Idaho has secrets. The Jarbidge-Bruneau River is one of the best kept. This slice of desert paradise is known for its technical whitewater and stunning scenery. Rock spires, brilliant colors and some big fun on the water draw those looking for both a pristine wilderness setting and high adventure.

Similar Trips:
Upper Owyhee •  Middle Owyhee •  Lower Owyhee

Departure Month: May
Region: Idaho
Rating: High Adventure, Intermediate
Pricing: Between $1500 and $2000

The Jarbidge originates on the remote border of Idaho and Nevada at the base of the Jarbidge Mountains. Spring run-off sends this creek-size river into a frenzy of fast corners and big, technical whitewater. Surrounded by steep canyon walls and juniper forests, it tumbles about 50 ft. per mile, creating one of the best whitewater runs in Idaho. Several sections are continuous class III – IV rapids with at least one portage at Jarbidge Falls. The rafting season here is strictly in May as we need the higher water to navigate the rafts. Given the extremely remote location and technical whitewater, we usually have the canyon all to ourselves. A great river trip for the whitewater enthusiast! We use 12′ oar boats with one guide and one guest to navigate the challenging whitewater. You won’t find a guide to guest ratio like this anywhere else, and the trip is limited to 6 guests.

The beautiful high desert plateau comes alive in early spring with delicate desert wildflowers and a wide array of whistling songbirds, birds of prey, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, baby goslings and coyote. There are great hiking and exploring opportunities along the way. Visit a natural arch, hike up to the canyon rim for a breathtaking vista, or lie down by the waters edge and watch the falcons and swifts fly overhead. As we pass the confluence of the West fork of the Bruneau, we enter the narrow, red-walled gorge. Stunning side canyons provide perfect afternoon outings and each evening we will enjoy delicious dutch oven dinners around a campfire and relive the day’s adventures! Five Mile Rapid is the grand finale of the trip.

WHOA. The whole trip was spectacular. From the scenery to the Whitewater, friends and making new friends with the crew. And the food was crazy good. The trip was intense, awesome and a trip of a lifetime. I loved to see how the crew was so cohesive and worked so famously well together. There was true respect and experience among them all that was wonderful. Real poetry in motion. A real “blow your dress up”/ wow experience. Just do it!!! Thanks to all.”  ~Ruby Swanson 2019

  • Wild whitewater
  • Towering canyon walls
  • Stunning vistas
  • Intimate group sizes
  • Great bird watching
  • Desert wildlife
  • Delicate wildflowers



More dates available upon request.

Included: Included in the cost is transportation from Boise to the river and back to Boise.  All meals, beginning with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day.  We also provide the use of our sleeping gear and tents (or you can bring your own gear and receive a $40 discount), several dry bags, a PFD, and a wetsuit or drysuit as needed.
Not Included: Prices do not include motels before and after the trip, alcohol or guide gratuities.

Ask about our group and child discount options.
Charter trips are available for groups, minimum number varies by river. This means your group has reserved the entire trip. Please call us for details at 800.252.6581.

Payment: A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your trip with the remaining balance due 45 days prior to the trip.

Cancellation and Refunds:
Operating quality trips is a costly operation with no margin for losses resulting from late cancellations.  The space you reserve is held for you, and this may mean turning others away.  Each trip is planned for the number of reserved spaces, guides scheduled, supplies bought, rafts and vehicles assigned.  If notice of cancellations 45 days prior to departure, you may transfer to any other trip in the same season without penalty.  A cancellation less than 45 days is non-refundable.  Depending on circumstances, we can discuss other trip options.

Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend that you protect yourself with a short-term traveler’s insurance policy.  Trip cancellation will cover your losses on non-refundable air and land cost on unexpected cancellations.

Cancelled Trips: We reserve the right to cancel a trip due to insufficient reservations, weather, or water conditions.  In such cases, a full refund for the trip is given.  If possible, we will offer an option of a different trip of comparable type.


This trip begins and ends in Boise, Idaho
Most airlines offer flights into Boise.  You will need to arrive the evening before your trip begins. We usually have an orientation around 6 p.m. that night.
Please make hotel reservations at the Best Western Inn in Boise for the evening before your trip and the evening your trip ends. If you wish to make other arrangements, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.

Best Western Vista Inn
Boise, Idaho


Day before the trip: Arrive in Boise, Idaho. In the evening, we’ll get together to hand out gear and answer any last minute questions.

Day 1: We’ll get an early start for our drive to the river. We will have lunch, gear up, and have a river safety talk before getting on the river. When we push off, we’ll immediately be in the midst of swift rapids. This is an exciting day!

