Pathways Of The Nez Perce… (trip)

Pathways Of The Nez Perce An Adventure By Raft, Kayak And Horse

  • Lewiston Airport, ID, United States
  • Boats, Barges & Small Ship Cruises
Idaho, United States, North America

from $1,795* per person6 DaysJuly, August
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 4
Operator: ROW International 24 people max
As the largest Native American tribe in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies, the Nez Perce have a long and rich culture. The traditional homeland of the Nez Perce was over seven million acres and was centered around the Salmon, Snake and Clearwater Rivers. Today most of the tribe lives on the Nez Perce Reservation in west central Idaho. ROW's multisport family trip provides a rare look at the history and culture of the Nez Perce tribe of today and of years past.

Journey into the Land of the Nez Perce was designed specifically for families but people of all ages will find this a life-enriching journey. Highlights include visiting the Nez Perce horse breeding program, seeing and learning about wolves, horseback riding along the Lower Selway River and rafting Idaho’s legendary Salmon “River of No Return.”

Evenings are spent in local lodges or camping along the river and children as young as five are welcome on this family adventure. The whitewater rafting portion of this trip is considered easy to intermediate, and our expert guides take care of all meals and camp set up for a luxury camping experience. This trip provides a rare look into the history and culture of the Nez Perce tribe.

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Locations visited/nearby

Idaho, United States, North America

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Day 1 - We start the day with a 10-minute drive to the Nez Perce National Historical Park Interpretive Center to learn about the culture and history of the Nez Perce. See one of their original dug-out canoes and learn about their lifestyle and foods. A highlight for all comes when we help erect a tipi. A short drive brings us to the town of Lapwai for a visit with the Nez Perce Appaloosa horse camp. Here we learn about the central role that the Appaloosa has played in the Nez Perce people's culture and history and how the horse changed their way of life in hunting, traveling, and trading. Anyone who wants may enjoy a short ride.

We continue south to the Wolf Education and Research Center in Winchester, Idaho. Wolves have been central to the Nez Perce culture and we learn about their historic role in the West and the Nez Perce program of reintroduction that has grown Idaho’s wolf population from a few dozen to over 900 in less than a decade!

After this illuminating visit and a picnic lunch, we travel by remote back roads from the Camas Prairie to the Clearwater River Valley, stopping at “Heart of the Monster” on route. For the Nez Perce, this is the birthplace of their people and we listen to the story told in their native tongue.

We continue east, and if there is time we will stop at the Clear Creek fish hatchery for our first introduction to salmon biology and their role in the tradition of the Nez Perce, as well as learn about the 1877 “Nez Perce War.”

By late afternoon we arrive at River Dance Lodge, a lovely log cabin resort on the banks of the Clearwater Dinner. We enjoy dinner and overnight at the lodge along with evening campfire activities.

Day 2 - Rise and shine and head upriver for a fun morning horseback ride in the mountains above the Selway River, adjacent to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. After the ride, we head to a pristine white sand beach for lunch. The afternoon is spent on a gentle float trip aboard sit-on-top kayaks or rafts, on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. We float all the way back to the River Dance Lodge. After dinner we enjoy a talk around the campfire by a local Nez Perce Tribal member to learn about their relationship to the wild salmon that live in the waters of the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon Rivers.

Day 3 - We drive southwest along traditional routes used by the Nez Perce past the town of Cottonwood, to our put-in on the Salmon River to start our 4-day adventure. We raft through fun, class III rapids and camp each night on huge white sand beaches perfect for fun and games. Water temperatures reach the low 70’s and these days are like living in a huge sandbox next to clean fresh water. In addition to our guide staff, the ROW River Jester leads fun, educational, nature-oriented games and activities along the way. ROW serves an early dinner for the kids with a menu that would make Dr. Seuss drool! Children are also welcome to join in the adult dinner served awhile later. A Nez Perce Tribal member will also accompany this part of the trip and be available for discussions and further learning about the Tribe.

Days 4-5 - On the river. The Salmon River Canyons offers dramatic scenery alternating between sheer-walled canyons and huge mountains of golden grass with distant towering ponderosa pines. This is the vast American West at its best! This wild country is home to a variety of wildlife including mule deer, whitetail deer, black bear, river otter, eagles, falcons, hawks, numerous songbirds and waterfowl. There is plenty of time for hiking, volleyball, relaxing in the sun, fishing and leisurely days on the river. Our Nez Perce theme continues as we visit the sites of ancient pit houses and pass by the historic Billy Creek crossing of 1877.

Day 6 - The last 21 miles of our trip is on the Snake River through the lower end of Hells Canyon. We arrive at our take-out, Heller Bar, on the Snake River around 4pm and drive back to the Clearwater River Casino and Resort in Lewiston, Idaho for a hosted farewell dinner where our trip ends.

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