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While hiking trails in the McCall area remain snow-covered in the spring, the Rapid River Trail outside of Riggins is widely considered by locals to be the best early spring hike in the area. April and May are the perfect time of year to enjoy the colorful wildflowers and lush green hillsides of this wild and scenic river corridor. 

The hike itself is an 10.8-mile out-and-back trek which ascends the canyon wall before dropping into the narrow river canyon. Hikers will enjoy the pristine and fast-moving river water, outstanding canyon scenery and unique plant life. While picturesque, keep an eye out for poison ivy, rattlesnakes and ticks on this trail. The absence of roads and other development has helped keep this river one of the clearest and cleanest in the area making it an exceptional habitat for wildlife and native vegetation.  

Directions:  From McCall, drive west on ID 55 for 11 miles to the intersection with US 95 in New Meadows. Travel 29.7 miles north, past mile marker 191, and turn left onto paved Rapid River Road. Continue for 2.9 miles to the trailhead. The entire drive will take about an hour. Parking is available. 

Bonus stop! The Rapid River Fish Hatchery is located just below the trailhead and is the largest collecting, spawning and rearing facility of spring Chinook salmon in Idaho. It was built to mitigate lost runs of chinook salmon caused by the construction and operation of the Hells Canyon Dam and is owned and financed by the Idaho Power Company. Rapid River Fish Hatchery has been rated one of the most successful hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. Tours are self-guided.

Feature photo credit: Cameron Duke/AllTrails
Hatchery photo credit: MagicValley.com