Step 3: Planning
May 15th - July 31 - Permits Only (Lottery Page: 4-Rivers Lottery Page)
The Selway River is unique due to its pristine nature and the focus on solitude as a primary feature of the river running experience. Only one small group of sixteen people is allowed to launch on the river per day during the relatively short season from late May to early August. Many trips conclude without seeing any other river running groups. In 1964 Congress passed the Wilderness Act to establish a nine million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, composed mostly of the Selway River watershed, made up 1.25 million acres of the original system. In 1968 the Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created and the Selway was one of the original eight rivers to be protected.
Today the Wilderness System is over 100 million acres and there are hundreds of Wild and Scenic Rivers, yet the Selway remains a pristine original. The Selway is known for coastal type vegetation with huge Western Red Cedars and moss and fern covered banks, plus the occasional Pacific Yew tree. The roadless section is 47 miles and contains Class III-IV water, escalating to some V’s in high water conditions.
The most famous stretch of whitewater comes right after the halfway point, when Moose Creek, almost as big as the Selway itself, adds volume just as the gradient of the river increases from an average 28 feet per mile to 50 feet per mile. This three mile stretch of seven Class IV rapids is known by guides as the “Moose Juice!”
The water quality of the Selway is superb – crystal clear running through exciting rapids and deep pools. Fishing is excellent for native cutthroat trout.
Due to the limited number of small groups allowed, booking a Selway trip requires advance planning. Only four outfitters operate on the river. They often book a year or more in advance. It is always worth checking for openings due to last minute cancellations.
If you seek a pristine wilderness experience with an emphasis on solitude, (and great whitewater as well), the Wild and Scenic Selway should be high on your list of rivers to run.
Directions - Click here for info on how to get to the Selway
Conditions - Click here for info on weather and river levels
River Information - Click here for info on how to get to the Selway