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Old 07-01-2013   #1
Minden, Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 10
Lower Salmon from Hammer ck to Heller Bar

Two of us are planning to do the Heller to Hammer stretch of the lower salmon the last week of July. Will have one oar boat and one duckie - any thoughts from those of you that have rafted this stretch as to whether its ok to have one boat? We have experience including the GC however usually go with more boats. From the guide rapids look III or under except for one IV. Also any recommendation on shuttle companies would also be appreciated or any other useful tidbits. Thanks.

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Old 07-01-2013   #2
The Mogur's Avatar
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 457
I've made many solo trips down the Lower Salmon. The rapids are generally short and straightforward, so I never felt the need for a safety boat. As for shuttles, I've always used Whitebird Motel . Another option: All Rivers Shuttle Service :: Shuttles and Transportation for The Lower, Main and Middle Fork of the Salmon, Selway and Snake River

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Old 07-01-2013   #3
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 149
We have done several one boat trips on the Lower though it appears you actually have two boats. Michelle at All Rivers Shuttle gets my recommendation. Don't forget your invasive species sticker and the parking pass thing for Heller Bar.
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Old 07-02-2013   #4
Vandal's Avatar
Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 9
We do a several single boat trips very year on the Lower with our three kids. In fact we're also planning on running the full Lower during the last week of July this year.This year we're also adding a duckie since the boat is getting a little crowded and heavy as the kids are growing. I agree with others that All Rivers Shuttle in Whitebird is the way to go...Michelle is she's started selling "real" block ice this year (not the compressed slush sold at most stores) which is a huge bonus for folks traveling long distances to get to Hammer Creek who need to replenish their coolers for the heat. Speaking of prepared with lots of shade on your boat and for the beach. Most people are shocked at how hot the Lower is in July. It's almost always over 90 degrees...but frequently it's hotter. On our 6 day run last year during the last week of July it was over 100 every day. There are very few campsites with natural shade.

One other issue is the "crowds" in July. We just came off the Lower yesterday and only saw three other groups over four days, but in July the traffic really picks up. The Lower is a self-issue permit so it can get really crowded at the Hammer Creek ramp and very competitive for camp spots. Although its not allowed commercial outfitters frequently send out camp runners early to snag some of the best sites...a trend that has gotten worse in recent years in my experience. We have found that its best to get up early and be on the water by 8 am. This allows us to avoid some of the heat and get a head start on most of the other groups...we usually try to be off the river at camp by 1:00-2:00 pm at the latest. This allows us to usually get a good camp, set up shade to sit out the heat of the afternoon, and avoid some of the brutal afternoon winds. We've tried to get a later start, but we've found that it was almost impossible to find camp spots later in the afternoon, especially below Snow Hole Canyon. One year we ended up floating until 8:00 pm because we couldn't find an open camp spot...we eventually found a small sliver of beach to camp on, but it was marginal at best. Just skip the hot breakfast and get moving early and you should be fine.
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Old 07-02-2013   #5
GoodTimes's Avatar
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
How about September???

My little dude is finally ready for his first multi-day and I thought the lower or Main would be ideal in September. Not too hot (well, I guess it can be)...low water, better fishing, less peeps....

We've been in Idaho for three years now but haven't been able to jump on either of these because finding a babysitter for 4 or 5 days isn't the easiest thing to do!
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Old 07-02-2013   #6
Vandal's Avatar
Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 9
September is great...even if its hot the days are shorter so it's less suffering in general. More chances for rain/cool weather. Lower water in September also means more beaches and camping spots. Some of the rapids can be kinda bony...but if you're a competent boater it shouldn't be a problem. Weekends can be busy, and there tends to be a little more jet boat traffic because of the fishing is better, but fewer multiday folks and fewer outfitters on the river. It's good to note that on October 1 (or near there) chukar season opens and you get the "cast and blast" folks on the river...which is fine if that's your thing...I prefer to avoid guns around inflatable boats . BTW the Lower is great for kids at any's my kids favorite activity!

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