Day 2: More good rapids and some excellent hiking available. The larger rapids are generally narrow chutes between large boulders.

Day 3: In the morning we reach Jarbidge Falls, which we may have to line or portage depending on water levels. We’ll reach the confluence with the Bruneau around lunchtime and soak in the natural hot springs. Those rafting only the Bruneau will join the trip here.

Day 4-5: We are on the Bruneau now, floating through some of the prettiest canyons in the west. There will be some good class III rapids and lots of opportunities for hiking.

Day 6: Run Five-Mile Rapid in the morning, 3.5 miles of great class III-IV whitewater. We’ll eat lunch along the river and have a mellow float to our takeout around mid-afternoon. Drive back to Boise.

Bruneau Only: Arrive in Boise the day before the trip and drive to the river the next morning. Soak in the hot springs, eat lunch, and then put on the river. Days 2-4 are the same as days 4-6 of the Jarbidge-Bruneau trip.


Download Printable Check List

Please read carefully: having the right gear is essential to having the best possible experience on your trip. You will already have most of the gear listed, or it can be used on any outdoor excursion (football games, boating, skiing, etc.). We want you to have everything you will need to be comfortable and happy. However, be aware that we have limited space and weight capacity on this trip. Please feel free to call our office to discuss any questions you have about gear and packing!

No stereos, radios, or watches please.



2 LARGE WATERPROOF BAGS…one for sleeping bag, pad & ground cloth, and one for clothing.

WATERPROOF DAY BAG…for items you need access to during the day.


SLEEPING BAGS, PADS, AND TENTS…or bring your own and receive a $40 discount.

RAIN GEAR… good jacket and pants, ponchos aren’t enough. AVOID VINYL & CHEAP PLASTICS.

LIGHTWEIGHT SHIRTS…one long sleeved.

TWO PAIR LONG PANTS…synthetics are best

SHORTS…synthetics dry faster – good to wear over swimsuit.

SWIMSUIT…nylon is best because it dries faster.

CAP TO BLOCK SUN…in case of wind attach with chums or a shoe string.

WOOL OR SYNTHETIC HAT for cool evenings…a must for everyone.

GLOVES OR MITTENS…synthetic or wool.

TWO WARM SHIRTS…wool or polar fleece

LONG UNDERWEAR…Polypro or Capilene (not cotton) tops & bottoms.

WARM JACKET…synthetics are popular because they are warm even when damp.

HIKING BOOTS or sturdy walking shoes …well broken in.

SOCKS…3-4 pair synthetic wool socks, fleece socks are also nice for in camp.

THIN LINER SOCKS…nylon or synthetic, not cotton.

RUNNING SHOES OR SANDALS…for around camp and short hikes.

NEOPRENE SOCKS and old running shoes… this is good combination we’ve found for keeping your feet warm and safe on the river.  You could also wear the neoprene socks under a pair of keen sandals.

SUNGLASSES AND TIES FOR GLASSES…protects against glare.  Pack an extra pair of prescription glasses even if you wear contacts.

SUNTAN LOTION…maximum strength sun block & moisture lotion.



FLASHLIGHT…small one is fine, headlamps work great.


CAMERA…you may want to bring an extra battery.

SMALL DAY OR FANNY PACK…for side excursions

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE…if desired (unbreakable containers).

BINOCULARS (optional).

*Wilderness River Outfitters provide a MAJOR FIRST AID KIT.  However, we do recommend you bring your own preferred personal medication and accessories (Advil, Tylenol, aspirin, Band-Aids, cold medicine).


Reviews from the Jarbidge Bruneau River Trips

“WHOA. The whole trip was spectacular. From the scenery to the Whitewater, friends and making new friends with the crew. And the food was crazy good. The trip was intense, awesome and a trip of a lifetime. I loved to see how the crew was so cohesive and worked so famously well together. There was true respect and experience among them all that was wonderful. Real poetry in motion. A real “blow your dress up”/ wow experience. Just do it!!! Thanks to all.”  ~Ruby Swanson 2019

“I’ve been on 53 different remote rivers in my life and let me tell you: If you ever want to take a trip with river outfitters who are safe, knowledgeable, affable, fun, and awesome cooks, try floating the Bruneau River with Wilderness River Outfitters. Like me, when your trip is done, you’ll have more than enough memories from just this one river to decorate your mental scrapbook for the rest of your life.”

The highlights are way too many to mention but here is one: The intimate camp at the confluence of Sheep Creek and the Bruneau River. No words can describe my thoughts as I watched the warm, evening light play on those sensuous, Baroque-feeling canyon walls and listened to the descending trill of the canyon wrens welcoming us to our overnight home.”   ~ Mark Lawson,  2011