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Idaho: The Selway

 • LOCATION: Paradise Guard Station (3,050 ft) to Meadow Creek (1,720 ft) 46 miles
 • SEASON: May-June (high water)
 • RAPIDS: Class III-V
 • PERMIT: Yes

Did we mention that the rivers in Idaho were remote? Nothing personifies remote river running in Idaho like the Selway. This is a great self-support trip for kayakers in the spring as the rapids are more difficult than those on the Middle Fork. Amazingly, this is another river in Idaho that is thought of throughout the United States as one of the finest multi-day trips anywhere. It meanders through the Selway-Bitterroot area and you never know what you're going to see, be it moose or bear.

During the general raft season (late June through August) one would be better suited to take a playboat and stash the gear on a raft. Only one launch is allowed each day in order to protect the pristine beauty of the river as it passes through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The banks of the river are overgrown with cedar, fir, huckleberries and ferns, and the water always runs clear.

The rapids are all fairly large, through 60 river running miles. At high flows, rapids such as Ladle and Double Drop can reach epic Class IV-V proportions. Limited access makes the Selway a challenge to experience. Independent permits are hard to draw, and commercial trips must be booked 8-12 months in advance. Kayakers and Canoeists are better off running this gem at high water flows before permit season starts. Remember that this is expedition style boating so bring a couple of drybags for all the essentials (i.e. first aid, sleeping bag, dry clothes) to stuff in your kayak.

Contact the West Fork Ranger Station, Bitterroot National Forest, Darby, MT, 59829, 406-821-3269 for more information.

Information Provided by: State of Idaho

Written by: Joseph Carberry

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