On this idyllic family trip, you can expect your first class guide to play freeze tag with the kids on the beach, prepare gourmet meals, and guide you safely through the whitewater. Our program for kids will keep them entertained and amazed. They might even learn about geology or the Nez Perce Indian tribe.
Falling asleep under the stars, listening to the rivers lullaby, and splashing through the whitewater, will help you discover something about what makes life enjoyable. Connect with your family, or in some way rediscover a bit of yourself. You are certain to meet friends that will be remembered for a lifetime. By the end of the trip everyone will be planning and plotting their next river vacation.
The Day Before
Travel to Lewiston, ID a representative from HCR will meet you at 8PM at the Red Lion Hotel for a brief orientation. (Other hotels can be arranged) Watertight bags and containers will be distributed. You will have a chance to answer last minute questions. Dinner is on you own.
Breakfast is at the hotel. After breakfast we depart from the hotel by 7:30AM to the launch site. The guides have the boats ready to go. After a short safety orientation we finish strapping down our gear and launch for the trip of a lifetime. The day is spent running rapids, lunch on the beach, and starting our “River Time.” There is time for fishing from the boats, at lunch, and also when we arrive at camp. We bring all the gear to fish with.
Each day we stop for a riverside lunch break around noon. This is a great time to get to know the other guides and guests, fish a little, and usually we take a short hike. We run through Cougar Canyon where we find several fun class II and III rapids.
We arrive in camp around 4-5:00. You walk up into camp to find your tents set and your gear bags packed up. For the kids and kids at heart we will have beach games, swimming from the beach or build a sand castle. For the adults there is time for relaxing, hiking, fishing, or reading a book from our River Library.
Hors d’ oeuvres are served around 6ish, and dinner around 7:30. After dinner and a Dutch Oven desert there is time around the campfire to tell stories of conquered rapids, fish tails or roasting s’mores. The stars start to appear, inviting conversations with old and new friends. Soon it is time to wander off to your tent and bed.
You arise to the aroma of fresh coffee and sizzling bacon. Breakfast is served around 7:30 or 8:00. While the guides clean up the kitchen and other gear there is time to pack your personal gear. We will come around and take down your tents, as they are cleaned out. We usually get on the river about the same time the sun peaks over the canyon rim. It is about 9:30 before we see sun on the water. Today we run through Snow Hole Canyon. This first rapid is a class III/IV rapid named after the canyon we are about to enter. A quick scout provides a view of the excitement to come, and a chance for the paddle boat and kayakers to receive last minute instructions. We will also explore a classic stone Chinese miner’s house. During the late 1800’s there were many Chinese miners calling the Salmon River their home; sometimes spending a year or more without leaving the canyon.
After lunch we start into the oxbow of the river. This is a great time to try out the inflatable kayaks before we get to China Rapids. We arrive in camp around 4:30. Our camp tonight is on a huge white sand beach in the Billy Creek area. River Billy was a Nez Perce Indian that called this area home. Chief Joseph and his followers forded the Salmon River below the mouth of this creek while fleeing the U.S. Army after the battle at White Bird.
The big flat beach is great for beach games. We set up a volleyball net, play beach bocce, or horse shoes. The guides have an endless supply of games they can pull out. You could also summit one of the many peaks around the area for an amazing panoramic view.
By now you have a true grasp of “River Time.” There will be more time for playing on the beach, hanging out in the shade, followed by another evening of laughter echoing off the canyon wall
During the morning float there are some great smaller rapids for the kayaks, and stand up paddle boards to try. There are some great spots for fishing, and spotting birds of prey circling above the canyon rim.
Lunch is just above “Blue Canyon”, named for the bluish/black tone of the igneous rock that forms the dramatic landscape. Here the river is forced into a narrower channel with several rapids in a row. At the end of Blue Canyon we arrive at the impressive confluence of the Salmon and Snake Rivers.
At the end of Blue Canyon we arrive at the impressive confluence of the Salmon and Snake Rivers. We camp close to the confluence. Sleep out under the stars. Each tent has a tarp spread out in front. You can pull your pad out for all night or just for a little while. There’s nothing like watching the stars with kids.
The river still has more to share. There are small rapids and some amazing scenery as we enter Hells Canyon on the Snake River. The canyon opens up to grassy mountainsides. Watch for Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep, and reflect on the journey that is coming to an end. Depending on the river flow we may join the rafts together and use a small quiet outboard motor cover some of today’s miles.
We stop on a beach for our final lunch, and group photos. Email addresses are exchanged for sharing photos. Plans are made for a reunion trip next season. A few more miles and we arrive at Heller Bar, our take out. We say our good byes.
It’s a quick 45 minute ride back to Lewiston. Time for a hot shower, and a change of clothes. Most all guests will plan to fly out the next morning. If you are flying out of Lewiston there is a free shuttle to the airport. If your flight is out of Spokane it is two hours’ drive from Lewiston. If you had your vehicle shuttled from Cambridge to Lewiston, it will be waiting in the hotel parking lot.
Logistics, Salmon River Canyons, 4 days, 62 miles
If you fly:
The day before the trip fly into Lewiston, ID or Spokane, WA. Lewiston is service by Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. If you fly into Lewiston the Red Lion Hotel has a free airport shuttle. Spokane is served by most of the major airlines. If you fly into Spokane it is easiest to rent a car for the 2 hours scenic drive to Lewiston.
If you drive:
Meet in Lewiston, ID by 8PM the evening before your trip. Your vehicles can stay in the hotel parking lot while you are on the trip.
At the end of the trip
We include transportation from the take-out to Lewiston, ID. You can fly out of Lewiston, ID or Spokane WA. Lewiston is serviced by Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airline. Spokane is a 2 hour drive from Lewiston
Can be stored at the hotel or in your vehicle. We are happy to store any valuables at the HCR office.
Book your Trips online
Deposit per booking, what you pay now: Adult/Child » $400 Trip Cost per booking: Adult » $1290, Child » $890
Trips can be tentatively reserved for 7 days. Reservations are confirmed upon a receipt of a deposit. We accept deposits by check, money order, Visa, and/or MasterCard. When we receive your completed reservation form and deposit we will send your confirmation receipt, a detailed packing list, and travel information. Reservation forms may be filled out online on our website or simply call us.
The balance is due 45 days prior to the launch date of your trip. If final payment is not received when due, we reserve the right to regard the reservation canceled.
If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible. You will be given a refund less the deposit if you cancel 45 days prior to departure. If cancellations are made on or after the final payment due date, no money will be refunded unless we fill the trip. In that case we will refund your payment less the deposit amount. You are welcome to find a replacement for yourself.
We recommend you consider purchasing trip insurance.