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Difficulty III-IV
Length 13 Miles
Gauge Snake At Milner Total Flow
Flow Range 1000 - 27000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 months ago 0 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/19/2018 6:00 pm

River Description

The Murtaugh Canyon, a classic run on the Snake River featuring Pair-A-Dice, Let's Make a Deal and Idaho Connection. This is a big desert river with ledge drops, big waves and holes. Idaho Connection features some of the best surfing anywhere.  

The river gets very rocky, and steep below 5,500, but kayakers can run it lower down to around 1,200. It has been survived above 30,000 but you have to run Paradise. The character of the river and lines through the rapids change dramatically with flows. In fact, Murtaugh is often described as three rivers in one, because of its three inner canyons that are either exposed or inundated as flows change. 


Rapid Descriptions


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Todd Hoffman
8 years ago

Ran it at 13,000 cfs on 4/16/2011. Huge, big water class IV!!! Lots of fun, but a bad level to swim. I recommend bring a breakdown paddle in your group when running this section at high flows.

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Paul Abraszewski
13 years ago

We ran the Murtaugh section at 2600 according to gage mentioned below. Excellent run, class IV with Duck Blind and Lets Make a Deal (depending on the "door") probably with higher rating. At this level you can run multiple "doors" at Lets Make a Deal, including door number 2, which is the easiest and other doors which are much more difficult.

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edward clark
14 years ago

The wrong gage is listed for this stretch. Use the following link:

Also, the minimum level for kayaks (and certain rafts) is more like 1000-1200. There's excellent play at opium hole (mid way through the canyon) and Troll Holl. At flows around this level, the river is confined to the inner rock channel. Overall, the nature is pool drop class III/IV with 2 class IV+/V- rapids (Let's make a deal and Duckblind.) The hole in duckblind, combined with the rapid acceleration of water behind it, and the ledge create a potential for good beatings.

Gage Descriptions

Flow data here are provided courtesy of Dreamflows, and are derived from the Bureau of Reclamation website. Note that the USGS gage is above the powerhouse outlet, so does not accurately measure flows. 

Bureau of Reclamation Gage:

Dreamflows Gage:

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2009-04-19 High Fatality High Water Read More



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Idaho Proposes Registration Fee for Non-Motorized Boats

John Gangemi

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Idaho is proposing a $13 registration fee for non-motorized boats greater than 7 feet in length. Under this registration fee proposal all kayaks and rafts on Idaho waters would be required to have a registration sticker fixed to the bow of each boat greater than 7 feet in length. Stickers would not be transferable between boats. Out of state boaters would be required to comply as well.

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Can You Taste Victory?

American Whitewater

FERC revokes Preliminary Permit for
hydropower project on Boundary Creek in
Northern Idaho.

Rick Widmer


Thomas O'Keefe


Todd Hoffman


Jacob Cruser


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190425 08/13/05 Rick Widmer n/a
1198929 12/04/10 Thomas O'Keefe copy edits
1198940 12/04/10 Thomas O'Keefe Removed USGS Gage and Virtual Gage
1199950 04/28/11 Todd Hoffman Corrected typos.
1199949 04/28/11 Todd Hoffman Updated gage description, added copy to main page.
1199951 04/28/11 Todd Hoffman
1199952 04/28/11 Todd Hoffman
1210118 07/19/18 Jacob Cruser
1210119 07/19/18 Jacob Cruser