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6 days of luxurious river rafting
per person based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: $250
Deposit: $1000 Meeting Place: Boise, ID Gateway City: Boise, ID
Hidden within a vast high desert plateau of southwestern Idaho are deep canyons carved by the Owyhee, Bruneau and Jarbidge Rivers. The Bruneau is a secret canyon in Southwest Idaho’s sagebrush plain, located more then 100 miles southeast of Boise. Nearly 40 miles of Bruneau River’s 50-mile total length are designated as wild.
Look across the sage flatlands as you leave the farming town of Bruneau and you don’t even know there’s a river canyon out there. Miles and miles of sage go by and still no canyon. Then, suddenly there is a gash in the earth and the river appears like a tiny mocha-colored ribbon in the distance. The Bruneau gets its life-blood flows from fresh snowmelt in the Jarbidge Mountains of northern Nevada and drains north through an area called the Owyhee Uplands. It eventually ends up in the Snake River, one of Idaho’s major rivers.
Volcanic caves, canyons and spire-like hoodoos tower hundreds of feet above whitewater rafters in this unique environment of unsurpassed solitude and unique beauty. In early spring, this area brightens up with beautiful desert flowers contrasted sharply against the dark volcanic rock. The sagebrush plateaus of the Owyhee Uplands provide habitat for over 200 species of wildlife. Soaring eagles and hawks can often be seen flying over the skylines and nesting along the cliff faces here.
The ancestors of the Shoshone-Paiute and Shoshone-Bannock people have used these canyonlands for thousands of years for shelter, weaponry, fish and game and water. From placid pools to turbulent whitewater the river presents visitors with challenging and extraordinary experiences. The Bruneau River has a short boating season, typically it only has enough water to float in the spring.
Despite the Bruneau’s remote nature and challenging logistics, you will be truly spoiled with great food and outstanding hospitality. This river trip is operated “safari style”, so each afternoon, you’ll arrive to camp to large spacious tents, with cots and comfy flannel linens, table dining and a welcoming crew.
Itinerary at a Glance
- Arrive Boise, ID and check in to your hotel before welcome cocktails
- Dinner on the town at one of Boise’s eclectic eateries
- Shuttle to the put-in in southwestern Idaho
- Explore the stunning Bruneau River Canyon
- At the end of each day, relax in camp as your guides prepare gourmet meals paired with fine wines
- Enjoy the relative luxury of large pre-set tents with cots and flannels
- Run Class II-IV whitewater including the infamous Five Mile Rapids
- Shuttle back to Boise and check in to your hotel for a hot shower
- Enjoy a final farewell dinner before a serene night’s sleep
- After breakfast, shuttle to the airport for flights home
- RT airport transfers from Boise International Airport
- 2 nights accommodations in Boise (dble occupancy)
- 4 days/3 nights safari style camping on the Bruneau River
- All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast Day 6
- Beer, wine and treats
- All camp commissary and equipment (wetsuits, pfd, tent, sleeping gear, etc)
- Shuttle to and from the river
What to Expect on the Bruneau River Expedition
Although each date may vary slightly in order of events, here’s a sample itinerary of what your trip may look like…
Day One – Arrive Boise
Today is your arrival Day in Boise, Idaho’s capital and largest city. Developed near Fort Boise along the Oregon Trail, Boise has grown to a population of 190,000. Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism are Idaho’s major industries. Abundant outdoor recreation opportunities and scenic vistas around every turn attract over 20 million tourists annually.
Once checked into your hotel, we’ll rendezvous for welcome cocktails and discuss the trip logistics and what you’ll need to pack. Tonight, we’ll regroup and dine in one of Boise’s eclectic eateries.
Day Two – Shuttle to Bruneau River
After a hearty breakfast we’ll load up and drive 100 miles towards the put in point for our expedition. You will gain a sense of the remoteness and isolation of this wilderness area on the drive across the high desert, only to experience shock and awe when you approach the rim and look straight down several hundred feet into an incredible gorge carved by the river’s fury.
