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The Best in Family Vacations &
Adventure Tours Vacations
Gorges of the Lower Salmon River, Idaho

Family Vacations & Adventure Tours Vacations - Lower Salmon River, ID
Four Days, Class II — III

Departure Dates
July 6, 14, 22, 30 - All Designated Family Dates

$907 adult / $771 youth

Five Days, Class II — III

Departure Dates

August 7, 15, 31; September 9 Designated Family Dates: August 7, 15, 31

$1115 adult / $948 youth

•  If you're seeking a low-intensity whitewater adventure, this trip will really float your boat! Plenty of fun Class III rapids alternate along the river with long stretches of calm, pristine water that provide the perfect opportunity to sit back, have a quiet conversation, and marvel at the stunning scenery. The swimmers amongst the group will appreciate the ample opportunities to cool off in the river's calm pools; they might also experience a swimmable rapid or two! For the more adventurous, the Lower Salmon offers great conditions to try out our inflatable kayaking.

•  Beach lovers will find themselves in heaven on the Lower Salmon. Because of its free-flowing state, this river has created an unusual number of huge sand bars along its shores. The Lower Salmon's plentiful white sand beaches make for ideal campsites and venues for horseshoes, volleyball, and soaking up the warm sunshine.

National Wild & Scenic River
•  The Salmon River received federal protection in 1968 following the passage of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. This legislation recognized the Salmon as having “unusual scientific, aesthetic and recreational value” and mandated that it “should be allowed to remain in a free-flowing state and natural setting without manmade alteration.” It was one of the original eight rivers to be protected under this act, and thankfully, its crowning attributes are well preserved to this day.

•  For the history buffs among you , the Lower Salmon is a veritable treasure chest of intriguing stories and relics from the regions past. Human history dates back to a mind-boggling 10,000 years ago, when the first humans inhabited the river canyon. For thousands of years, Native Americans lived and prospered along the river, some in semi-subterranean pit houses, remnants of which still exist today. Many centuries later, the Nez Perce tribe made its home along the Lower Salmon, leaving behind a wealth of tangible and intangible history. The Native American rock art that decorates the rock, mostly in the form of pictographs, dates back to prehistoric times. There is also plenty of mining, boating and other Old West history captured in this fascinating canyon.

Family Trips
•  The Lower Salmon is one of the best family trips offered by O.A.R.S. Warm weather, pleasant water, easy-going rapids, and famous beaches make this a great vacation for kids, parents, and grandparents of almost any age. TV, computers and telephones are replaced with campfires, tents and time spent in the rafts – memorable moments that you'll always share with your kids. They'll have a great time camping, kayaking, spotting wildlife, swimming, fishing and playing beach games like volleyball and frisbee – even your teenagers won't mind spending quality time with mom and dad in a place like this! Since we take care of all the details of the trip, from meal planning to camp chores, your time is 100% yours to enjoy. Ask about our Family Friendly departures: trips specifically designed with your children in mind.

Specialty Trips
•  Are you looking for a real hands-on river experience? We offer two instructional courses on the Lower Salmon: whitewater kayaking and whitewater dory instruction. This unique “moving classroom” atmosphere of these trips, combine with expert guides and spectacular surroundings to create a fun but informative adventure. Beginning or intermediate level kayakers are given the opportunity to take their skills to a higher level in O.A.R.S.' Wilderness Kayak School. Or, join our Whitewater Dory Instruction and learn how to row the beautiful, hard-hulled dories that have been a river-running tradition since the days of John Wesley Powell. The newfound skills, friendships and memories that you'll gain will be immemorial.

Sample Itinerary
We at O.A.R.S. pride ourselves in running a relaxed and always flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip may be like.

The Day Before Your Trip
•  We'll meet at 7:00 PM in the lobby of the Red Lion Hotel for a pre-trip meeting. This is an opportunity to meet your fellow adventurers and guides and to ask any last-minute questions. Your trip leader will provide you a thorough trip orientation, and then pass out your waterproof river bags so that you can pack your belongings that evening. If you are not able to attend the meeting, please let us know in advance and check in with our warehouse (208-743-4201) upon your arrival in Lewiston.

Day 1
•  We'll depart Lewiston at 8 AM for the scenic 2-hour drive to our launch spot at Hammer Creek. Along the way, we may stop to visit the Nez Perce museum in Spalding. The fascinating exhibit of Native American artifacts, including hand woven baskets and colorful headdresses, teaches us about this tribe that is such a part of western history.

•  Reaching the river, we see our guests excitement grow as we they see the colorful boats waiting for us and meet the rest of our O.A.R.S. crew. After an informative safety talk and brief paddle raft/inflatable kayak instruction, we set off on our river adventure! Those of us ready to get wet may take a swim through Rollercoaster rapid, which marks our entrance to Green Canyon. We'll stop to visit some ancient pictographs, and then continue our whitewater action with rapids like Wright-way, Demon's Drop and Pine Bar rapids.

•  As we meander along the river, we'll keep an eye out for the wildlife that inhabits the canyon. Golden eagles, ospreys, and river otters make frequent appearances; if we're lucky, we may also see beavers, cougars, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

•  The first day of the trip generally sets the pace for the following week on the river. Typically, we spend a few hours on the water in the morning, sometimes stopping for a short hike, a swim, or a visit to a historical site. Come lunchtime, we take a break at a sandy beach and enjoy an afternoon picnic. After feasting and relaxing on the beach (or perhaps swimming, a game of Frisbee or a nature walk), we get back in our boats for more exciting whitewater. Take this opportunity try your hand at the paddleboats and inflatable kayaks! Mid- to late-afternoon, we stop and make camp. Before long you'll be savoring pleasing hors d'oeuvres and the beverage of your choice – as fantastic as the food is, it always tastes better after a day on the river! Read, nap, or just sit back and laugh with friends and family as we prepare your dinner. Following another satisfying feast, the evening is yours to spend however you wish. Perhaps music, stories or jokes will bring the group together tonight; or the popping of the fire, the whisper of the river and the clarity of the immense, star-filled sky will encourage silent reflection on the amazing wilderness that is, for now, our home.

Days 2-3 or 4
•  Our journey down the Lower Salmon takes us through Green Canyon, and into Cougar and Snow Hole canyons, each offering a new perspective on the striking scenery that surrounds us. All the while, the river slowly unfolds its long and colorful history, providing glimpses of old mining and ranching sites, geological displays, remnants of ancient Indian cultures, and the remains of old Chinese stone houses.

Day 4 or 5
•  Slide Rapid marks the entrance to Blue Canyon; perhaps the most spectacular of the four gorges this trip will take us through. Hikers in the group can enjoy climbing to a vista for an impressive bird's-eye view of the river winding through the steep and slender canyon. Further downstream, as we meet the Snake River, we may have the chance to swim a rapid. After passing through the confluence with the Grande Ronde, we arrive at our destination, Heller Bar. A 45-minute ride is all it takes to get back to Lewiston, though we might feel like we have been worlds away during our memorable time in the wilderness.

What's Included?
•  4 (3) nights camping and 5 (4) days rafting
•  Meals from lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 5 (4), with limited beer & wine at dinner
•  Skilled professional rafting guides
•  Expedition equipment, including tent,which can be shared between two people, a sleeping bag and pad, life jacket, wetsuits for paddlers when required and waterproof bags to hold your gear

What's Not Included?
•  Items of personal nature (an equipment list will be provided)
•  Transportation back and forth between Lewiston
•  Pre / Post- vacation meals and accommodations

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