Opportunities for Adventure in North Central Idaho

Spring and summer seasons invite visitors to tour, hike and raft

By: By Gabrielle Hendren

North Central Idaho is welcoming visitors to appreciate its natural beauty and adventure options during the particularly less-crowded, spring and early summer months. Outdoor activities in the Salmon River and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area include hiking, rafting and camping, activities that are suitable for avid outdoorsmen and families alike.

The Seven Devils Range features elevations that span from about 1,000 feet to the 9,393-foot He Devil Mountain summit. Visitors can enjoy any mountain elevation, either by driving up to the Windy Gap at 8,000 feet or by hiking trails that range from Class 1 to Class 5.

The Salmon River, also known as the River of No Return, is the longest free-flowing river in the continental U.S. and winds through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and the Gospel Hump Wilderness areas. The river is a prime destination for long river trips along white-sand beaches, whitewater rafting, three- to five-day jet-boat tours catered to the whole family and camping. Riggins, the gateway to the Salmon River, is a small town with great outfitting that also welcomes visitors.

Hells Canyon, known as North America’s deepest river gorge, carved by the Snake River, is another prized North Central Idaho landmark. It can be visited high in the Seven Devils range for mountain-lake hiking and trout fishing, or down in the canyon for family boat tours of surrounding scenery and history. Hells Canyon features more than 700 archeological sites, with evidence of human habitation dating back more than 7,000 years. Visitors can discover ancient petroglyphs, rock paintings and pioneer cabins and homes of 19th century Chinese miners, as well as the Sterling Cabin visitors center at Kirkwood Ranch. The canyon bears very little traffic thanks to limited road development, but nevertheless ensures easy accessibility to featured locations and year-round road maintenance.

North Central Idaho spans north to Moscow and south to Riggins, and is easily accessible by highway. Flights into Boise and Lewiston welcome more foreign travelers.

Spring and early summer offer the best visiting months, with top whitewater conditions, temperate weather and reduced tourist flow. Guests are welcome at a variety of lodging opportunities, ranging from RV campgrounds to rustic cabins, riverside hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and lodges.

North Central Idaho


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