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FAQs

Are the guides licensed or certified or what?
Yes, the guides are licensed by the State of Idaho. Before a guide is given a license, they must be able to demonstrate a significant background of river experience and be certified in Advanced First Aid (or other more advanced medical training such as a WFR or W-EMT).

How long are the trips?
Bearpaw River trips on the Lochsa River are either one or two days long. One-day trips are great for a quick whitewater adventure while two-day trips offer an entire weekend of boating and a nice riverside campout. If you have a group with special trip needs, we could do a "charter trip" and let you set the time frame.

How difficult are the rapids?
The rapids on the Lochsa River are challenging and lots of fun. Most river people rate the Lochsa River as a class 4 river. This means that the boat must maneuver past certain obstacles (rocks and "holes") and must splash right through others (breaking waves and "wave trains"). During May and early June, the run-off is at its peak so the river runs big and fast! But by the time July rolls around, the river slows a bit and the rocks come out. Either way the Lochsa River is an exciting ride.

Do I have to be an experienced rafter to go?
No, actually you do not have to be an experienced river rat to go on the Lochsa River. We take lots of first-timers down the river. It is important, however, that you are able to be part of a paddle team, that you follow directions, and that you come ready for an adventure!

Do I need to bring my own river gear?
No. Bearpaw will provide you with all of that- we have all of the important stuff. All that you need to do is show up! However, sometimes it is good to bring certain extras. Please view our Gear to Bring list.

How much paddling will I get to do?
Everyone will get ample opportunity to paddle. Being part of a paddle boat requires that everybody works together to make certain moves. There are times to float and rest and also times to paddle like crazy!

Where do we meet to begin our trip?
All of the trips begin and end in Lowell, Idaho.  Lowell is a "small town" and is located where the Lochsa and Selway rivers meet - combining to create the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River.  Lowell has a gas station, general store, a hotel and restaurant.  It is at milepost 99 of Idaho's Highway 12.  Lowell is 99 miles east of Lewiston, ID and 123 miles west of Missoula, MT.  When booking a trip, our office staff will communicate the specifics of our meeting place and meeting time.

Where can we lodge or camp while running the Lochsa with Bearpaw?
We would recommend Ryan’s Wilderness Inn. Ryan’s offers lodging and is right next door to our trip meeting spot- it is the perfect place to stay while running the river with us. There is a café at Ryan’s where you can get hot coffee and a good breakfast before your trip. After the trip, you can find the famous “Bearpaw Hot Turkey Sandwich” on the evening menu. Man it hits the spot! For supplies, can shop over at the Cougar Canyon general store – it is a good place to get ice, firewood, cold beverages, some groceries, and fuel up (no diesel)… If you like to camp-out there are many, many campsites located in the local area. These are found along the Lochsa, along the Selway, and down the Clearwater. There are free sites and also pay-to-camp Forest Service sites throughout the area. Finding a site is not usually a problem! Call the Clearwater National Forest at (208) 926-4274 for more information.
 

How many people in a boat, how many boats on a trip?
We usually put seven people in a boat (including the guide) and have at least two boats per trip. Sometimes we bring a "safety kayaker" if the river is at a peak run off stage.

How deep is the river?
This is one of our favorite river questions! We are just going to make you wait on this one. Come and do a trip and we will discuss it!

I have not been camping that much, are we going to be comfortable?
Sure, we make every effort to ensure the comfort and safety of our guests. We have a seasonally permanent campsite set up along the river. The camp includes a huge wall tent, a large open-side awning, a gas BBQ, many camp chairs, tons of sleeping pads, a fire-pan and plenty of dry wood. We have it all over there. When we hit the camp beach after a day on the water, your tent will be waiting for you. While you are making up your "home", we will be starting the fire and prepping for dinner.

Where is the best place to fly into?
Missoula, Montana, would probably be your best choice.  Lewiston, Idaho or Spokane, Washington would also be good choices.  From Missoula, Lewiston, or Spokane you will need to drive to Lowell, Idaho.  One of the things that make the Lochsa great is its distance from anything else!

How do we make a reservation?
To make a reservation, call us at (406) 546-0370, or email us at:  waves@zootownsurfers.com.  Be ready with a rough idea of when you would like to go.  We will set a date and add you to the schedule and arrange to receive your deposit.  After we receive your deposit, we will send you a detailed confirmation packet in the mail.

     
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