Idaho summer pack trips are a type of wilderness adventure that involves exploring remote areas of the state’s backcountry on horseback or mule. These trips typically last several days to a week or more and allow participants to experience the natural beauty of Idaho’s mountains, forests, and rivers in a unique and immersive way. The pack animals, or “pack stock,” carry all the necessary gear and supplies, including food, water, camping equipment, and personal belongings, so participants can focus on enjoying the journey without worrying about carrying heavy backpacks.
Idaho summer pack trips are an excellent way to experience the wilderness in a way that is both exciting and comfortable.
Unlike traditional backpacking trips, pack trips allow participants to explore remote areas while still having access to comfortable camping gear and hot meals. This makes the experience more enjoyable and less physically demanding, especially for those who may not be accustomed to carrying heavy backpacks or roughing it in the backcountry. Additionally, pack trips are ideal for those who want to cover more ground in less time and see more of the wilderness than they would on foot. We also offer an incredible wilderness retreat for women.
What to Expect on an Idaho Summer Pack Trip
Idaho summer pack trips can vary in length, route, and difficulty depending on the outfitter and the participant’s preferences. However, most pack trips follow a similar itinerary, which typically includes:
Day 1: Arrival and Orientation
The first day of the trip usually involves meeting the outfitter and the pack stock, getting acquainted with the horses or mules, and going over safety procedures and trip logistics.
Spend Your Vacation Riding, Exploring and Fishing High Mountain Lakes
The next few days involve riding on horseback or mule through the backcountry, exploring remote areas, and taking in the stunning scenery. Participants can expect to ride for several hours each day, with breaks for lunch and rest stops along the way. If you like to fish, many of Idaho’s high mountain lakes are teeming with brook trout, cutthroat trout and/or grayling, depending on your location.
Return to Base Camp
Towards the end of the trip, you will start making their way back to base camp, most of the time, your group will spend the final night under the stars. This is often the favorite night of the trip.
On the final day, participants will say goodbye to the outfitter and pack stock and head back to civilization.
How to Prepare for an Idaho Summer Pack Trip
Before embarking on an Idaho summer pack trip, there are a few things to consider and prepare for, including:
While Idaho summer pack trips are less physically demanding than traditional backpacking trips, they still require a moderate level of physical fitness. Participants should be comfortable riding a horse or mule for several hours each day and be able to walk on uneven terrain.
Clothing and Gear
You should bring appropriate clothing and gear for the trip, including:
- Sturdy, comfortable hiking boots
- Lightweight, breathable clothing (avoid cotton)
- Warm layers for cold nights
- Rain gear
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- Sleeping bag and pad (if not provided by outfitter)
- Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, soap, etc.)
Idaho is home to a variety of wildlife, including bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. Participants should be aware of potential dangers and follow safety guidelines provided by the outfitter. This may include carrying bear spray, hiking in groups, and properly storing food and garbage.
Leave No Trace
Idaho summer pack trips take place in pristine wilderness areas, and it’s important to leave no trace of your visit. Participants should follow “Leave No Trace” principles, which include packing out all trash, avoiding campfires in areas where they are not permitted, and respecting wildlife and natural resources.
Best Idaho Summer Pack Trips
Idaho is home to some of the best summer pack trips in the country, with a variety of routes and outfitters to choose from. Some of the best Idaho summer pack trips include:
Middle Fork of the Salmon River
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is one of the most scenic and iconic rivers in the country, and a pack trip along this river provides a unique and thrilling adventure. This trip typically lasts six days and covers 100 miles of pristine wilderness.
The Sawtooth Wilderness is a rugged and remote area in central Idaho that is perfect for a pack trip adventure. This trip typically lasts six days and covers 50 miles of stunning mountain scenery.
The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is a vast and wild area on the Idaho-Montana border that offers an incredible pack trip experience. This trip typically lasts seven days and covers 60 miles of remote and pristine backcountry.
Idaho summer pack trips are an incredible way to explore the wilderness, connect with nature, and experience a unique adventure. With a variety of routes and outfitters to choose from, there is a pack trip for everyone, from beginner to expert. Whether you choose to explore the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, the Sawtooth Wilderness, or the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.