Idaho is not just famous for potatoes; this state also has some of the best whitewater rafting in the country! So that begs the question, out of all the awesome places to raft in Idaho, which ones are the best?
10 Best Idaho Rapids
We've compiled the top 10 rapids that Idaho rafting guides say are their favorites (in no particular order).
Granite on the Snake River in Hells Canyon
Hells Canyon has the deepest gorge in North America. The Granite Rapid is one of the few rapids that was not impacted by the Hells Canyon Dam. The rapid got its name from the iconic rock found across Idaho.
The power of the Snake River moved a semi truck-sized boulder, which created what rafters like to call “green room.” The green room is at the bottom of the trough and is an ocean-sized wave that is truly a sight to be seen, and a challenge for experienced rafters.
Ruby Rapid on the Salmon River
During the spring, the Ruby Rapid on the Salmon River is a monster class IV rapid but mellows out during the summer season to a Class II. The rapid got its name from Idaho's star garnets you can find along the shores.
At the entrance of this rapid, you go through what is known as the “the pencil sharpener” before paddling your way to awesome ocean-sized rollers. Any experienced rafter will tell you that if you miss this move, you end up in the “pancake wave” that will flip you like a hotcake.
Black Creek on the Main Salmon River
In 2011, a creek blowout created what is now known as the Black Creek Rapid. For most of the rafting season, Black Creek is a very technical rapid as you will most likely opt to ride the left line of the rapid instead of trying to go down the center.
Slide on the Lower Salmon River
During most of the season, Slide doesn't register as a blip on most people's radars. But try the rapid in the spring, and you'll be singing a different tune.
When the water is running high, Slide is an impressive Class 5 rapid that only professionals should attempt. The slide is comprised of 2 enormous lateral waves with plenty of eddies and surging hydraulics.
Ladle on the Selway River
The Ladle Rapid is known to most for being very brawny and technical. Its funnel-like shape makes navigating the boulder very tricky, especially when the water is low, but rafting enthusiast seems to love it.
Hells Half Mile in the Middle Fork Salmon River
Hells Half Mile is one of the best. When the water is high, this rapid is long and winding that has some raft-eating holes, and when the water is low, is a boulder garden of technical twists and turns.
Flight Simulator in the South Fork of the Salmon River
The Flight Simulator is a Class IV or V rapid with six bends that will leave you feeling like you've just encountered a lot of air turbulence.
Terminator Rapid in Lochsa River
The Terminator is best done during the spring peak flows. The rapid starts with a very inviting large entrance but quickly adds a couple of slapper waves that leave some rafters without their oars. So hold on tight if you decide to try this adventure.
Blackadar in the South Fork of the Payette River
While Blackadar certainly isn't the biggest rapid on the Payette, rafting pro's think it is by far the funniest with the extra perk of having the best scenery.
Blackadar is a Class IV rapid and has some huge waves that keep paddlers coming back from more.
Sunbeam in the Upper Salmon River
The Sunbeam rapid was created by a dam that was erected in 1910 but later destroyed due to its effect on the Salmon population.
Sunbeam is a rapid that the pros will tell you that you have to ride the edge, and if you don't, you'll end up top-down and swimming the rest of the wave. It's very technical, and iconic rapid because of its history.
So there you have it, our top 10 picks of the best rapids in Idaho. If you are ready to finish out the summer with a rafting trip, contact us to get on our next bus to Stanley!