLASHLIGHT or HEADLAMP small with extra batteries
- STUFF SACK to keep wet/dry clothes separated, i.e. pillow case or plastic bag
- CAMELBAK/FANNY PACK for hiking
- FISHING GEAR (optional) compact and well protected, i.e. rods in a case
- EXTRA BEVERAGES (optional) NO GLASS PLEASE, liquor/boxed-wine/canned-beer/specialty pops/juice
- EXTRA SNACKS (optional) for small children and people with diabetes.
- GROUND CLOTH (optional, not included in Rental Kits) use it to sleep out under the stars
Things not to bring on your trip - glass-bottled beverages, radios, firearms, pets, and large amounts of cash beyond what you'll want for your guide's gratuity. Do not bring expensive electronics such as cell phones, laptops, tablets and the like, binoculars, cameras, jewelry and non-waterproof wristwatches. Warning: In the event of a loss our insurance will not cover these items. **If you do decide to bring any of these items along with you to the meeting point for your trip, the most secure location to leave them behind would be at your hotel in their safe or locked up in the trunk of your vehicle. As a last resort we have a non-secure location at our headquarters, but we cannot assume responsibility for these items.
EARLY OR LATE SEASONS SUPPLEMENTS
(May, June and September on all trips.)
- STOCKING CAP wool/polypropylene
- GLOVES wool/polypropylene
- WETSUIT BOOTIES (optional) replaces water sport shoes above
- PILE OUTERWEAR in addition to a quality jacket, synthetic pile pants
- LONG UNDERWEAR med. weight polypropylene/synthetic type
There is a greater chance of inclement weather on these trips which otherwise offer many advantages to the well-prepared river traveler. Polypropylene, fleece, pile, bunting, capeline, etc. are a few examples of trade names for a class of synthetic materials that retain their ability to insulate when wet (please note, cotton does not.) Your comfort on the trip starts with finding the right type of synthetic under and outer-wear and quality rain gear. We recommend Backcountry.com for your additional river trip needs. They offer a wide variety of gear to help you dress for success while on your river trip, no matter what the weather decides to do. A prepared traveler is a happy traveler.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT HOLIDAY'S ONLINE STORE:
www.BikeRaft.com or at our accessories stores in Green River and Vernal; the meeting points for our Cataract, Westwater, Desolation, Lodore and Yampa trips.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT BACKCOUNTRY.COM Backcountry camping gear and clothing