Photo by David Rauzi
A kayaker participates in Lochsa River Madness
As of Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Lochsa River Madness event 2013: Thrill and Spill
Lochsa River Madness event 2013: a catarafter takes a spill, but still has a smile about it.
Lochsa River Madness event 2013: Rapids Success
Lochsa River Madness event 2013: This rafting group makes it successfully through the rapids.
Time for Boating the Lochsa River
“It’s just coming to the Lochsa River for Memorial Day Weekend to go boating. It’s been the most popular weekend for decades, mainly because it coincides with the highest flow on the Lochsa and it is a holiday weekend allowing people to have the time to come out.”
“It is very social, the boaters camp out upriver and get to float together. Lots of them have already been boating this season, but it is the start of the season for some.”
“The crowd that watches are like vultures; sometimes, they boo when the boats make it upright and cheer when they surf or flip. The boaters start to play to the crowd. And the crowd is very social with BBQs and picnic baskets and coolers, etc.”
(From a 2016 Free Press story) Marty Smith, outfitter and owner of Three Rivers Rafting, provides guided whitewater raft trips on the Lochsa
Are you ready for some madness on the Lochsa?
Each Memorial Day weekend, the Lochsa River Madness event draws out boaters to enjoy the spring whitewater action and also kick off the start of the rafting season. It’s an informally organized event that has run for years, going that Saturday through Monday, with spectators gathering near milepost 114 on U.S. Highway 12 to cheer on boaters as they celebrate the weekend.
Among Idaho County’s natural draws is its whitewater, and the Lochsa is a world-class river with more than a dozen big-named rapids that provide a challenging and also exciting experience for advanced rafters. The madness event is “the” weekend to run the Lochsa, as it generally coincides with the highest flow on the river.
Attendees can expect to see dozens of boats: guided and non-guided paddle rafts, as well as catarafters and kayakers. Space along the pullout allows watchers to set up chairs and crack open the coolers, where they can overlook the action and cheer participants as they surf or flip.
The event works great for a day trip. Or if you want to spend more time enjoying other area scenery, US12 has a great selection of camping spots, as well as hiking trails. For information: Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, 208-983-1950, www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater ; also on Facebook and Twitter.