All rivers are rated on a "class" scale to help you determine the hazards associated with the whitewater on each river trip. Many of our guests are in search of moderate whitewater where you not only feel the excitement of the rapids but also relax and soak up the beauty of the wilderness. Others are looking for a more intense whitewater experience. Regardless of your choice, be assured that our river outfitters have the best safety records in the industry. Note that the "class" scale was introduced after the rapids in Grand Canyon had already been rated therefore the Grand Canyon is rated on the older "1-10" system. A size 10 rapid in Grand Canyon would be a class V rapid, and so on.
Class I Fast moving water with uniform waves that tug at the boat. No obstacles with very little need for manuevering. Each of our trips have some stretches of calm class I water, creating a pleasant break between larger rapids.
Class II Large uniform waves and or drops that are easy to navigate with little manuevering. Some obstacles in wide channels that can be discovered without scouting. Some big splashes of water are common, lots of fun, little danger.
Class III Large powerful rapids with irregular waves and narrow passages that makes the boat shimmy and sends hearts racing. Large amounts of water in your face with plenty of excitement and thrill with some avoidable danger. Aviodance of obstacles and manuevering required, scouting advised.
Class IV Long, difficult rapids, narrow passages with large drops, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering in the rapid. Large obstacles and danger for swimmers, requires skilled guides and scouting.
Class V At the limits of navigation, that requires precise manuevering, large whirlpools and undertoes. Should only be attempted by highly adventurous and in shape experienced river runners. Very dangerous, deliver's a large adrenaline rush.
Class VI Beyond the limits of navigation, serious threat to life. Only the most expert should attempt this. Commercial raft trips don't go here. There's too much other water to enjoy.
Spring time rafting May through June has it's wildflowers and higher water flows for exciting whitewater and more time for hiking. Although temperatures during the day are warm the nights can be chilly and the water temperatures cool. Most of the rafting companies provides wetsuits and splash gear for all of the spring trips. Most of our river trips are uncrowded wilderness areas but these early trips are ussually smaller groups and less busy overall.
July and August are the most predictable with hot sunny days with little humidity or bugs. The whitewater is good and the water temperatures are warm. On the Salmon River the beaches get bigger as the water flows fall.
September is uncrowded and offers some of the mildest weather, although water temps can start to fall and the nights will be a bit cooler. Lower water flows ussually make for better fishing and a slower paced trip.
Main Salmon River 5 day wilderness trip .... Class III
Snake River "Hells Canyon" trip .... Class III to IV
Lower Salmon River "Canyons" trip .... Class III
Owyhee River trip .... Class III
2 Day Salmon River overnight trip .... Class III
Salmon River 1/2 and Full Day trips .... Class III to IV