We love the Lower Salmon River and try to float it every year. For some hard-core rafting enthusiasts it doesn't make the list but we love it for many reasons. We love that we don't need to draw a permit in order to be on a multi-day whitewater river. Although we put in to the permit draws for the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Main Salmon, Hells Canyon and even on occasion the Selway, we don't always draw one of those. When we don't draw one of the harder to get permits we can still have a great multi-day trip on the Lower Salmon.
We also love this river because the water and air temperatures are great for kids. The air temps can get pretty hot down in the canyon but you always have water to cool off with-whether that's with a swim, water gun fight, cliff jump or kamikaze run down the beach and into the water, you can always cool off. It is rare that any of us are cold while rafting the Lower Salmon.
We love the nature of the whitewater on this trip too. There is plenty of big splashy fun but not too many dangerous consequences for mistakes. Don't get me wrong, we are always careful. Every one of us wears a PFD while on the water, calm or rapid. We always scout the rapid if anyone is nervous and we always have a rescue plan in place. That said, the consequences on this river tend to be pretty minor so we feel free to let our kids stretch their wings and fly a bit!
When it is time to get off the river we love the white sand beaches. There are many other more remote riverside campsites on other rivers but none rival the sandy fun found on the Lower Salmon. Our kids can't wait to get out buckets, shovels, trucks, sticks, rocks, and anything they can find to spend the afternoon moving the sand all around. They are our own Army Corps of Engineers! White sand also makes for a very comfortable night for the older members of our group who don't sleep as well on the ground as we used to.
If you are looking for some fun in the sun and on the water, a trip down the Lower Salmon should be on your list. There are many guide companies who can take you if you can't go on your own. If a raft trip isn't possible for you there are some very fun jet boat tours out of Lewiston, ID that give you a chance to have some fun and get some speed too. We often get a chance to hang out with day tripping jet boaters at Cherry Creek falls and they always look like they are having a wonderful time too. A quick google search will set you up with lots of options.
By Abby McAllister
Harley & Abby McAllister
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