Idaho: The Main Salmon, Riggins Section
LOCATIONS: Main Salmon between the end of the Salmon River Road (5,600 feet) and Whitebird (3,900) 35 miles.
SEASON: Year around
RAPIDS : A Plethora of Class III and -IV rapids that create incredible surf waves
LENGTH OF TYPICAL TRIP: Park and Play
USER FEE: Where Applicable
Riggins, Idaho is surf city for playboaters. The Salmon River creates some of the most perfectly formed holes and surf waves and the great thing is that there's always something in even when the water changes levels. Featuring names like Cat's Paw, Gold's hole, Mill wave, and Rodeo hole, Riggins is a play Mecca from Spring until late fall (not to mention winter if you're into it).
Riggins is a mining and ranching town come fishing and rafting settlement. In the spring and fall, the river is full of salmon and steelhead fisherman. During the summer, the population of the town shifts to one of a younger, hipper persona with raft guides talking in the streets and surfers mulling in the eateries and bars.
After a stint on the Payette system, there is nothing like heading north to Riggins to round out your kayaking safari. Depending on the season, you'll surf glassy waves with breaking piles, soft holes that allow freestylers to perform aerial loops and fast waves that inspire boaters to throw big air.
There are plenty of sandy beaches and hidden camping spots in the area. Most kayakers will want to spend more than a day in the region playboating, relaxing near surf breaks, hiking and cooking good food over the campfire.
In an interesting side note, many locals enjoy the best of both worlds during the winter. It is not unheard of for McCall residents to ski at Brundage during the morning and then drive to Riggins for an afternoon surf session in the temperate climate of this lower Salmon River region.
Contact the Salmon Ranger District, HC 01, Box 70, Whitebird, Idaho 83554 at (208) 839-2211.
Information Provided by: State of Idaho
Written by: Joseph Carberry