When the snow melts, the Lochsa River awakens, one of the greatest whitewater flows in the country – and the world. Pronounced “lock-saw” which means rough water in the Nez Perce Language. 37 Class III, 25 Class IV, and two Class V rapids will get your arms burning and your heart pumping. The names of the rapids say it all – Grim Reaper, Pipeline, Lochsa Falls, Termination – and you won’t get much rest between.
As Outside Magazine says:
Unlike other big western whitewater, which runs pool-and-drop, most of the Lochsa simply drops, with little respite between rapids.
The Lochsa is a free-flowing river and navigable only during high water, this trip is available during May & June. Peak flows are usually mid-May to Mid-June and may be available in early July only when conditions allow.
Interesting facts about the Lochsa River
The main stem of the Lochsa is 70 miles (113 km) long from its headwaters near Powell Ranger Station in the Bitterroots to Lowell, Idaho, where the Lochsa joins the Selway River to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater. Over this distance, the river drops nearly 2,000 feet (610 m) from 3,441 feet (1,049 m) above sea level at Powell to 1,453 feet (443 m) at Lowell. The drainage basin for the Lochsa River system covers 1,180 square miles (3,056 km2) in Idaho County. The river is fed by the melting of the significant snowpack of the Bitterroot Range.
Relating to Lewis & Clark
After traveling up Lolo Creek and over Lolo Pass they mistakenly followed a trail leading to a native American fishing weir on the headwaters of the Lochsa River, where Salmon return to spawn. They new the Lochsa River was not navigable for them and to further dishearten the corps they lost valuable time & energy losing elevation down to the rivers edge when they needed to stay high on the ridgeline cross Bitterroot travel route, the Lolo Trail. This error led them to the famous climb up Wendover Ridge.
Video of your trip down the Lochsa
Lochsa River Trips Rate & Dates
Runs May-Early July, Peak levels Mid-May to Mid-June
Lochsa River – $117
When the snow melts, the Lochsa River awakens, one of the greatest whitewater flows in the country – and the world. Pronounced “lock-saw” which means rough water in the Nez Perce Language. 37 Class III, 25 Class IV, and two Class V rapids will get your arms burning and your heart pumping. The names of the rapids say it all – Grim Reaper, Pipeline, Lochsa Falls, Termination – and you won’t get much rest between. Group discounts start with 7 paddlers!
2018 trips run every Saturday in May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2, 9, 16. Additional trips available with a minimum of 6 paddlers. Call or email for most current availability.
Lochsa River Hi-Adventure – $152
Lochsa River Hi-Adventure. This trip is fondly referred to as the “dirty 30”! By adding an additional 10 miles to your Lochsa whitewater rafting experience it will be a wild ride of 30 intense miles on the Lochsa.
Dates TBA – call or email to get your trip on the calendar!
Stay at the Lochsa Lodge
- Call the Lochsa Lodge for details: 208-942-3405
- Neoprene booties
- Splash Jacket
- PFD & Paddle
- Lunch on the River
- Beverages for the ride back to Lochsa Lodge
- Shuttle based from Lochsa Lodge
- Most weekends – we provide photos or video showing back at the Lodge
Trip meet at 8am PACIFIC Time (9am MST) at the Lochsa Lodge (unless otherwise arranged)
Dry Suit Rental
Your comfort and safety is the highest priority at LCTA. Advancements in dry suit technology is greatly improving their accessibility and can greatly enhance your whitewater experience! We are building our inventory, but quantities and sizes are limited, call or email for sizing and availability.
- $30 per day
Safety Talks on the Lochsa
We understand that much of your experience relies on the personality and expertise of your guide. Rest assured, LCTA Lochsa River guides know how to show you a good time, beginning with a complete safety briefing prior to launching. Some of the guides have been guiding the Lochsa for over 10 years!
- We recommend participants on the Lochsa River be at least 16 years old
- Our Saturday & Sunday trips tend to be more popular, but if you are looking for Mon-Fri, call us for availability and discount, we need a group minimum to make a trip go
- Trips depart 8:00am PACIFIC TIME, from Lochsa Lodge (50 miles west of Missoula, MT on Hwy 12) and return approx 4:00pm, depending on water flows, higher flows return earlier.
- We Provide a professional and IOGA licensed whitewater guide, transportation to and from Lochsa Lodge, lunch on the River, wetsuit, neoprene booties, splash jacket, helmet, paddle, Coast Guard approved PFD, beverages for return drive and video showing at the Lochsa Lodge.
- Stay at the Lochsa Lodge, Call 208-942-3405 for reservations.
- Trip Resources: Gear Lists & Recommended Reading
Trips are based from the historic Lochsa Lodge, only 50 miles from Missoula, MT. Surrounded by ancient cedar trees on the banks of the Lochsa river, you can enjoy a warm cabin, homemade meals from classic to gourmet. Choose from a variety of cabins, fresh comfort food at the restaurant, local brews at the bar and bonfire at night.