Riggins area day trip information

The Riggins section of the Salmon is an incredible area for boating.  With the Salmon River Road paralleling the river for the first 30 miles from Vinegar to Riggins and then the main Highway next to the river all the way down to Hammer Creek, this section offers MANY trip options Depending on what you are looking for.

If you are unsure about going on your own please check out our guided trips on this section.  Our partner Orange Torpedo Trips offers trips ranging from 4 hours to 2 days.

Water Levels

This section varies significantly depending on the water level.  Peak levels are typically sometime in the first week of June, which is why the annual “Big Water Blowout“ is usually in this time frame.  Peak water levels are popular for the biggest adventure seekers with 25+ foot waves not un-common.  High water can range on average from 65,000 to 105,000 CFS.  At these levels the primary rapids on this section are Ruby and Lake Creek which are both very significant.

More common summer flows from late June through September range from 15,000-3,000 CFS.  At the lower end of that spectrum Trapps Rapid becomes the most challenging rapid in this section.

Boat Ramps

The main put-in takeout spots for rafting are:

  • Vinegar Creek - Furthest up-river option
  • Carrey Creek - Popular for folks doing a 2 or 3 day trip.  Put-in early in the day as this is the most popular Main Salmon takeout and can be a ZOO after 11:00am.
  • Spring Bar - Popular full day launch point
  • Island Bar - Unimproved gravel bar.
  • Shorts Bar - Popular put-in for the half-day, Whitewater section.
  • Town Ramp - Great takeout if you want to take out before the bigger Class III rapids start in the summer.
  • Lightening creek - Small concrete ramp that is rarely used.
  • Old Lucile - Primarily used by outfitters
  • New Lucile - the new and most popular ramp for taking out after the whitewater section.


The BLM just came out with a good guide book for this part of the Salmon.  BLM LOWER SALMON GUIDE BOOK

High Water, 30,000 CFS and up. - Main Rapids

Ruby - Very significant with high potential for raft flips

Lake Creek - Level dependent it is generally easier than Ruby but has multiple line choices with some very large features likely to flip boats.

Summer Levels - Under 20,000 CFS - Main Rapids

There is massive variance in these rapids throughout the summer.  They all change somewhat significantly between early July and late August.

  • Lake Creek 
  • Cats Paw
  • Town Rapid
  • Time Zone
  • Tight Squeeze
  • Chair
  • Trapps - Most significant rapid at flows below 6,000 CFS.
  • Fiddle Creek
  • Black Rock

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