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-friendly 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.
At Canyons, we believe spending time outside is the best thing we can give ourselves and our kids in today’s world of computers, smartphones, and Netflix. Outdoor activities fuel the imagination and foster creativity. The opportunity to play in nature without the distractions of technology and the demands of life at home is an invaluable way to grow and challenge yourself.
Facetime (but not the kind you’re probably thinking of…)
When you are riding the waves of the Main Salmon River through the vast Frank Church Wilderness, you will not have cell service much less internet access. The unplugged nature of the trip often ends up feeling like a relief and even healing! 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.
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. 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!
Playing in the Wilderness
What kid, regardless of age, doesn’t like to pay in the water? Our trips are all about going with the flow of the river morning, noon and night. We call it “river time” and encourage our guests to pack their watches away. We play when the sun comes up, eat when we are hungry and rest when we are tired. There are opportunities to jump off rafts and rocks, snorkel in eddies, have water fights and swim with the river otters if you are lucky to see one! We may also see elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mink and martin. Eagles, ospreys, falcons, and hawks soar the skies above. We will make camp amongst the stoic Ponderosa pines, Douglas fir, huckleberries, and thimbleberries. We will take short walks to gorgeous rushing side streams and longer walks to waterfalls and hot springs and amazing views. Some of our hikes will take us to historic homesteads where people still live and work. These sites will expand your vision of how people used to live and still do! Spending time in the wilderness presents many opportunities for creative new games, challenging yourself with new adventures and surprising yourself with your own growth.
Opportunities to challenge yourself safely
The Main Salmon is often called the “friendliest big water in the West” because it is considered a pool and drop river that’s rated class II-III. The characteristics of pool and drop rivers provide a great place to try out all the boats in our fleet. Your guides will point out all the perfect (safe) spots to try your hand at rowing an oar boat, paddling in a super sporty paddleboat, and paddling your own Inflatable Kayak (IK) or more fondly referred to as a ducky! Canyons brings a fleet of bright and shiny duckies to try your hand at. Guides will instruct you on paddling technique, body positioning, and rapid running. There is even a double ducky to get into with your friends or family. Nothing teaches cooperation like a ride in the double duck! If you want to move more than just your arms, try your hand at the Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). Balance and paddling are just two of the skills you’ll practice when “SUPping”. Bring your adventurous nature and try them all!
Nurture your inner explorer and adventurer. Immerse yourself and your kids on the WILD MAIN SALMON!
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