FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are answers to many of the Frequenlty Asked Questions we receive from our guests. If you don’t find your question listed below, please feel free to call or email us and we’ll get it answered!
Why Choose Sun Valley?
Simply put, you won’t find a better value for a trip of a lifetime. We’re careful to keep our amazing trips reasonably priced while providing our luxury service, comfort and safety record are unsurpassed. Unlike other rafting trips you may have been on in the past, we won’t ask you to bring any camping gear or help with camp chores. We won’t serve you “camp food”. And we won’t make you ride in hot, dusty buses to and from the river. Check out our options to get to Stanley, including our air-conditioned Motor Coach.
For over 20 years now, our company has chosen to run just this one legendary river, allowing us to focus on perfecting the experience for our pampered guests. This is evident in our safety-trained and experienced guides, top-notch equipment, gourmet cuisine, and ratio of guests to guides. Extra guides allow us the luxury of taking care of you, from your first contact with us. Whether it’s customizing a rafting trip for your family or business group, assisting with flights and lodging, tying on a fly, grilling a tenderloin to your order, coaching you in an inflatable kayak, warming up water for your shower, or providing whatever other support you may need along the way, all you have to do is ask. Of course, our repeat customers are the best endorsement of all. Check our customer testimonials to learn more or call or e-mail us for additional references.
Will this trip be right for me? (Given my age, inexperience, disability, health, fears, hygiene habits, etc.).
We want all our guest to have a safe and enjoyable experience, but the truth is that no one knows you better than you — so we need your help to know your needs and expectations as early as possible. If you have safety concerns or physical limitations due to age, disability or otherwise that require accommodation, please be sure to let us know as early as possible so that we can determine suitable accommodation. By helping you decide which month to come (which affects whitewater levels and weather conditions) and the type of raft to ride in, we can resolve most concerns you might have regarding safety and experience. Guests as young as six (6) years of age are allowed to participate if they are under strict supervision of a parent/guardian at all times. All camps will have private, sanitary toilet facilities. Many guests find that a soak in the hot springs or swim in the river keeps them feeling clean and refreshed. Others take advantage of our pressurized hot shower. Remember, it’s our pleasure to pamper you whenever we can. We feel confident that any pre-adventure concerns you may have had will quickly melt away amid the scenic grandeur, adventure, professional care and camaraderie of your journey. However, some people truly aren’t suited to remote wilderness travel, and so we recommend that you contact us if you still have concerns.
How Do I Get My Adventure?
ASV AIRPORT SHUTTLE
No other outfitters offer free shuttle service for guests between Boise Airport and Stanley, Idaho. As an extension of our exclusive ‘Pampered Camping’ amenities, enjoy complimentary shuttle service in our air-conditioned motor coach to and from the Boise Airport. We meet you at 3:30 p.m. the day before launch. The day after your trip ends, we return you to the Boise Airport at 11:30 a.m. Plan your flights out of Boise after the airport arrival time. Contact us with any questions, concerns, or special travel details you may need.
The closest town to our launch site is Stanley, Idaho, located on Highway 75, off of Interstate 84, 140 miles north of Twin Falls. The drive in from any direction is extremely scenic.
BY AIR AND RENTAL CAR
Many guests fly into Boise or Sun Valley, rent a car for the week (starting around $240), and drive to and from Stanley.,/p>
BY AIR TAXI
After a commercial flight to Boise or Sun Valley, you can fly by air taxi into Stanley and out of Salmon (near our beginning and ending points). Ticket are around $360/person and must be booked well in advance. This saves you about 8 total hours on the road, the cost of renting a car, and perhaps even a night’s lodging at the end of your trip.
Is there an orientation before our trip?
Stanley Idaho is the closest town to our launch on the river. We hold an orientation meeting with guests the night before launch at River 1 Sporting Goods Store in Stanley Idaho at 8:00 p.m.
River 1 is an exceptional place to get gear for your adventure, with a terrific selection of appropriate clothing and river gear at great prices. We encourage you to call ahead (208-774-2270) to get what you need for the trip.
Stanley has many quality motels to choose from. Those listed are a short walk from the lodge. You may want to book a room for the night you get off the river (also, ask your motel if they provide airport shuttle, or vehicle/gear storage while you are on the river). Stanley and Salmon are small, so reserve well in advance.
Please Note: If you join us on our shuttle bus to and from Boise, please make your reservation at the Mountain Village Lodge. It is central to everything in Stanley and is where all the bus arrivals and departures originate.
Is this safe for my family/kids?
Remote wilderness travel presents many potential risks and hazards. That is why it is critical to experience it under the guidance of highly trained guides. We have over 25 years of experience and have taken hundreds of families with children down the river without serious issue. Our guest’s safety is our MAIN CONCERN. Our guides are very highly trained/skilled and will take great care of you. Our guides have taken their own kids on many of our amazing adventures (even as young as four years of age!) and they LOVED the trips!
