There are few things as serene as sitting by a river while the light is dying down and you can listen closely to the babbling noises of water running over rocks or maybe even the crashing of thousands of pounds of liquid over a waterfall. It creates a feeling in you that is unmatched by most other natural vistas you can come across, though sometimes it can be hard to compare a raging river with a mountainside lookout. If you are one that prefers the former and want to find more unique places to enjoy rivers and the wonderful things you can do around them, I have the place for you. Idaho has some of the longest and most majestic rivers in the country, and if you have just moved to the fair state or are planning on making a visit soon, you could not have picked a better place. Idaho is an endless landscape of different natural wonders and its rivers are endless. There are so many different spots you can plop down next to along a river and it will be like no other part of any other river in the world. But, so much variety means Idaho is also a really big place and if you just hunt and peck for a random spot to visit, you might go a while without finding anything interesting. My hope is to change that by giving you a few rivers and a few specific points along those rivers where you can really enjoy yourself.
A lot of people live in Boise. If you live there yourself, you know it is a pretty big city with a bunch of similarly sized cities all around it. Therefore, you might not think this is the best place to start if you want to see a whole bunch of different and unique rivers. How could there be an exciting river in the middle of the biggest city in the state? Well, there is. The Boise River is a fairly sizeable run of water that almost cuts the city in half. Naturally, it is no Mississippi River, but for being at the center of a major metropolitan area there is a lot you can do on it. The river is part of the local green belt which is a host for several different recurring events as well as many permanent things to see and do. The Boise zoo is along the river and a couple of different museums you can visit. There are also frequent concerts and performance events. It is such a nice spot that people book along the river all the time. The river itself has a surprising amount of wildlife to see and there is one particular thing to happens every year that is extremely exciting and you will want to put it in a calendar. Every year a large part of the city grabs a raft or inner tube and they float down a stretch of the river together. It is an excellent way to get outside and it is quite a sight to see so many different colored tubes and different people all drifting down the river together.
Idaho Rivers – The Snake River
Now, the true marvel of Idaho when it comes to rivers is the giant that is The Snake River. It is one of the largest and most beautiful rivers in the world and very few other rivers can hold a candle to it. It actually makes up a large part of Idaho’s borders with its neighbors and because it is so long each part of the river is going to be totally different from the last. The best place to get a good idea of just how awesome this river is in the city of Twin Falls. The city itself is a nice place to visit, but right next to it is Shoshone Falls, which is one of the largest waterfalls in the state. Only Niagara Falls can really top it, but nothing tops Niagara Falls so it is not exactly a fair comparison. You can spend quite a while just watching the water cascade over the edge, transfixed by the flow of so much life. The falls are a part of a wide and long canyon that is almost the equal of the falls themselves in majesty. The best way to see the canyon as a whole is the bridge which runs from the main highway over to Twin Falls. It connects both sides of the canyon and the bridge itself is quite something to look at. The river runs big and green on its merry way east and there are always people doing something on it, whether they are fishing, boating, or some other activity. Some people even go bungee jumping off the bridge. It is actually a pretty big pastime. If you want a way to orient yourself to the whole area the best thing to do it start at the visitor center just on the other side of the bridge from the highway.
Idaho Rivers – Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness
With both the Boise River and the Snake River, there is quite a lot of civilization stacked up around the water, and that can sometimes spoil the whole effect. If you want a truly unspoiled vista for your eyes to do some feasting the best recommendation I can make is a river nestled in the middle of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The Salmon River is truly untouched in most respects because of the Wilderness area. Regular human development is not allowed in the area. That means some parts of it are not open to you to make a normal visit and it is not developed for fun, but it is still truly beautiful.
You will never run out of fun things to do if you spend your off hours looking for different rivers to explore. There are so many in Idaho and they are all different. There are no wrong choices. Just grab a boat or a swimsuit or your fishing pole and have a blast.