No prior rafting experience is necessary to take a trip with Canyons. With the “soft options”, you can choose your own level of participation and excitement from our variety of boats. Ride along on a stable oar raft, enjoy the teamwork of a paddle raft, or go solo or tandem in an inflatable kayak. Should you want a change of pace, you can switch around between any of them during the trip. We stop several times throughout our days and can trade crafts so that everyone gets a chance to check out the different options.
Hardshell kayakers and canoeists with Class III-IV experience and a reliable roll can bring their own boat or use one from our fleet, at no additional charge (you must reserve one in advance).
A guide rows for a stable and relatively dry ride, as guests relax and enjoy the ride. This is a great way to take in the scenery and our oar rigs provide a wonderfully intimate space for sharing stories, reading, or even fishing as we float down the river each day. These crafts are ideal for a day as a “Lounge Lizard”.
Everyone in a group of 4-8 paddles under a guide’s direction, for a ride livelier (and wetter!) than the oar raft. This craft is built for a more active day and is a wonderful way to build a story or two with family, friends, and kindred spirits. The team kicks in when whitewater demands, and it allows for an amazing forum to get social throughout the day.
The ultimate in independence and thrills, solo or tandem IKs available; subject to water levels and availability; to be shared among the group. Referred to as DUCKIES, these inflatables allow you to be master of your own craft. We typically bring 6 single ducks and 1 double duck on our trips.
Canyons is the premier outfitter for hard shell boaters, looking for a raft supported river trip. We typically have a guide in a kayak on most of our trips; our kayak guides have been Olympic world champions, kayak instructors, playboaters and expedition paddlers.
All kayakers should have a consistent roll and be competent in reading whitewater on the run. June levels are pushy, and the upper end of the Middle Fork is non-stop Class III-IV+ at high flows. July and August offer Class III+ water on both rivers.
CLASS III-IV experience is a MUST, whether you are paddling your own kayak or whitewater canoe, or whether you choose to paddle one from our fleet (no additional charge). ALL GUESTS PADDLING WITH US IN THE MONTH OF JUNE WILL NEED TO BE COMFORTABLE IN CLASS IV WHITEWATER, HAVE A VERY PROFICIENT ROLL, AND BE COMFORTABLE ON FAST MOVING, HIGH WATER FLOWS.
We encourage you to call us to discuss water levels and your personal abilities based on the time of year you may be looking to paddle with us.
All kayakers and canoeists should realize that the Middle Fork is a fairly technical river, chock full of rocks. Many of the rapids are long and scouting is usually done from the boat. On the other hand, the Main Salmon is a deep-water river with few exposed rocks. Its rapids are more of the “drop-pool” variety, making it a more forgiving river.
If you are a basic Class III intermediate kayaker or canoeist, then the Main may be the better river for you. If you like a challenge and are of an advanced skill level, then the Middle Fork at higher flows may be for you. Both rivers offer great playboating, particularly at later summer levels.
For canoeists, we recommend the July and August time periods. June’s big water makes it tough to run dry, especially for tandem teams. If you want to try June, a reliable roll and prior big water experience are required.
Please note that if you are kayaking or canoeing with us on a Middle Fork trip where water levels or conditions necessitate an Indian Creek launch, we will need to work with you to find a plan to get your boats in, and there may be additional fees of $100/ per kayak per flight if backcountry flights are required for your boats. Unfortunately, we cannot fly canoes in, due to airplane capacity.
For proficient kayakers and canoeists, CANYONS has a variety of hard shell boats to choose from, at no additional cost. You will need to reserve in advance. Scroll down to check out our fleet of HARDSHELL CHOICES. Kayakers and canoeists will need to bring their own personal gear including helmet, PFD, spray skirt, paddle, sponge or bailer, throw bag and optional rescue equipment. Dry top or paddle jacket and synthetic sweater or wool, are usually all you need for warmth during July and August. We recommend that you bring dry tops or dry-suits for June trips. CANYONS provides a spare paddle for the group. Our kayaks are equipped with stern airbags, adjustable hip pads, and adjustable foot braces. Our Canoes have knee pads that are glued down, and airbags. We bring along spray adhesive and minicell foam for custom outfitting if needed.
For more information about recommended gear: What to Bring
To view our hardshell kayaks, click here: KAYAKS
Decked Solo Canoes: Perception Gyramax, Dagger Atom.
Solo Open Canoes: Whitesell Descender; Mad River ME; Outrage X; Mohawk Viper; Dagger Encore, Impulse, Rival. Tandem Open Canoes: Dagger-Caption, Dagger- Caper( both can be solo-ed, too).