Stanley River Rafting Shuttles

Idaho River Rafting Shuttles

In 2020, Caldwell Transportation marked its 20th year of providing Middle Fork and Main Salmon River shuttle services from our Stanley, Idaho office to Boise. The bus option is a great way to get groups to and from the Main or Middle Fork, particularly from the Treasure Valley area. At this time, we do not provide individual vehicle shuttles for the Main Salmon River but would love to shuttle your individual vehicles for your Middle Fork trips.

We know many of our river rat passengers love a good adrenaline rush, but we want to leave action to the rapids; the shuttle bus ride to the river shouldn’t be scary! Caldwell Transportation drivers are CDL qualified and drug tested, so you can be confident that we will get you and your river raft safely to your Idaho river rafting adventure.

Who We Work With

We continue to appreciate our relationships with all of the Middle Fork and Main Salmon outfitters who trust us with the responsibility of transporting their clients to and from the rivers on which they operate. We have developed and maintained wonderful friendships with all of our outfitters and their guides.

Call us anytime to reserve your individual vehicle shuttle, check river flows, and local weather, or arrange a bus shuttle for your group!

The Unique Experience of Rafting in Stanley and Other Parts of Idaho

Stanley is one of Idaho’s premier destinations for outdoor enthusiasts and attracts a yearly crowd from all over the world. With world-class river sports, outdoor activities like camping and hiking, and great scenery, there is no questioning why people love it up there. Stanley boasts lots of whitewater rafting for river enthusiasts and offers experienced guides for those looking for a safe way down the river. With some of the world’s best whitewater, Stanley definitely has it all for those seeking a little excitement.

While Idaho, in general, is a pretty well-kept secret, we do want to share with you some fantastic rivers easily accessible from Boise. Here are some of the rivers and places that have guided raft trips:

  • Salmon River: To take in all of the Idaho scenery, float down the Main Salmon River. Beautiful beaches mixed with exciting rapids make this a great trip. The main part of the Salmon River is 89 miles of splendor and fun. Transfers include Salmon, Idaho, and McCall, Idaho.
  • Middle Fork of the Salmon River: If you’re looking for thrills, this is the portion of the Salmon River for you. Plenty of rapids line this trip as descend 3,000 feet in elevation. You can consider yourself a pioneer as the Middle Fork is one birthplace of river rafting in the West.
  • Lower Salmon River: Popular with families, the Lower Salmon, covers 53 miles and connects to the Snake River.
  • Snake River: There are many places to raft the Snake, including the popular Hells Canyon route along the Idaho/Oregon border.
  • Riggins, Idaho: For shorter trips down the Salmon, plan a day trip out of Riggins.
  • Stanley, Idaho: One of Idaho's most popular destinations for rafting and other outdoor activities, Stanley is a perfect takeoff for the Salmon.
  • Horseshoe Bend, Idaho: A popular spot for half-day trips down the Payette River, Horseshoe Bend is a short drive from Boise.
  • Selway River: For those seeking a technical challenge, you’ll want to tackle the 100 miles of the Selway River. Only a small group of people can launch on this river during its short season as the focus is on solitude.
  • Lochsa River: If you want to mix a little fishing in with your rafting, the Lochsa River is an excellent choice. This is a trip for more experienced rafters.
  • Main Payette River: The Main Payette River is the perfect trip for families and first-time river rafters. The drops are easy with rapids ranging from Class II to Class III.
  • South Fork of the Payette River- Staircase: One of the most popular trips in Idaho, the South Fork has Class III-IV rapids. This is an accessible trip for those wanting an adrenaline rush.

Take a look at the "10 Must-Do Whitewater Rapids" before you decide!

Rafting Safety and Preparedness

Being prepared and safe on the river, no matter which you choose to raft is important! It makes all the difference in how your trip can go.

Spring, Summer, and Fall are all good times to go rafting, but for different reasons:

  • Spring- because the water is high, the rapids are big, and the prices are low. There are also beautiful flowers in bloom and lovely wildlife.
  • Summer- because the water is warm, and it's vacation time!
  • Fall- because the crowds are gone, the trees are beautiful, and the weather is still comfortable.

When searching for the right river to raft, you should:

  • Do your Research on the Area- Be sure to know exactly where rivers are located and how long it will take to get to them.
  • Know your Skill Level- You will need to know what you are capable of and what you’re comfortable with before choosing a river to raft. Know what the class of the rapids are before jumping into the river.
  • Choose a Good Guide- Choosing a good guide is as important as choosing the river you are eventually going to raft. A guide should have experience and know what they are doing. Getting a great guide may be the difference between having a good time or someone getting hurt.

Take a look at what a day on the river is like so you can know what to expect!

Additional Resources and Information: Essential whitewater rafting safety tips Whitewater safety 101

River Rapid Classes

River experts use the International Scale of Difficulty when it comes to ranking different types of rapids. The rankings start at Class I and progress to a Class 6, which is almost impossible to finish and requires great skill. It is important that a person chooses the right classification number that is equal to both their skill and comfort level. It is part of being safe on the river and can save lives.

The different rapid classifications include:

  • Class I: Easy. This is just fast-moving water with a few small waves. It has a few obstructions, which are all obvious and easily missed with a little bit of training.

  • Class II: Novice. These are considered straightforward rapid that have clear channels that can be seen without scouting. There may be some occasional maneuvering required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed.

  • Class III: Intermediate. This is where the rapids start getting a little tricky. Class III rapids are classified as having moderate to irregular wave height and may be difficult to avoid. Complex maneuvers also may be in order in this rapid. Class IV: Advanced- Don’t enter a Class IV rapid without an experienced guide at the helm. The degree of difficulty has gone up substantially on a Class IV rapid and required some expert maneuvering. Scouting on these types of rapids may be necessary the first time down them.

  • Class V: Expert. Class V is the second to highest class you can strive for in the rafting community. It may also be the hardest rapid that is regularly doable, as anything higher is almost seen as impassable. These are very demanding rapids that should only be attempted by experts and are very long, obstructed, or violent.

  • Class VI: Extreme. These types of rapids are typically just to look at, as they are attempted very rarely. The consequences of error are quite dire, and rescue may be considered impossible. If these types of rapids must be tried, they should only be done by true professionals or a team of professionals.

If you have any further questions on the classification system or rapids, contact your local outfitter.

What to Pack on a Rafting Trip

Your comfort and safety are a priority, so make sure you're in clothes that fit you well. Come in swimwear and flexible, securely-attached footwear (such as water shoes, sneakers, or river sandals). A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are always a must, even in the spring and fall.

For cooler times of the year, consider adding on:

  • Wool socks
  • A windbreaker
  • Appropriate fabric such as wool or fleece: cotton will cool you considerably when it's wet

If you're contracting with a commercial outfitter, your list of items to bring along will be short. Don't bring along heavy electronics that might be damaged or lost in the water, but be sure you're comfortable. With a commercial outfitter, food is often provided as well as all rafting equipment.

Here's a more detailed list of what you'll want to bring on your trip.

Most importantly, don't forget that we can get you to your destination! Contact us to get a ride organized.