A week of wonderful

General Description:

More than any other trip we offer, this trip changes lives!

For seven glorious summer days you will float 90 miles of the Salmon River in the heart of the Idaho backcountry. Long, full days on the river, wonderful, relaxing nights under the stars, countless memories. Rapids, beaches, creeks, hikes, campfires, lessons, stories, friends. Sore muscles that last a week, cool tans that last a month, memories that last forever. You’ll gain confidence and come away energized by learning a new skill and making new friends.

The goal of this school is to get you as much rowing time as possible. We’ll take lots of rafts, big ones with instructors and little ones with just a single student each. The rapids are pretty straightforward, great for learning how to navigate whitewater and the water is pretty warm, just in case you don’t learn fast enough. The campsites are wonderful, ideal for figuring out how to do the whole cooking thing and the length of the trip is just right, full but not long days and relaxed evenings. And, best of all, our instructors are patient angels, ready to teach, show, share, and laugh with you.

We hope you can join us.

About the Trip:

Our Idaho rowing school promises to be a true adventure! This is a great course for those who want to develop rowing skills for private trips, for those who want a little guidance as they delve into extended wilderness excursions, or for those who just want to row a raft and enjoy a week in one of the west’s most majestic canyons. The Main Salmon offers excellent solitude, camping and hiking, as well as fun and exciting rapids. It is a great place to be and a wonderful place to learn how to row a raft.

Our school will cover over 80 miles of river between Corn Creek and Carey Bar. The Main is a large-volume river with a variety of Class II and III+ rapids. Generally, the rapids are long and wide with big waves and holes although there are some that require more technical maneuvering. Strong eddies and good expanses of smooth current provide valuable time to practice ferrying and eddy-catching techniques. We will take advantage of the warm, late-season flows to practice swimming, self-rescue techniques and righting flipped rafts. We will also have time to enjoy numerous off-river activities including soaking in hot springs, visiting historical sites, and taking adventure hikes. While our primary purpose will be to learn and improve our rowing skills, many students enjoy the off-river aspects of the school as much as the on-river portions; come prepared for a full and fulfilling adventure.


Day 0: Pre-trip meeting at 8:00 pm at the Stagecoach Inn in Salmon.
Day 1: We will re-convene at the Stagecoach Inn and travel by van to the launching point on the Main Salmon, (2-3 hours). After a thorough safety orientation, we will head downriver. The first day has a few small rapids (Killum and Gunbarrel) and plenty of places to practice basic skills. We will make camp in the early evening, distribute camp chores, and have time for relaxation, exploration or education.
Days 2 – 6: We will continue downriver, traveling about 10 – 15 miles per day, plenty of time to work on ferrying, pivoting, and catching eddies. Each day will present new challenges, both in terms of whitewater and instructional topics such as rigging, safety, repair, self-rescue, swiftwater swimming and interpretation. The most difficult rapids (including Split Rock, Big Mallard and Elkhorn) will come on days 5 and 6. We will also take time to explore the Main Salmon canyon, including stops at hotsprings and historical sites along the river. As the school progresses, students will take a more active role in the day-to-day logistics and decisions; instructors will offer advice and encouragement and will present challenging scenarios.
Day 7: We will take-off the Main around mid-day, de-rig the rafts, load the trailer and drive to McCall where the school will end. 

More information:

The full details (where to meet, what to bring, etc.) are here. If there are any questions we haven’t answered, e-mail us (arta@arta.org) or give us a call (209-962-7873). We love to talk about our trips, so don’t be shy!

I got everything out of this school that I wanted. I learned how to read water, feel comfortable behind the oars, and use the river instead of fighting against it. Most important lesson though; believe in yourself! 

It was a life changing adventure. Thank you!

Erinna McCarthy