Wild & ScenicSelway River Rafting

Selway River Highlights

Selway River rafting trips are considered one of the purest, most exhilarating rivers in the American West. A limited number of permitted travelers guarantees you will experience beauty and solitude like nowhere else. As one of the orignal eight national wild and scenic rivers the Selway is know for its torrent of rapids, including Moose Juice, a three-mile stretch with six Class IV rapids. The river flows through the depths of the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness Area which was one million of the original 9 million acres of wilderness in the United States. Deer, elk, moose, beaver, black bear, otter, eagles, osprey, and owls thrive in this protected area. The Selway is also known as a world class angling river with catch and release fishing for cutthroat and rainbow trout.

Selway River Rafting

Rafting the Selway River takes boaters into one of the most historic remote areas in the lower 48 states making it one of the most sought after river experiences in the world. The forces of geologic change have shaped this country into a rugged jumble of steep canyons, mountains, rivers, and forests. Large groves of Western Red Cedars rise over 100 feet alongside the river’s edge while crystal clear waters and deep pools provide ample opportunities to get in some superb fishing. This trip rafts 48-miles of class III and IV whitewater for 5 or 6 days from the Paradise Creek put-in to Race Creek take-out.

The Forest Service manages this river to maximize the remote feel by allowing only one small trip of up to 16 people launch each day. Floating along the river it is rare to see other parties. Trips have their choice of camps and hikes. The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area was 1 million of the orignial 9 million acres of land protected by the Wilderness Act in 1964. In addition, the Selway River is one of the 8 original members of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. 

The name Selway comes from the Nez Perce word “Sal-wah”, meaning “smooth water”. Ironically this run is know for its large class IV rapids particularily in the Moose Juice section which contains Double Drop, Ladle and Little Niagra.

Early in the season the Selway is known for its high volume rapids. As the water drops it becomes a destination fly fishing trip. In addition to fishing, rafting, and camping there is ample time to hike and swim. Most trips do a layover day at Moose Creek where they camp at the same spot two nights. People choose there own adventure on this day which could include fishing, hiking to a fire lookout, exploring old homesteads and backcountry ranger stations, swimming or finding a shady spot to read and nap a little.

The lack of people, small group size, layover day, and pristine wilderness makes this the most challenging river trip in the United States to find an opening. Plan ahead and call years before you want to go.

Packing for your trip

You will be provided with a suggested packing list after signing up for the trip. The key equipment is good river footwear, clothing to protect you from the rain and for the sun. While rain rarely falls in the summer. If it does , proper rain gear will make it a much more joyful experience. Here is some rain gear, footwear and other clothing we recommend.

Pre-trip Meeting

Trips tyically have a meeting the evening before the launch date in Missoula, Montana to answer last night questions and pass out drybags so everyone can pack their gear for the next day.

Launch Day

You will be shuttled to the river put-in along with your gear to begin your adventure. At the end of the trip you will be transported back to where you originally met the shuttle to put-in.

Price Includes

Most outfitters will provide all the camping and river related safety equipment, along with plenty of fresh food, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. However there are some outfitters that will ask you to supply your own camping and sleep gear. Typically these outfitters will also have an option to rent a camp/sleep kit for an additional cost. Transportation to the put-in point and take-out point from/to your start city is included.

Trip Options

The Selway is typically run in 5 or 6 days. When the water is high 6 day trips can have multiple layover days.

Adventure Specialists

We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.

General Itinerary

Selway rafting trips have loose itineraries. While on the river expect to wake up to a call that coffeee is ready. After breakfast everyone packs up their gear. In the morning there will usually be floating, running a couple rapids and maybe doing a little hike expect before pulling over for lunch. Expect more of the same in the afternoon until arriving at camp for the night. After the rafts are unloaded everyone decides where they will set up for the evening and then it's time for relaxing, appetizers, and then dinner.

Making the most of your trip

We find people have the most fun when they are flexible. Rafting trips are an adventure and the guides are continually adjusting the days plans to adjust to make the most of the day as it is presented. It can be nice to leave your watch behind.


June weather is typically in the low 70’s°F during the day and around 40°F at night with occasional precipitation. In July, daytime temperatures are around 80°F, dipping down to the 40°F at night with less chance for rain.

Boats & Group Size

On the Selway rafting trips the outfitter offers two types of boats. Oar rafts are 18 feet long, carry all the overnight gear and up to 4 guests. They are rowed by a guide using oars attached to a metal frame. Paddle rafts are 14 feet long and carry between 4 and 6 paddlers who actively paddle through the rapids and down the river. Everyone has a paddle and follows the commands of the paddle guide.

Camp Life

Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, our outfitters are specialists in facilitating an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. Your outfitter will provide a full sleep kit with a tent, sleeping bag, and inflated sleeping pad. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled the next morning.


One thing is certain on a Rogue rafting trip: There will be plenty of food! A full, hearty breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch where you create your own sandwich. Dinners can be anything from a New York steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and beverages offered throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. Please contact us when signing-up for the trip regarding any special dietary requirements to insure adjustments can be made to meet individual needs.

Length: 5 to 6 days
Price: $2,700 to 3,500 per person
Season: June – July
Min. Age: 12 years
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Level: Strong

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    Steve G.

  • Absolutely wonderful. Rivers and Oceans is operated by people who truly care about your trip and have the personal experience to help you make the best choice. Now go see for yourself and let Rivers and Oceans lead you towards the adventure of a lifetime.

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  • The folks at Rivers and Oceans are great. Helped us find and book a trip and patiently answered many questions over the weeks preceding the trip. Thank you.

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