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Thank you for helping me spread my wings in 1000 things I’d never done before. I had the adventure of a lifetime. — Vicky M, NY
|Idaho, USA||Available for Private Groups of 6 or more||$2,495|
The Rocky Mountains of Idaho are perfectly suited to Canyon Calling’s multi-activity vacations. Idaho is known as the Gem State because of the wealth of natural resources extracted over the years. However we think that the real gems are the rivers and mountains. Our white-water rafting trip on the Payette River is one of the best rafting trips in the US. Paddling is a big part of this trip – rafts, inflatable kayaks on the Payette and canoes on a pristine lake at McCall. The capital, Boise, has a wonderful greenbelt where we bike through the parks and alongside the river. The mountains of Idaho were the most formidable challenge of the two-year Lewis and Clark expedition and a historical interpreter will share marvelous stories of the explorer’s struggle to find a western route to the sea. We’ll hike in the Sawtooths and soak in one of Idaho’s many hot springs. We’ll even squeeze in a museum or two for a flavor of Idaho’s history. Old homesteader’s cabins surrounded by sage and wildflowers are sprinkled throughout the mountains and are a photographer’s delight. We love the West – and you will too!
Please arrive at the Boise Airport by early afternoon, get your bags and take the complimentary airport to hotel shuttle the few miles to the Safari Inn where your Canyon Calling Tour Guide will greet you and get you checked in. We will meet as a group at 3pm in the hotel lobby, then visit the Idaho Historical Museum. This is a fabulous introduction to the mining and ranching culture of the state and to the two main native tribes: Nez Perce and Shoshone-Bannock. It also has a must-see exhibit of the Lewis and Clark expedition painting a vivid picture of the challenges that Idaho’s geography threw at these explorers of the West. Welcome dinner and overnight in Boise.
The Boise River winds gently through the city surrounded by a beautiful 19-mile greenbelt. After breakfast we’ll bike the greenbelt trail, meandering beside the river some of the way and ride through shady parks out to Barber Park east of the city, where we will enjoy a picnic lunch. Cycle back into town with a very poignant stop at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. Then we head east to Twin Falls to see beautiful Shoshone Falls on the Snake River. Driving north we catch our first glimpse of the foothills of the Rockies and on to Hailey for dinner and lodging.
Thanks for a fabulous vacation. All your pre-planning certainly paid off. I especially enjoyed my first time rafting rapids solo. The riverside toilet with a view was the icing on the cake! — Susan N, NY
Drive through the Sun Valley to breakfast in the jet-setter ski town of Ketchum. Another hour north brings us to the trailhead for our 4 mile hike to Fourth of July Lake. It is named because the lake is not typically clear of snow until after July 4 and because the magnificent wildflower displays are reminiscent of fireworks. This is an easy hike at 9,500’ with a 565’ elevation gain. The trail begins in a forest in a pristine canyon, passes moss-covered springs and opens up to spectacular views of meadows, the lake and the White Cloud Mountains. We will enjoy a picnic lunch beside the lake surrounded by mountain heather. Back at the trailhead it’s a short drive to our lodge in Stanley. We’ll check in then soak away our sore hiking muscles in a private hot spring with magnificent views of the Sawtooth Mountains. This evening we’ll dine on a deck overlooking the Salmon River.
Enjoy a later start this morning and breakfast at a café in Stanley, a very scenic town in Idaho. Pristine lakes and views of the Sawtooth Mountains make it evident why these are called America’s Alps. This morning’s drive is along the Salmon River Scenic Byway. Idaho has more geothermal features than any other state. It’s fun to stop in Bayhorse, an authentic old west ghost town, and part of the National Park System. Continuing on toward Challis, bison used to roam this land and a historic marker shows where Shoshone used to run small groups off a cliff to make their work easier. Our destination is the town of Salmon where we’ll lunch. This afternoon we’ll meet a local historian who will drive us to the actual trail used by Lewis and Clark in the Lemhi Valley. Little has changed on this trail since 1805 when they were here exploring the feasibility of navigating the Salmon River in hopes of reaching the Pacific Coast. Realizing that no canoe could safely navigate the Salmon River’s rapids, Lewis and Clark changed their course to an over-land route. Our knowledgeable guide describes the challenges and events gleaned from the journals of these explorers and the exhibits he carries along make their story come alive. This valley was home to Sacajawea who joined the Lewis and Clark expedition as interpreter and guide for 18 months and we visit her memorial. Dinner and lodging in Salmon.
You certainly designed one great discovery experience. Thank you for the way you melted away our diverse personality differences. — Jane G, TX
This is our drive day and another feast for the eyes as we drive north past the Bitterroot Range up into Montana. We’re still following the Salmon River as it flows from Montana into Idaho. We turn east and cross back into Idaho at Chief Joseph Pass. Then we follow the Lochsa (Wild and Scenic) River south just as Lewis and Clark did on their exploration to the sea. We’ll stop for lunch on our way to McCall and there we’ll canoe on Payette Lake. It’s so pristine that seeing 30 feet down into the water is easy. Paddling gently along the forested edge of the lake is wonderfully peaceful. Dinner and lodging in McCall.
Breakfast is early today so that we’re ready to meet our outfitter for a white-water rafting trip on the North Fork of the Payette River. This is a full day trip of fun whitewater and spectacular scenery with glimpses of Idaho’s native wildlife – river otters, beaver, golden eagles and if we’re lucky, bighorn sheep. Glide through eleven miles of class 2 and class 3 rapids enjoying remote forest, and stop riverside to enjoy a delicious lunch. We continue our rafting this afternoon relaxing in the sun-warmed water, then it’s a short drive to our secluded overnight campsite on the banks of the Payette River. This is no ordinary camping – it’s comfortable and relaxing. Guests claim they’ve felt “pampered” camping! Once we change into dry clothes, and move into our outfitted tents, we enjoy this peaceful setting around the campfire with a pre-dinner beverage recounting the excitement of our day. Our guides prepare and serve a surprisingly sophisticated and delicious dinner ending with roasted marshmallows (of course!). After all this fresh air and adventure, we crawl into our comfy tents with the sound of the river to lull us to sleep.
After a delicious breakfast is prepared for us at our idyllic location, we change into wet suits for our three-hour rafting trip this morning. We will have the choice of paddling single duckies (inflatable kayaks) or rafting on the Main Payette River. These are splashy rapids and you can switch back and forth between duckies and raft if you like. Back at the raft base, we’ll change into dry clothes and enjoy an outdoor lunch on the deck. Then we’ll head south to Boise to check into our favorite downtown hotel. Boise is a wonderful walking city and you may enjoy shopping or relaxing in the pool and/or hot tub at our hotel. Farewell dinner at one of many wonderful Boise restaurants.
Enjoy breakfast and the other hotel amenities in the morning before hopping on the complimentary hotel to airport shuttle.