Veteran river outfitter and nature-based adventure travel company O.A.R.S. is spotlighting rafting in Idaho, with 3,100 miles of river—more than any other state. Multiple-day wilderness vacations concentrate on two rivers, including the Salmon River, which is the longest free-flowing river in any state, and the Snake River through Hells Canyon—the deepest gorge in North America.
O.A.R.S.’ (http://www.oars.com/) all-inclusive three- to seven-day river and hiking adventures begin at $907 per adult for four days through the Gorges of the Lower Salmon out of Lewiston. Youth rates are also offered. With more options than any other Idaho outfitter, O.A.R.S. offers over a dozen launches with family-friendly discounts of up to 15 percent off the regular rate. The company also features multiple-day instructional programs dedicated to stand-up paddleboarding and whitewater kayaking as well as hiking programs and specialized adventures for wine and beer aficionados. See:http://www.oars.com/idaho
Of special note this summer are three new departures with Whole Journeys (a Whole Foods Market® Company) for active “foodies.” O.A.R.S.’ Epicurean Adventure along Idaho’s Main Salmon River is a seven-day program with six days of rafting on free-flowing Class III whitewater, one night in Boise and five nights of catered camping on sandy beaches with chef-prepared meals.
“Idaho is arguably the most overlooked destination for adventure travel in the United States,” said George Wendt, president and founder of O.A.R.S., noting that Idaho is second only to the Grand Canyon for clients who think of great domestic rafting adventures. While some whitewater adventures are adrenaline-infused with up to Class IV rapids, others are staged on the Main and Lower Salmon Rivers where most family programs take place with Class II to III rapids appropriate for kids as young a seven.
Bram Role, an Idaho native who has been guiding with O.A.R.S. for 16 seasons, says he favors the free-flowing aspect of the Salmon River “and everything that goes with that: huge chunks of roadless backcountry, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, natural hot springs, Native American sites, abundant wildlife, great fishing and a vibrant, intact ecosystem. The first 25 miles of the Middle Fork [Salmon] are just absolutely fantastic. It’s constant action, flying down through there, making moves left and right. It’s a ton of fun!”
O.A.R.S.’ professional guide-to-guest ratio (1:4) is the best in the industry. Its Idaho fleet includes oar rafts and colorful hand-crafted dories, paddle rafts and inflatable kayaks along with top-notch guides and expedition equipment. Each type of craft offers a different on-water experience.
Image courtesy Widness & Wiggins