The river “put-in” is a gateway into an ancient lava rock canyon of orange-brown, black, gray and seemingly blue colored walls, red cliffs and Christmas tree like junipers. Following a short orientation and safety talk, it’s time to put your helmet on and tighten your life jacket! We will have a variety of craft types so secure a position for the Bruneau River Canyon; it’s guaranteed to captivate you as less than 200 persons access this 90,000 acre wilderness area each year.
Days Three & Four – The Bruneau River Canyon
The Bruneau River Canyon is absolutely beautiful and is one of America’s newest Wild and Scenic Rivers. Around each bend are spire-like hoodoos shooting hundreds of feet skyward, deep dark caves and pastel-gray volcanic columns. You are now fully committed and completely hidden from the rest of the world.
The canyon is the home of a variety of wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, songbirds, hawks, redband trout and river otters. Western tanagers escort rafters downstream — yellow flashes flittering from juniper to juniper. The south-north canyon is a migration highway for them in spring as they head to Central Idaho’s high country.
Despite the struggles of putting together such an expedition on a remote river, you’ll be dearly spoiled with a luxurious trip. On the river, wetsuits, lifejackets and helmets are provided along with the expertise of guides while off the river and in camp, guides provide gourmet meals and fine wine; huge, spacious tents and cots with sleeping bags lined with flannel; and plenty of waterproof bags for personal gear. Guides set up camp tents as guests take a hike or relax in lawn chairs taking in the grandiose scenery.
After a day of paddling, it’s so relaxing to sit in a lawn chair and anticipate an exquisite dinner. How river guides can get all the fixings for a dinner is a wonder: caprese skewers with balsamic reduction drizzle; spring spinach salad with strawberries; candied nuts and feta cheese and citrus dressing; grilled Basque lamb lolipops in a cabernet, soy ginger garlic marinade; grilled lemon peppered asparagus spears; and sweet potato casserole with pecan crumble.
And, after a day of vigorous paddling, there’s still room for dessert — Dutch oven whole-baked cinnamon apples with handed whipped cream topping. Relaxing after dinner with daylight fading and a fire burning in a fire pan, it’s easy to reminisce on the river, the road coming in and the canyon’s mystery. With all its inaccessibility and hard work to get to, the wonder of the Bruneau River never grows old. The Bruneau River Canyon’s magic reminds us there is more to life than schedules and deadlines, timelines and hurried days. The river will renew your spirit and touch your soul.
Day Five – Five Mile Rapids & Return to Boise
Today we realize it’s our last morning on the river as nature’s alarm clock goes off. It’s a symphony of birds greeting the first faint rays of daylight. It’s an orchestra of chirps, squawks, chatters and tweets, much like the sounds of trumpets, flutes, clarinets and bassoons reverberating off the canyon walls. The background accompaniment is the percussion sounds of the river.
It’s also the final leg and biggest whitewater of the river canyon. Today we’ll challenge class II-IV whitewater and an infamous section called Five Mile Rapids. In the mix are Boneyard, Nemesis and Wild Burro thundering up ahead and raring to bounce, buck and douse paddlers. At the days end we’ll be back in Boise, in our hotel, getting ready for our farewell dinner, where we’ll recount the trip and reflect on this timeless adventure into the wilds.
Day Six – Homeward Bound
After breakfast, we’ll catch shuttles to the airport for flights home.
The Modern Hotel, Boise
Boise’s Modern Hotel and Bar, radiates history amidst Boise’s unique, vibrant culture. The Modern’s bar has classic and original crafted cocktails, a talented chef, music and a courtyard for warm summer nights under a sea of stars. The space also features 39 intelligently designed rooms with high-tech finishes, making traveling easy and low-stress.
City-centered, yet close to whitewater, mountains, and rolling hills. It’s a home-away-from-home for all the weekenders, explorers, and dreamers who value stylish design and ridiculously comfortable beds.