Idaho Rivers + Mountains

August 9 - 15, 2014


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 Carbarton 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!

Susan N, NY - 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!

Jane G, TX - You certainly designed one great discovery experience. Thank you for the way you melted away our diverse personality differences.

Vicky M, NY - Thank you for helping me spread my wings in 1000 things I’d never done before. I had the adventure of a lifetime.

Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including customers wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 17 years. You can phone her at (480) 755-1388 or send an email to Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like on our Costa Rican, Peruvian Andes, Australian and Hawaiian Islands trips.

Please arrive at the Boise Airport in the afternoon. You'll be greeted by your Canyon Calling guide and transported to our downtown hotel. 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.

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. Cycle back into town with a very poignant stop at the Ann Frank Human Rights Memorial. After lunch in Boise we head east to Twin Falls to see beautiful Shoshone Falls on the Snake River. These are surely the prettiest falls in the USA. Then we’ll drive north to Hailey for dinner and lodging.

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 3.6-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 red and white mountain heather. Back at the trailhead it’s a short drive to our lodge in Stanley. We’ll 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. Stanley is surely the most 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 explore riverside hot springs and a stop at Sunbeam is a must. Bison used to roam this land and a historic marker near Challis 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. Mike describes the challenges and events gleamed from the journals of these explorers and the exhibits he carries along with us 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. She was sixteen and pregnant but was invaluable helping explorers trade for horses with the Shoshone and she collected roots and berries providing additional food for the expedition along the way. We visit her memorial in Salmon. Dinner and lodging in Salmon.

Today is yet 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 + 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 for a relaxing couple of hours 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. It’s just a short drive south along a reservoir to Cascade for dinner and lodging.

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 Carbarton River. This is a full day trip of fun whitewater and spectacular scenery with glimpses of Idaho’s native wildlife - river otters, beaver, chukar partridge and if we’re lucky, bighorn sheep. Glide through eleven miles of remote forest, relax in the sun-warmed water, enjoy a delicious riverside lunch, and splash through class II-III whitewater rapids. It’s great to let the river wash away the cares of the world. It’s a short drive to our secluded overnight campsite on the banks of the Payette River. Our guides serve a tasty, nutritious dinner and the sound of the river lulls us to sleep.

In August the water is typically 72 degrees – perfect for a dip before breakfast at our idyllic location. On our three-hour trip this morning we’ll have the choice of paddling single duckies (inflatable kayaks) or floating on a raft through the playful rapids of the Main Payette River. These are playful rapids with splashy whitewater and you can switch back and forth between duckies and raft. After lunch we’ll spend a couple of hours this afternoon returning south to Boise. Check into our favorite downtown hotel. Farewell dinner in Boise. Tour ends. Boise is a wonderful walking city and you may enjoy a stroll after dinner. The hotel has airport shuttle service.


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