What is your policy on life jackets?
While Idaho State Law requires us to have jackets on any child under sixteen (16) years of age any time on the water, we require all of our guests and guides to wear their jackets when on the river.
What will my kids do?
They will have the time of their life and build amazing memories with you! This is the PERFECT “Family” adventure and we have seen many children show up dismayed that they will not have their cell phones / iPod®s / etc. for a week – only to see them absolutely blossom into full life when they escape the texts / calls / peer pressure that seems to consume them within their lives. Many parents have been delighted to find an opportunity to really connect with their kids – something they haven’t been able to fully do in years. Nature is great for a child’s soul – just as it is for their parents. All of our guides are fantastic with children and love keeping them engaged and active. So you as a parent can relax and enjoy your amazing trip the way you desire!
Will cell phones work on the river?
No!! Yeah!! That is one of the very best parts of this experience. It is amazing how I see people (kids and adults) almost go into withdrawal the first day or two and then they really come alive as they connect emotionally with others in a REAL way. Somehow they realize that the world always continues to spin without them. Many people have gone years since they have been digitally disconnected for more than just a few hours. This is universally a gift to everyone! Please note that we do carry a satellite phone for emergencies.
What if someone from home needs to contact us while on the river?
We will provide you with emergency contact phone numbers that you can leave with all your family members in case of emergency. If our office fields a call, we will immediately leave a message for the lead guide who checks his messages from the satellite phone every day. So, you can rest assured that you will never be more than few hours delayed in being connected if necessary.
Will i be comfortable in camp?
Absolutely! The truth is that many if not most of our guests rarely if ever camp. We have had many past guests who express hesitation in participating on our amazing trips because they were concerned about being in the wilderness for 6 days. If this is you, we understand – but we have witnessed those very people enjoying the experience more than their trip mates. You will be very comfortable. We have amazing amenities all set up and waiting for you each day. Comfortable tents, cots, full pillows, warm fleece lined sleeping bags…and a HOT SHOWER!! The list goes on and on. “Pampered Camping” is our Flagship Service.
The one caveat is that if you are concerned about being warm you may want to delay your adventure until after mid-June when the high water run off eases. That is a wilder, slightly colder experience than the rest of the season.
What kind of weather can i expect?
Weather in the wilderness is by definition WILD and cannot be controlled. However, after 20 years we can make general predictions. The best weather is from mid-June through mid-August, when you can expect mostly warm, dry days – temperature highs in the 80s to 90s. Our guides typically carry only one light jacket that time of year. Late May and Early June has taught us to pack much more! It can be warm but in case it is cooler, you will want to be more prepared.
If you pack according to our suggested packing list, you will be in great shape. If your trip is pending and you want to get a weather forecast please check out the prediction for Salmon, Idaho. The weather in Stanley is consistently 15 – 20 degrees cooler than on the river.
What about sanitation/showers?
We are very careful to always keep all of our guests comfortable and private. We always set up a toilet system in a remote protected part of camp and use a special privacy tent. We want to assure you that it is very sanitary and we always have a very effective hand wash system with it. You will LOVE our hot shower that we set up at camp in the evenings.
What gear should i bring/how should i dress on the river?
Glad you asked – we send you a detailed Suggested Packing List prior to your trip, however, you may also download the suggested packing list here. If you have any questions or wish to discuss the items you need, we are always happy to answer those questions!
Download our packing guide here
What about bugs?
There are very few, if any. That is one of the things that makes the Middle Fork so awesome! The canyon is largely a very dry climate and the river has almost no calm water that would allow mosquitos to breed – so there are very few mosquitoes on the river. Once in a while when we camp near a hot springs we may see a few so we always pack some spray for camp – but get ready to have a relaxing mostly bug-free camping experience.
What about beverages?
We provide unlimited amounts of fantastic water for you at all times. Please bring along a personal water bottle and drink up! You will always find hot coffee / teas / hot cocoa / and juice in camp each morning. Lunches will always have Gatorade-type drinks available along with water. In the evening, we serve a variety of very nice wines. If you desire your own wines or other beverages such as beer, liquor, colas or other, please feel free to bring whatever you like. We will pack your beverages for you and make them available each evening in camp. You can purchase almost any type of drink in Stanley the evening before your launch. If you are bringing drinks by the case, that is no problem at all, but please purchase beer in cans and not glass bottles. We always bring a TON of ice!
I have dietary concerns and restrictions, can these be accommodated?
It will be our pleasure. We routinely work with every conceivable dietary restriction, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, etc. However, it is extremely IMPORTANT this information be communicated with us in advance. We will be delighted to work with you to make certain your needs are met.
Is there a place to buy last minute gear?
