In the early days it was known for its celebrity sprinkled ski hill, now considered one of the best summer vacation destinations in the West. Think…..A smaller, less congested, less commercialized…a vintage Jackson Hole. Sun Valley’s proximity to world-class whitewater is amazing. Within a few hours you have access to more rivers than can be mentioned. Sun Valley’s closest whitewater is on the nation’s original Wild & Scenic River, The Salmon River of No Return in Stanley Idaho.
Stanley, Idaho’s river capital, is located 1 mega-scenic hour north of Sun Valley in the Nations’s largest National Recreation Area, The SNRA. Stanley is the perfect, small mountain town that bustles in the summer with visitors of all kinds including rafters, anglers, water skiers, ATV’rs, hikers, birders and bakery goers.
Whitewater Rafting in Stanley, Idaho
Sawtooth Adventure Company offers a variety of rafting options for all ages and abilities. We invite you to spend a day of your Sun Valley vacation on the famous Salmon River with our crew of educated, trained and SUPER fun guides!
Scenic Trips- No Whitewater
SAC’s scenic trip occurs on the flat water section of the Salmon. Trip includes magnificent Sawtooth Mountain views, hotsprings, Osprey and Bald Eagles . Trips occur 7 days a week.
Family Fun Whitewater
Stanley’s ‘Day Stretch’ is the perfect introduction to Idaho’s famous Whitewater. Our Class III rafting trips are very popular with families. In fact we host 2 kids for every 1 adult the month of July. The level of FUN is off the charts. We run rapids, jump off ‘jump rock’, eat a yummy riverside lunch and ‘ride the bull’. This trip is great for kids aged 4 and above
High Adventure Trips
Do you need more the ‘family fun whitewater’ to get your fix? Check our our early season Class IV rafting trips and experience Shotgun rapid and ‘The Dam’ up-close and personal. This trip is great for active, adventurous guests. No prior experience is necessary. As we get into July, the water drops and the Inflatable Kayak Trips explode in popularity for our high adventure seeking clients.
Inflatable Kayak Trips
As the water drops, the Inflatable kayaking on the Salmon heats up. Inflatable Kayaks are stable river kayaks appropriately nicknamed duckys as they mimic ducks bobbing down the rapids. This is the most active, physically fun activity we offer all summer long. You get to choose your own adventure! Take the “sneak” through the big rapids and enjoy the views, or paddle hard straight into the rapids and baptize yourself in crystal clear Salmon river water. No experience necessary. Ages 13+. Physically active.
The holidays seem to bring a fury of questions about the river, visiting Stanley and exploring the Sawtooths. I felt it was a prime opportunity to help. After 20 years of helping friends, family and guests plan summer vacations in the Sawtooths here are a few recommendations.
Stanley, Idaho Vacation Tips & Hints
1. Plan early, lodging is your crux. Stanley’s saving grace to staying the small, chill mountain town Mecca…a limited amount of lodging. Stanley is a stunning place and as Boise grows (fastest growing city in the US!) finding lodging in Stanley will only get more difficult. Many places, once your in…your in and they will include you in any early booking opportunities. You can find a complete listings of ALL Stanley, Idaho lodging here
2. We joke….Do you know there are only 2 seasons in Stanley? Winter and July.
No doubt July is a breathtaking month in Stanley. June, August and September are also amazing and offer the same number of amenities and SIGNIFICANTLY less people. Planning your vacation outside of the month of July will significianly open up your lodging options, WAY less people at Redfish beach and a much shorter line at the Bakery.
3. Rule of thumb…June is Whitewater & hot springs. August and September means lake living, Mountain Biking & Fly Fishing.
4. If you have visited Redfish Lake Lodge you understand why it is our favorite place in the valley. At the same time, it gets very, very busy. Weekends are exceptionally buzzing as the weekenders escape the heat of Boise and fill out campgrounds to capacity. If you want stay at Redfish you will need to make reservations in early September for the following summer. Campgrounds reserve out 6 months in advance.
5. All this talk about avoiding July, I feel a little guilty. Why… Because 4th of July in Stanley is AMAZING! The whitewater is pumping, trails are in prime condition, the valley is GREEN and nightly live music at Stanley’s Velvet Falls Dance Hall. Not to mention, our favorite little town throws a BIG birthday party for America!. Stanley Idaho’s 4th of July is world-class and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Old fire engines, horse drawn wagons, kids on bikes and a HUGE water fight between rafts companies, all topped off with an amazing firework show under the Sawtooths.
Our multi-day, all inclusive family trip started on the River of No Return in 2007 and have grown in popularity ever since. While all of out trips are welcoming for families, our Kid Trip on the River of No Return and the Teen Trip on the Middle Fork stand out. These two trips are catered to families with kids and teens, guaranteeing the ultimate family adventure.
How are these trip different?
We bulk-up the guide teams with our most kid-friendly, outgoing, fun loving staff that cannot help but show you a great time. The guides are professional, friendly, and most important great role models for your kids.
We bring along additional games and activities to keep the fun rolling all week long
The annual River Olympics is a SAC tradition. The games start on day 1 and ends with an awards ceremony on the final night. Your kids will take away prizes, lifelong nicknames and great memories .
We adapt the menu. While we continue our tradition of fabulously creative, fresh and healthy cuisine, but also add some kid-frinedly favorites.