Selway - 2 - Selway Falls to Clearwater River

Selway, Idaho, US


2 - Selway Falls to Clearwater River

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 18 Miles

Water Gun Wars

Water Gun Wars
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/24/14 @ 12700 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-13336500 1000 - 40000 cfs II-III 00h28m 1630 cfs (running)

River Description

Most are familiar with the classic Selway run that flows through the heart of the Selway-Bitteroot wilderness, one of the most sought-after river permits in the U.S. But if you are in the area and looking for a nice day-trip on intermediate whitewater the Lower Selway is a great option. A 19 mile road follows the right bank of the river from Highway 12 making access and shuttles convenient. Great camping is available at developed campgrounds or one of several dispersed sites along the river.

Most trips start with a trip up to scout Selway Falls and marvel at the awesome power of the river as it flows between massive boulders in a series of big waves and even bigger holes. A beach downstream river right and within site of the falls serves as the put-in. The run features a couple good class III rapids--Falls Creek Rapid and Rock Island Rapid--that are visible from the road along with a number of class II rapids and interspersed with good recovery sections between drops.

Around Boyd Creek Campground the whitewater begins to taper off and the beach at Slide Creek makes a good access point for those who want to enjoy the 8 mile run that includes the best whitewater. Downstream of this point one can find more good class II all the way to the confluence with the Lochsa where the Clearwater River begins.


A trip on the Lower Selway begins from Highway 12. For those running all the way to the Clearwater, a pullout  at Highway 12 mile 96.6 serves as a potential take-out where the Selway and Lochsa join.

To reach the put-in, turn off Highway 12 mile 96.9 and cross the bridge to head up Selway River Road. Good access can be found at Johnson Bar at mile 4.1 or the bridge at mile 6.6. The most popular take-out for a short day trip or put-in for an easier class II trip is at the pullout and nice beach at Slide Creek at mile 10.2 (this is half a mile downstream of Boyd Creek Campground). The put-in below Selway Falls is at mile 17.9, a nice beach access within site of the falls. A trip would not be complete without taking a few moments to scout the falls. The road ends at mile 19 just above the falls.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-03-01 20:53:02

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Rock Island RapidIIIPhoto
0.0Slide Creek AccessN/AAccess Photo
0.0Falls Creek RapidIIIPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Rock Island Rapid (Class III)

Rock Island Rapid, left line

Rock Island Rapid, left line
Photo of Web Peirce by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/17/13 @ 5210 cfs

Routes either down the left or right side. Just stay in the main flow in either channel and boat scout your way down.

Slide Creek Access (Class N/A)

Slide Creek Access

Slide Creek Access
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/24/14 @ 12700 cfs

A good take-out option for those most interested in running the whitewater or a put-in for a more mellow float.

Falls Creek Rapid (Class III)

Falls Creek Rapid

Falls Creek Rapid
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/17/13 @ 5210 cfs

Fun read-and-run rapid with some waves and a couple holes. You can check it out on the shuttle drive but it's not hard to boat scout.

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