White water rafting Sun Valley, Idaho

What Does “High Water” Mean?

The media is alive right now with reports of rivers flooding, or about to flood, their banks. Given the ample amount of moisture we received this winter and spring it is not surprising. But what does “high water” mean when it comes to whitewater rafting in Sun Valley?

Despite the grim picture painted in regards to the Wood River in Sun Valley, the Sunbeam section of the Salmon River is at optimal floating levels. The Wood River and the Salmon are two different river systems all together, with the Salmon able to handle flows much higher than current levels.

Certainly there are dangers on any river at any level. And while runoff this year is unpredictable at best, the Sunbeam section is far from flood stage. In fact, until it reaches flood stage, if it will at all, the higher the water the safer the ride. Right now the river resembles a roller coaster ride. Smooth, fast, fun and exciting.

As a matter of a fact, in addition to the family-friendly class III Sunbeam stretch we normally run, high water enables us to run an adventurous class IV section above the Sunbeam Dam. Because we are at the headwaters of the Salmon and are free-flowing (no dams above us) we are only able to run this class IV section when there is good spring runoff.

As the summer goes on and the water level drops the river gets more and more technical as rocks begin to emerge and there are more quick moves to make. There are definitely fun aspects to the river at all flow stages, and given the inherent dangers on the river it is always wise to go with a licensed outfitter with experienced guides. Guides are on the water everyday noticing changes as they happen, knowing what lines to take, keeping their guests safe. Outfitters will not send guests down the river at unsafe levels.

The River Company has provided safe Sun Valley Rafting and Stanley Rafting on the Salmon River since 1981. All of our guides are required to pass Level 5 Swiftwater Rescue, are certified in at least basic first aid and CPR, and are licensed by the State of Idaho.

Don’t let reports of high water scare you off this spring. Call The River Company today to book your whitewater rafting trip and experience the river in its natural spring state. We WILL keep you safe.