Family Friendly River Trips
Here’s Why Idaho’s Salmon River is the Ideal Family Trip
Canyons River Company was built on a strong tradition of family river trips. Founders Les and Susan Bechdel not only established and developed Canyons in tandem with raising their children but fostered a distinctly welcoming atmosphere for families of all kinds, to enjoy the wonders of Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon and Main Salmon Rivers. Today, the family bonds of Canyons continues to run strong, with many families returning to raft with us year after year. We have created a safe, fun, and welcoming experience for all ages. Here is a snapshot of why we think a Canyons Main Salmon or Middle Fork river trip is the best kind of family vacation.
For many of us, family time occurs at the end of the workday, or on the weekends, squeezed in between our many appointments and responsibilities. For five nights and six days on the Salmon River in the Frank Church Wilderness, life is simplified, safe, and fun. We’ve found that whether you’re with your family, your friends, or new people you are just getting to know, the relaxed and stress-free (not to mention incredibly scenic) environment in which you’re immersed in during the trip, leads to meaningful and enjoyable time together and lifelong connections.
Facetime (but not the kind you’re probably thinking of…)
With no cell phones, laptops, TVs, or any of the technology we are so used to in our daily lives, there are a lot fewer distractions when it comes to spending time together. Canyons guests often tell us that the technology-free aspect of their trip is an unexpected, much-needed, refreshing opportunity to disconnect from the constant stream of information and social media. Time on the river allows one to focus instead on spending time with those they love, in a beautiful location.
With an endless opportunity for exploration, the river is an amazing place for kids of all ages. Whether rock hunting, fishing, snorkeling, hiking, swimming, or paddling their own small craft, there are so many ways for kids to safely immerse in the incredible environment of the river canyon. Starting at six years old, kids are warmly welcomed on our Canyons trips, and we’ve had the pleasure to watch as young Canyons guests become passionate river people!
You’ve Got Options
For families with younger children, the Main Salmon is a great option. The camps on the Main Salmon are spacious and luxurious, set on pristine sandy beaches with great swimming, in warm water. The Main Salmon’s whitewater is fun and friendly, and optional in a small craft, for most abilities, including novices. There are incredible historic homesteads along the way that we stop at on our way downstream. They offer awesome opportunities for education, exploration and are intriguing to kids and adults alike! For older ages, the Middle Fork is an incredible experience with great hiking, hot springs, exciting whitewater, and excellent fishing.
Safety is our number one concern, whether you’re on the river or hanging out at camp. Canyons’ legacy as a leader in whitewater safety, goes back to the very beginning. In fact, Canyons founder Les Bechdel literally wrote the book on River Safety (River Rescue, CFS Press, 200). The Canyons Team is made up of eclectic leaders in the industry, teaching whitewater rescue and safety courses, and guiding all over the world. All of our guides go through rigorous training and certifications, and many of our staff have been with Canyons for over 10-25 years.
Every year, we welcome back families who have made a trip down the Salmon River, a family tradition. We’ve watched kids grow up on the river, and in fact, we are now proud to welcome some of those kids to our very own Canyons family as guides! Come, join our family!
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