Living in Idaho is a dream come true for many. Especially when involvement in the Idaho Rafting is your livelihood. There is no other state in the lower 48 that competes with Idaho in river miles, wilderness, or pristine back country. So, in this post today, I’m going to talk about the many rivers of Idaho.

America’s Rafting Company floats 3 rivers: the Snake River, through Hells Canyon, the Salmon River and the Owyhee River. Those rivers are by far our favorite, but we may be a bit biased!



Here is a list of some of the other rivers in Idaho listed from North to South:

St. Joe River: (Northern Idaho) difficulty III-IV, season is May through June. The St. Joe river begins in the Bitterroot Mts. on the border between Montana and Idaho. It’s a major tributary to Lake Couer D’elane.

Lochsa River: (Northwestern Idaho) difficulty class IV-V, season is April to July. Lochsa is a Nez Pearce word for rough water. The Lochsa is considered one of the best Idaho Rafting rivers because of it’s continuous whitewater in Idaho, as it has 30+ miles of class IV rapids. The Lochsa also starts in the Bitterroots, it flows down to join the Selway River to form the middle fork of the Clearwater River.

Selway River: (Northwest Idaho) difficulty  class IV-V, season is May to September. The Selway River drains from a Southern end of the Bitterroot mountains and ties into the Lochsa River. The Selway is a very sought after Idaho rafting trip and is considered one of the big four in Idaho. In order to see the Selway, like many rivers in Idaho, you have to join a licensed outfitter or draw a private permit, which could take many years.

Clearwater River: (North Central Idaho) difficulty class II-III, season is January to December (if you’re crazy). The Clearwater is often visited by Steelhead Fishermen, it has many tributatires coming out of the Bitterroot Mountains, it eventually meets up with the Snake River near Lewiston.

Salmon River “The River of No Return”: (Central Idaho) difficulty class III-IV, season is May to October. The Salmon River is one of Idaho’s most famed water ways. It begins in the Sawtooth Mountains and flows dam-free, unchanged by man until it meets up at the confluence with the Snake River. The Salmon River is the river that puts Idaho rafting on the map as the world’s whitewater capital! If you’re ready to take an exhilarating trip down the Salmon River- you know who to call!

Snake River: (South Central Idaho) difficulty class III-IV, season is March-October. The Snake River is one of the major rivers for the Pacific Northwest. It is the largest tributary to the Columbia River. It is the largest North American River that empties into the Pacific Ocean. it begins in the western mountains of Wyoming, flowing across the entire state of Idaho, in what’s considered the Snake River Plain. From there it enters world renowned Hells Canyon on the border between Oregon and Idaho. Hells Canyon is known not only for it’s Idaho rafting and whitewater, but it’s white sturgeon. The fish can range anywhere from 3-11 feet in length and way upwards of 600 pounds! There are many reasons that America’s Rafting Company for it’s featured river, to find out all that the Canyon holds, you have to join us for an Idaho Rafting trip!

Payette River: (South Idaho) difficulty class III-IV season is April-August. The Payette River starts on the other side of the Sawtooth and Salmon River Mountains. It is one of the major tributaries to the Snake River.

Boise River: (South Idaho) difficulty class I-II, season is April- September. This meandering river is a tributary to the Snake and flow’s through Idaho’s capital, Boise. It is mainly used for leisure tubing days and fishing.

Owyhee River: (South Idaho, North Oregon) difficulty class IV-V season is April to May. The Owyhee River starts it venture on the North Eastern Edge of Nevada. It is a major tributary to the Snake River and boasts an amazing desert spectacle of chalk columns, seen nowhere else in North America. The Owyhee River is not for the weak of heart, this river is full of intense whitewater and can only be seen 2 months out of the year, as it’s fed by snow run off in the Spring. The river offers outstanding rhyolite canyons, great fishing and even some hot springs along the way! America’s Rafting Company offers this unique Idaho rafting trip each year.

Bruneau/Jarbidge River: (Southwest Idaho) difficulty class IV-V season is April to May. The Bruneau starts it’s life in the Jarbidge mountains of Northern Nevada, part of the Humboldt Toyaibe forest. It is a major tributary to the Owyhee River, the Bruneau is only accessible in the Spring, as it is fed by snow melt off. In order to see this river, you must wear a wet suit and be prepared for long stretches of gut wrenching whitewater!

Any river you may choose to visit in Idaho, is time well spent. If you choose to take a guided trip on one of our featured rivers, or if you’re interested in another river, let us know. We’ve got many friends in the Idaho Rafting world and would be happy to give you a referral!

See you on the river…