Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about Idaho Rafting Trips with ARC? Below are the most asked questions.
General Rafting Questions
Why should I go on an overnight whitewater rafting trip?
Because it is a one-of-a-kind-adventure. Take all the best parts of whitewater rafting and camping, then add serene wilderness and delicious meals into the mix, and then take out all the planning, packing and preparation. It’s the perfect way to get into nature and finally relax. There’s no service, no emails, no work, so it’s just you, your favorite people and awesome activities to entertain and bond. We take care of all the prep work and heaving lifting, cooking and cleaning during the trip so you can enjoy the trip to its absolute max.
Why book a trip with ARC?
We love what we do and that love translates to the best possible rafting trip for you! ARC provides the most customizable river trips with the best food. Our rivers are stunning, quiet and clean. Our guides are professional, knowledgable, caring and fun. Our food is locally sourced, scratch made, and absolutely delicious. Our gear is constantly updated, meticulously maintained and cleaned. On top of all that, we are all about giving you a smooth enjoyable vacation, from the first phone call to sticky sunscreen goodbye hugs.
Are whitewater rafting trips safe?
Whitewater rafting always has inherent risks but can be made safer with good guides, good equipment, and good choices. Here at ARC, we mitigate risks by:
- Using only updated and extremely well maintained equipment
- Training guides in not only guiding, but wilderness first aid and customer service
- Always wearing PFD’s (Personal Floatation Devices also known as life jackets)
- Having a thorough safety meeting before every trip to discuss potential dangers and how to act in those rare situations
- Always carrying a satellite phone for emergencies
Will there be internet or service during the trip?
No, all service is lost almost immediately on the bus ride to the boat ramp. Service doesn’t return until the bus ride back after the trip, and even then it’s spotty.
It’s the perfect time to take a break from emails, social media, and just general screen time and spend that time with your favorite people while on an incredible adventure.
Also, there will be no way of charging electronics on the trip but you are more than welcome to bring your own battery packs. Just be aware that anything that is brought on the river has a chance of getting wet.
What ages are appropriate for a whitewater rafting trip?
Anyone 7-70+ in good health with an adventurous side.
On the younger side: It’s best if kids are good swimmers, have been camping before, and like the outdoors. If too many activities are new, it can be an overwhelming trip for the young ones but if they like the outdoors and water, they’ll love whitewater rafting. There’s plenty of varied activities throughout the day like swimming, fishing, hiking, beach games, and swimming some more. We’ve seem more than a few kids have so much fun that they’re asleep in their tent before dessert is even served.
On the older side: 70+ is a recommendation. It’s really about your health and physical abilities! These trips require whitewater rafting (but not paddling) big rapids, getting in and out of boats onto rocky ground and walking over those rocks which can be unstable and wobbly. Nightly accommodations are sleeping on the ground on thick sleeping pads. Cots are available – just request one before your trip.
The whitewater is biggest in the spring, and the canyons are hottest in July and August, so September is the most popular time for older folks to jump on the river. Hells Canyon is quiet, warm but not too hot, and absolutely beautiful during that time.
Do I need to be physically fit for these trips?
Physically capable but not necessarily physically fit. You must be able to swim, get in and out of rafts, and walk on rocky and uneven surfaces. That’s it. All hikes and kayaking are optional.
Looking for more physical activity during a rafting trip? Let us know on your trip questionnaire and we can add more hikes to your trip. Usually there’s opportunities to hike and explore along the river at camp in the evenings.
What should I wear whitewater rafting?
The best thing to wear rafting is something that you’ll be comfortable in all day, in the sun, and when wet. This varies person to person but we recommend layering with swim gear as the first layer, with a t-shirt or sun protective layers on top. Shoes are especially important on the raft. You’ll want sturdy sandals with a heel strap. They’ll be in the water most of the day so leather isn’t the best material. Don’t have rafting shoes? Old tennis sneakers will work but they will be wet for the entire trip, so be sure to bring dry shoes just for camp.
Rafting clothing varies greatly depending on the season, so be sure to check out our packing lists for the full recommended amount of gear. Chances are you’ll bring more clothing than necessary but it’s always better to be safe than sorry (or cold):
Will my kids be bored?
