Idaho State University:
"Best Paddling School"






A Variety of Climbing Courses Are Offered





Hidden Waterful On a River Trip


Canoeing in the Fall


Backpacking on the Idaho Side of the Tetons








"The past is past. The future is now!" - David Voluck


Kayak Surfing

Do you like to Paddle?


How About Whitewater Kayaking?


OR Kayak Touring?


OR Rafting?


OR Canoeing?


At Idaho State University, we have all of those! Idaho State is a great place for your college education.


Paddler Magazine (now a part of Rapid Media) named Idaho State University as one of the nation's Best Paddling Colleges.


Running Whitewater


Here's what editor Jeff Bennett wrote . . .


My first cherished text on river running was Ron Watters' The Whitewater River Book. Today, Watters hangs his helmet in Pocatello, Idaho, where he is the director of Idaho State University's (ISU) Outdoor Program.


Canoeing In IdahoNearly three decades old, the program provides students with dozens of opportunities to hike, climb and ski throughout the Rocky Mountains--but it's the paddling program that shines. "We have a very diverse paddling program," says Dana Olson-Elle, an ACA Instructor Trainer who heads up the Outdoor Program's paddling sector.


"We offer kayak touring trips on Yellowstone and Shoshone Lakes and cost-sharing river trips on the Middle and Main Forks of the Salmon. We also have semester-long classes in kayaking with as many as 90 students per semester, offer three-day canoe workshops and are adding a kayak touring program."


A fleet of 25 kayaks, a heap of rafts and gear to keep these boats on the water support the school's paddling program, as do three full-time staffers and a dozen volunteers.


ISU is a great place to hang out for four years--even if you're not in school. There are great play waves within 20 minutes of campus, easy access to the Payette and Snake River drainages, and plenty of paddle shops and outfitters to keep you wet all year.


Idaho State University offers a Major in Outdoor Recreation (with either a natural history or business option), as well as a Minor in Outdoor Recreation.


And what a place to get an outdoor recreation degree! 

Idaho State University is in the midst of some of the finest outdoor resources in the country.  Within twenty minutes of campus are play waves, canoeing, sailboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, ski/snowboarding, hiking, and a system of five backcountry yurts.  


Let's talk about Idaho padding . . .


As a start, here's a book by one of our faculty members: Guide to Idaho Paddling.


Idaho has more whitewater river miles than anywhere in the lower 48 states. Feast your eyes on this: over 3,000 miles of whitewater! That's just in Idaho.


Idaho Wild Rivers License Plate

Whitewater is so important to the state that Idaho even has a license plate dedicated to wild rivers.


Here's another factoid: Idaho also has more multi-day whitewater trips than anywhere in the lower 48.



Look at this impressive line-up of rivers:



River of No ReturnRiver of No Return (Main Salmon) Five to eight day multi-day whitewater trip through the largest wilderness in the lower 48. Frequent rapids. White sandy beaches beside placid pools. It doesn't get any better.





Middle Fork of the Salmon





Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Five to seven-day whitewater trip: crystal clear water, hot springs at camps, and supreme fly fishing. It's an unforgetable journey.













Selway River by Aaron



Selway River. One the nation's premier whitewater journeys: five days on a pristine river through the spectacular Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.




Hells Canyon Whitewater




Snake River in Hells Canyon. Paddle for 5 days through North America's deepest river gorge and run rapids the size of those found in the Grand Canyon.




Owyhee River



Owyhee River. A four to five day trip through high desert canyonlands with stuning thousand foot rhyolite cliffs and towering sand castle rock formations.





Bruneau River Canyon




Bruneau / Jarbridge Rivers. Three to five day trips on desert rivers passing through ancient lava flows with stately 600-foot vertical canyon walls.






Lochsa River by Phil Konstantin



Lochsa River. A purely fun day trip river down the rousing rapids of the Lochsa.







Payette River - USDA Forest Service



Payette River. Another day trip river with friendly rapids and convenient access points. Great run for rafts and kayaks on a warm summer's day.







North Fork of the Payette



North Fork of the Payette. The "ultimate" kayakers' river loaded with the most challenging series of rapids found anywhere in the nation.







Teton River



Teton River. This is the perfect balance to the North Fork of the Payette. The Teton River is a relaxed, easy-going stretch of water with glorous views of the Idaho side of the Tetons.
















There are more rivers, of course, but this gives you a picture of the incredible paddling opportunities in the state of Idaho. It truly is the nation's whitewater state!


Plenty of Classes & Opportunities to Enjoy Rivers at Idaho State


At Idaho State University, we have Kayaking, Kayak Touring and Swiftwater Rescue courses are taught by American Canoe Association certified teachers. We also have fun, recreational trips to rivers throughout Idaho and the western states.


Some previous kayaking students have gone on to excel competitively including World Freestyle Champion Eric Southwick.


Below instructor Dana Olson runs a whitewater rapid on Idaho's River of No Return, one of the many famous whitewater rivers found in the state.


Dana Kayaking


Works by Faculty Members


Members of the Outdoor Education faculty at Idaho State University (ISU) are deeply involved in the paddling community. One of the earliest technique books published in the US was The Whitewater Book by ISU's Ron Watters which covered both kayaking and rafting.


Idaho's best selling paddling book (now in it's 4th printing) is Guide to Idaho Paddling. It is also by Ron Watters and is a comprehensive guide to Idaho rivers which covers the state's flatwater and easy whitewater river runs.


In addition, Watters maintain the Idaho Paddler's Website which includes updated info on Idaho rivers, high resolution map booklets, and detailed descriptions of paddle trips in the state.


A great general interest website which includes reviews of outdoor books is the Guide to Outdoor Literature website.





Outdoor Education Links


Outdoor Minor Information

Questions & Answers

Brief Descriptions of Outdoor Classes

Course Syllabi & Course Information

Great Video on Outdoor Recreation at Idaho State

Evening on the River

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We have subsidiary sites for Idaho State Outdoor Education at the following:


Google Sites


Word Press



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