Idaho runs to do??? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-03-2007   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Idaho runs to do???

I'm doing a 5 day trip on the middle fork of the salmon during late may. after finishing in salmon, idaho, some are staying for 4 more days of kayaking. What runs would you recommend looking into?? We want the most bang for our buck travel wise. Runs near salmon, id or on our way working back towards boise would be preferred.

we're SE boaters with less flavor for big volume and more for steeper, lower volume. any ideas appreciated. any guidebooks you recommend???


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Old 03-04-2007   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 18
SF Salmon River
Deadwood River
NF Payette
SF Payette Canyon
Big Creek (difficult logistics)

Riley Creek
Deep Creek
Bitch Creek

I think "Idaho, The Whitewater State" is the guidebook the locals use. You could probably use a copy.
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Old 03-04-2007   #3
Wydaho, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1996
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Heading back towards Boise from Salmon, the runs north of Boise would be easiest, logistics-wise; Payettes, Deadwood.

Also check out

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Old 03-04-2007   #4
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 34
The only guide book to get is Idaho, the whitewater state byt Grant Admaral.

As for top runs. Check out a DVD titled Gravity for some ideas.
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Old 03-04-2007   #5
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 652
Cool, you are there in high water!

Lochsa is big water and a blast!
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Old 03-05-2007   #6
yoga teacher
Join Date: Mar 2007
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guidebook--Grant Amaral--Idaho the Whitewater State

It depends on if you are going to boat from the take out or if you have to drive back to the put in on where to go.

If you go back to the put in, the Lochsa (there are two awesome sections) and N.F. of the Clearwater are both awesome big water class III, IV runs that are a fun way to get used to the big water of Idaho. The S.F. of the Clearwater has two sections--both are pretty intense big and pushy and technical. The Mickey Mouse run would probably be the one to do, but don't put on too high.

If you go from the take out, someone suggested S.F. Salmon area--two problems--lots of driving (not good if you want to maximise boating days), most runs are multi-day, and the runs are pretty difficult. The Goat Creek section of the S.F. Salmon is a single day run, but it is intense pushy class IV, V in a wilderness setting. East Fork South Fork Salmon is like the North Fork of the Payette (class V) but in the Wilderness (intense!!)

So, I would suggest the Payettes instead--on the way from the take out to Boise. N.F. Payette, even the lower 5, is gonna be intense. I would say do the S.F. Payette. The Stairstep section is the easiest. Its big water class III with a IV here and there. Its super fun in a playboat and has awesome play. Also, the Canyon stretch has more class IV and can be done in a creek boat or playboat. Its really fun river running.

There are also multiple park and play spots up and down the main Salmon near Riggins and there are plenty of park play spots near Boise that are very active and popular. You can find out about those in The Playboater's Guide to Idaho.

I am a southeastern boater too. I have not found any low volume creeks in Idaho. I know there are some up in the panhandle and I know that Lolo Creek is a good class IV creek. I have put on some "low volume" stuff there and been scared out of my mind--its way different. Its always pushier than it looks and has lots of wood. I prefer to go run the big water class III, IV and try to prepare myself for runs in the future such as the NF Payette and East Fork South Fork Salmon--these are the class Vs there that people aspire to. My favorite runs are the Lochsa and the North Fork Clearwater. I usually am not much if a playboater, but Idaho is dreamy for playboating. The features are so big and soft and so different from anything around here. Its such a cool place to learn to get out in the middle and put your head down and charge into stuff. Its also good for your roll. River running on class III, IV there is going to feel intense compared to here, but there aren't many undercuts or sieves! Be careful of wood.

The water is cold and the air usually warm that time of year. The locals are extremely nice. Boise has an awesome boater scene with good beer hang outs.

Have fun out there!

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Old 03-05-2007   #7
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 35
The book of choice is Grant's book, but it's pretty tough to get your hands on one, since they are not in print anymore and updates are being made. It looks like you can get a used copy on Amazon, but you'll pay quite a bit for it. Looks like prices vary from $40 - $190 for a used copy.

Definitely hit the Payettes, the Staircase section of the South Fork should be cranking up by then. Grandjean section (III-IV) might be fun too. On the way to the Payettes, just outside Riggins, there is the Little Salmon (19mi. III-V) and several creeks (Hazard (III-IV), Hard (IV-V), etc.) and plenty of surf spots on the Main Salmon. Should be plenty to run that time of year.

If you need more specific information, let me know.
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Old 03-05-2007   #8
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Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
"When in Rome..."

I would dispense with the search for low volume steepness before you get to Idaho, there isn't much in the area you will be in. I second the suggestions to go hit up the Payettes. In that area there is a great variety of whitewater from class I thru V, good (free) camping, and easy access. It is entirely feasible to do three different sections all in a day. Plus, during high water there will be epic play on the Main Payette and SF. If you are looking for steep/hard then you gotta do the North Fork. It may not be 300 ft/mile, but I think it will keep your attention.
"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes writing for the majority in New Jersey v. New York
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Old 03-05-2007   #9
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 169
Re: Idaho

Originally Posted by southerngirl
I know there are some up in the panhandle and I know that Lolo Creek is a good class IV creek. I have put on some "low volume" stuff there and been scared out of my mind--its way different. Its always pushier than it looks and has lots of wood.
lolo isn't really class iv, that is a bit of a myth in my opinion. just a warning from someone who had a long day there, once. some class V elements and very remote. gets hard fast if the water comes up.

lots of suggestions here, but if you're looking for stuff on your way back to boise, try boise drainage or payettes. not much activity on the forum, but it should pick up as things thaw out.

even though you said you aren't that into big volume, definitely run murtaugh canyon on the snake if it has water. it is one of the best day trips in idaho, imho. neat canyon, great play or ledge drops at low water.
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