The Lochsa River

Lochsa White Water - Credit: Robert Millage - One of the great things about the Lochsa River is that it is as challenging as it is accessible. If you flip a raft at Bloody Mary, Grim Reaper, or Lochsa Falls, chances are someone will be watching from Highway 12.

Designated one of the nation's first Wild & Scenic Rivers in 1968, the Lochsa offers the intermediate boater plenty of excitement, with over 25 major Class III-IV+ rapids. The Nez Perce Indians called it "Loc-sah," meaning "rough water," and at high flows during the months of May and June, the river can be quite hazardous. The recommended levels for a safe, exciting run are 1,000 to 5,000 cfs., but in June of 1964, the river peaked at 35,000 cfs.

Lochsa White Water - Credit: Robert Millage - The "Lewis & Clark Highway," U.S. Highway 12, parallels the Lochsa River from just below Lolo Pass to Lowell, where it meets the Selway River.

It is possible to do two and three day trips on the 60 miles of whitewater; however, many rafters and kayakers are content to run the half day stretch from Fish Creek to Split Creek Pack Bridge. This stretch features many of the best rapids, like Grim Reaper and Lochsa Falls.


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