Our orientation meeting the evening before your launch is at our very favorite river gear store in the world! River 1 truly understands what gear you will want for our trip and they have terrific fashionable choices at great prices. As outfitters we are eligible to buy gear wholesale from any manufacturer but after 20 years we buy all our gear in Stanley at River 1. We truly believe you will be happy and impressed with what you find.
What do we do with our car / luggage / cell phones?
We will take care of everything for you! If you are driving to Stanley you can make arrangements with Mountain Village Lodge to park your car in their lot while on the river. We will take responsibility for all your other possessions and secure them in a locked warehouse. We will keep everything safe for you and have it waiting for you when you get off the river.
What about gratuities?
Gratuities are always a personal matter, however, we are often asked what is common so we have observed the following guidelines. The guides work extremely hard and put their hearts and souls into sharing this adventure with you, so if you find that they were a highlight of your experience then it is common and reasonable that they receive 15% – 20% of a party’s total fare, which is shared among all of the guides. If you do not feel that strongly then please follow your heart, they do very much appreciate your generosity.
If you ride with us on our free shuttle service (to and from Boise) we hope you are pleased with the service, a gratuity to the driver would also be highly appreciated.
How, where and when do we get fishing licenses?
You can get your fishing license right at the orientation meeting in the River 1 store the evening before your launch (paid in cash). You will need to know your social security number. Or, if you like, you can purchase online from the Idaho Fish & Game office before you arrive.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are coming for our Fall Cast & Blast trip – you will need an upland game hunting license. When you purchase your upland game hunting license, you will be required to either show a valid hunting license in a prior year or in another state, or a valid Hunters Ed Training Certificate.
Can you provide me with contact information for travel arrangements?
Central Idaho River Shuttles 208-507-1830
River Shuttles 800-831-8942
Boise/Sun Valley-Stanley Shuttle:
Sun Valley Express 800-634-6539
River Shuttles 800-831-8942
Gem Air 208 756-7382 – firstname.lastname@example.org
McCall Air 800-992-6559
Airlines serving Boise:
Airlines Serving Sun Valley:
Mtn. Village Resort 800-843-5475
Triangle C Cabins 800-303-6258
Heritage Inn B&B 208-756-3174
Stagecoach Inn 208-756-2919
Super 8 208-756-8880
Trip Cancellation Insurance:
Travel Guard 800-826-1300
Fishing, Hunting Licenses:
Idaho Fish & Game 800-554-8685
What happens before and after the Launch of our trip?
Please feel free to contact us if you have any specific question(s) that you would further information on. We truly are passionate about our amazing trips and love sharing information, so don’t be shy about reaching out to us for more information.
Flying into Boise? No problem. We’ll pick you up! A pre-trip orientation will occur at River 1 in Stanley, Idaho at 8:00 p.m. This is where you will meet the other guests and your lead guide will answer any last minute questions/prep you for the trip. At the meeting you will receive your dry-bag to pack your stuff into back in the comfort of your motel room. River 1 also is a great place to buy any last minute things you might need.
We pick you up at the Mt. Village Lodge parking lot at approx. 8:00 a.m. in our air-conditioned motor-coach for a 90-minute scenic drive to the launch site. When conditions require (usually in later summer), we board a small air taxi in Stanley and fly to an airstrip down river (adding $150/person to the cost of the trip, payable by check or credit card number upon boarding). Either way, rafts and guides are already there, awaiting your arrival.
Days 2 thru Morning of Day 6
Charmed days on the river. Highlights may include Indian sites, hot springs, wildlife sightings, catching trout, trying out an inflatable kayak, rapids, hiking, swimming, or swapping stories with new friends around the campfire.
Day 6 (Afternoon)
When we reluctantly pull the boats ashore, our air-conditioned motor-coach is the first motor vehicle you’ve seen all week. After lunch, we drive you 2+ hrs. to Salmon, Idaho, arriving around 3:30 p.m., where we drop off guests who have booked air taxi flights, as well as those who had cars shuttled to Salmon. Then we continue another 2.5 hours for those who wish to go all the way back to Stanley, where our journey began.
Day 7 (and the rest of your life)
You share your amazing adventure stories and memories with your friends and family!
What is Your Cancellation Policy?
Please understand that, because of the limited number of seats we are allowed to sell each summer as per very strict river management regulations, we cannot offer to take the financial loss associated with guest cancellations, even for emergencies.
Once we accept a deposit or payment we forfeit our right and ability to sell that seat to others who may desire it!
For this reason, in the case of a guest cancellation, deposits and payments are not refundable for ANY reason. We strongly suggest you investigate trip insurance. We are happy to transfer your seat to an alternate guest at no charge. Additionally, when we are informed of a desire to cancel we will attempt to re-book those previously sold seats. If we are able to re-book them to an interested party, we will refund the monies. Otherwise all deposits and payments are non refundable.