Idaho is blessed with over 3,000 miles of whitewater ranging from Class I to Class V in difficulty, challenging kayakers from all across the nation to come to Idaho to test their skills against the cold rushing water and slick rock channels that demand constant attention and stamina.
There are areas on the Snake, Boise, Salmon Rivers that are less challenging with class I and II rapids that allow the kayaker to enjoy the scenery, gain confidence and skill. These areas offer little difficulty with easy self rescue when necessary. In the northern part of Idaho, near Coeur d Alene lake and river system, the Kootenai, Pend Oreille, St. Maries and Teton Rivers provide good class I and II waters to enjoy along with the fantastic scenery. Most of the dates available for kayaking vary from January to September, with some only available for a few months based on climate and snowfall the previous winter. Depending on which river you chose, you can kayak from a half day to multiday trips.
A good source of information is the following website: http://www.visitidaho.org/whitewater; it lists whitewaters by class and by type of river trip. One the most renown areas is the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, which many people chose to take guided raft trips with comfortable camping and cuisine that is better than many of the high class hotels in vacation resorts can offer. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is one of the original rivers included in the Wild and Scenic River System; it is in one of the most beautiful parts of Idaho, the Frank Church Wilderness area near the Continental Divide.
If you live out of state, the best way to get to Idaho is to fly and rent a car in Boise or fly to an area closer to the place you intend on visiting. Driving to Idaho is an option also as it allows you to bring your gear with you instead of renting equipment after arriving here.
Make sure your equipment and gear is in excellent condition and let yourself have time to adjust to the climate and elevation. Some areas are steep and mountainous and require more physically from kayakers who are used to lower elevations. Make sure you let people know where you are going and how long you plan on being gone and be prepared. A good planning in advance of a trip is worth a lot; it may make a great deal of difference if something unforeseen should happen.
The roll and ripple of the current sliding over the dark green slick rocks, high canyon walls overhead and the trout jumping ahead of you as your kayak crosses a calm pool; the smell and taste of coffee flavored by pine scented air– these and more are what call you to test your skill in Idaho’s whitewater rapids.