No. These whitewater rafting trips are way more than just rafting. Here are other activities for the kids:
- Fishing: It’s more like catching in Hells Canyon, no lie. Reeling in fish after fish keeps kids (and adults) entertained for hours
- Swimming: Between the rapids in the flat water, everyone can jump out of the boat and float
- Kayaking: These inflatable kayaks are perfect for teens to try their hand at paddling bigger rapids and perfect for younger kids to explore on the flat water
- Hiking: There’s old homesteads, Native American artifacts, and all sorts of treasure to hike to discover in the canyons
- Beach Games: We bring a big bag of games to get into at camp. Have a family game that you love? Bring it!
- Wildlife: Search for black bears, bald eagles, big horn sheep or mountain goats to name just a few.
- Geology: Look for gems, gold, or just neat rocks on the ever changing river bed.
Will my whole family like the trip?
Yes. These trips are truly for every member of the family. Adventurous souls can try every activity provided throughout the day. Fishermen can fish for 12 hours a day if they’d like. Bookworms can catch up on their reading while relaxing riverside. Animal lovers can scan the canyon walls looking for mountain goats, big horn sheep and black bear. All while spending time together. There’s nothing to plan, nothing to clean up, and no where to go but floating down the river.
When's the best time of year to go whitewater rafting in Idaho?
Every month whitewater rafting in Idaho is a little bit different depending on what you’re looking for:
- May – mid June: Spring Rafting! Biggest whitewater, lush green canyons, warm weather with a chance of cool, chance of rain.
- Mid June – August: Summer Rafting! Mid-water flows (which makes the Class III rapids bigger and not washed out), hot weather, very little chance of rain.
- First half of September: Start of Fall Rafting! Beautiful weather, little rain, water flow varies depending on summer rain
- End of September – October: Fall Rafting! Best for chukar hunting and fishing trips, varied temperature and water flow
Every year is a little different and comes with different weather patterns and water flows.
What's the food like?
Delicious. Our food is made from scratch wherever possible from bread mixes to salad dressings and marinades to the grape jam. We’re all about using local Idaho ingredients. There’s also something about eating great food outdoors that just makes it taste a little bit better.
Breakfast: Hot breakfasts with sides of local melon, yogurts, homemade granola, and more coffee and tea than you can drink.
Lunch: Sandwiches and wraps served riverside with fresh grain salads, from scratch cookies, chips, and seasonal fruit like peaches and watermelon.
Dinner: Appetizers and happy hour in the late afternoon. Grilled meats, starchy sides, fresh vegetable sides, salad with scratch dressing and freshly baked dutch oven bread. There’s always something for everybody. Be sure to leave room for hot dutch oven desserts!
Have a food allergy or preference? No problem! Let us know before the trip and we’ll be sure to pack delicious food that’s right for you.
Where do we sleep?
In riverside camps in roomy tents. A 4 or 5 person tent is provided for every 2 people. Traveling by yourself or the odd man out? Let us know and we’ll pack an extra tent for you! Tents are set up for you and taken down as well.
Thick and comfortable sleeping pads are also provided with freshly laundered sleeping bags, fitted sheets and pillow. Worried about sleeping on the ground? There are cots available, just ask a few weeks before your trip to reserve one!
What's the toilet situation?
We use a system called a “groover”. It’s a metal box with a toliet seat on top of it. It feels a lot like a regular toliet except without the four walls surrounding it. It’s always tucked into a private place and there’s a “lock” system so everyone knows when it’s occupied. It’s very easy to get used to and will be the best view you’ve ever had on a toilet!
What’s the difference between the trips?
How long of a trip should I book?
3 day? 6 day? It’s a big difference!
A 3 Day Trip is 3 days/2 nights on the river. 2 of those days are travel days as well. The trips are designed to give you the max amount of time on the river but travel days are still long and tiring. If you’re traveling from afar, we recommend booking a trip longer than a 3 days. The hardest part is getting to the river, so you might as well spend more time on the trip!
Choosing a longer trip on the same stretch of river (ex. going 34 miles in Hells Canyon over 4 days instead of 3) allows for more camp time, hikes, fishing, and chill time.
Length of trip is truly a personal preference! Give us a call to chat in more detail about what you’re looking for.
What river section? Hells Canyon vs Salmon River
Hells Canyon: This is an absolute hidden gem. It’s quiet, remote, and absolutely beautiful. It’s the deepest canyon in North America! During a 34 or 80 mile trip, there are only a couple roads that can be seen from the river, and no bridges or power lines that cross. There is an abundance of wildlife and the fishing is phenomenal!
Salmon River: This is largest undammed river in the lower 48. That means it’s clean, pristine, and absolutely free flowing. The Salmon is full of sandy beaches and great for families or bigger groups.
Trip Preparation Questions
What's included with the rafting trip?
