Salmon River Chamber of Commerce

PO Box 289 • Riggins, ID 83549
Phone: 208-628-3778

U.S. Highway 95, 45 miles South of Grangeville and 35 miles North of New Meadows.

Riggins’ roots began with the Nez Perce Indians and Yellow Bull, Little White Bird, and Black Elk, all of whom used the area as a preferred camping ground. In 1863, white men made their presence known when Mike Deasy happened upon the area and discovered gold. Although he didn’t immediately delve into the find, he returned a few years later to stake a claim. In 1893, he sold his claim and built the first house in the area where he, his wife, and five boys resided.

Around the same time, Charley, John, and Bud Clay moved to the area and developed an irrigation ditch to help with their intended mining endeavors. In 1894, the area’s population was sufficient enough to require a school, and fourteen local children began receiving instruction that year.

Meanwhile, Missouri native, John Riggins, established a ferry on Lightning Creek that traveled to the northern reaches of Riggins. In March 1901, John’s son, Richard (Dick), moved to the town site, established a post office, and became one of the fledgling town’s most respected businessmen. Serving as a stage driver, farmer, and freighter, Dick made significant contributions to the town’s development. Therefore, the town bears his name. Prior to this title, the area was known as Gouge-Eye, Clay, and Irwin Bar.

The town continued to grow when a wagon road was completed to the settlement in 1902. Hotels, houses, churches, and stores soon began to join Dick’s previously established businesses, and the town became a livestock and trade center for the surrounding mining towns. Today, the town is ranked as Idaho’s whitewater capital, and hundreds of thrill-seekers launch their Salmon River excursions from Riggins every summer. In addition, Riggins boasts convenient access to hunting, fishing, hiking, and other scenic backcountry adventures.