- All rafting gear: PFD’s (life jackets), dry bags to pack in, rafts, etc.
- Camping gear: roomy tents, cushy sleeping pads, freshly laundered sleeping bags, pillows, and fitted sheets
- Shuttle to & from the river from Cambridge, ID (and safe place to park while on the trip)
- Professional knowledgeable guides
- Delicious from scratch meals from breakfast on the first morning to lunch on the last day. We take care or everything: all cooking, cleaning & dishes!
- Sodas, beverages, local selection of craft beers, table wines and nightly specialty cocktails
- Fishing gear: Hells Canyon has especially good fishing that both kids and adults enjoy. Bring your own fishing gear if you’d like or use ours!
What else do I need to book?
- Transportation to and from Cambridge, ID
– Boise, ID is the best airport to fly into
– 3-4 day trips: fly out of Boise, ID
– 5-6 day trips: fly out of Lewiston, ID
- Hotel the night before and after the trip. Here are our hotel reccomendations:
– The Frontier Motel: a basic hotel in Cambridge, ID
– The Cambridge House: a relaxed bed and breakfast in Cambridge, ID
– Mundo Hot Springs: a house/room/cabin rental with usage of commercial hot springs and RV spots in Cambridge, ID
– The Red Lion: a hotel in Lewiston, ID
Are there any extra fees to this rafting trip?
There are no extra fees. We do not charge for any additional items such as splash gear, inflatabale kayaks or activities. Everything is included in the trip, even a free t-shirt and coffee mug!
The only extra expenses are:
- Travel to and from Cambridge, ID
- Hotel the night before and after the trip
- Dinner on the last night of your trip
- Gratuities for your guides
- Shuttling your vehicle if your rafting trip if your trip is 5-6 days and end in Lewiston, ID. We can arrange vehicle shuttles for you through the Frontier Motel in town
What should I pack?
Where will I leave my car?
In a safe parking lot in Cambridge, ID.
What's the best way to get from the airport to Cambridge, ID?
Cambridge is a very small town about 1 hour and 45 minutes from the Boise Airpot with no real public transportation options available. There are 2 easy way to get here:
- Rent a car from the airport
- Call us about our All-Inclusive Airport Pickup Package which includes transportation to/from the airport, hotels the night before and after the trip, and 2 meals at local resturants.
Do I need to have my car shuttled?
- For a 3 or 4 day Hells Canyon Rafting Trip: No, not unless you’d like to. We will pick you up in our bus and bring you back to Cambridge where the trip started. If you are traveling north, northwest, or northeast on other adventures after the rafting trip, it may be easier to have your car shuttled to the end and save you many hours of driving.
- For a 5 or 6 day Hells Canyon Rafting Trip or Salmon River Trip: Yes, it is best to get your car shuttled to Lewiston, ID. We provide transportation from the boat ramp to your vehicle or hotel in Lewiston and reccomend traveling or flying out of there. Otherwise, it is a very long drive back to Cambridge. If you’d like to schedule a shuttle or if you have any questions, give us a call at 208-347-3862
When will the rafting trip leave?
The rafting trips leave in the early morning of the first day of your trip. Depature times vary per trip but you can plan on leaving sometime between 6-8am. The exact breakfast and departure time will be confirmed during the pre-trip meeting the night before.
When and where does the trip end?
- For a 3 or 4 day Hells Canyon Rafting Trip: Your trip will end where is started, in Cambridge, ID. Arrival time is not guaranteed but is usually between 5-7pm MST. Flying out or driving more than a few hours that evening is NOT recommended.
- For a 5 or 6 day Hells Canyon Rafting Trip or Salmon River Trip: Your trip will end in Lewison, ID about 1 hour from the boat ramp. Arrival time is not guaranteed but is usually between 2-4pm PST. Flying out or driving more than a few hours that evening is NOT recommended.
Do I tip the rafting guides?
Yes, if you’d like to tip the guides it is always much appreciated. You’ll see over the course of the trip how hard these guys and gals work and they always appreciate some gratuity.
Do I need to make it to the pre-trip meeting?
It is always best for everyone to be at the pre-trip meeting the evening before your trip. You’ll be able to meet the group, learn about some environmental concerns and safety tips, and also get your 2 dry bags to be able to pack into with plenty of time that night.
At the same time, we understand life happens! If for any reason you can’t make the meeting, just give us a call and we can reschedule a mini meeting the morning your trip launches.
Have a Different Question?
Email us anytime
Or call — 208 347 3862