Middle Fork of the Salmon River
WHY WE LOVE THIS ADVENTURE
100 MILES, 100 RAPIDS
Whitewater rafting this section of the Salmon River is an exciting trip through crystal clear whitewater with frequent, moderate rapids.
Hike to scenic side streams, Native American pictographs, and abandoned homesteads.
FLY FISHING EXPEDITION
Home to cutthroat, rainbow, and steelhead trout – this river provides world-class catch and release fishing opportunities.
HOT SPRING SOAK
Enjoy the ultimate relaxation when you reach one of the many hot springs along the Middle Fork for a scenic soak.
Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mule deer, black bear, otter, coyote, osprey, eagle, and more on this trip through pristine wilderness.
You will be guided through each step of this journey by experienced guides with knowledge of the river and region.
MIDDLE FORK of the SALMON RIVER
Middle Fork of the Salmon River Inquiry Request
Located in the heart of the second largest protected wilderness in the contiguous United States, the Middle Fork of the Salmon is the most famous section of Idaho’s Salmon River. On this trip, you will travel 5-6 days on over 100 miles of clear, free-flowing river from Boundary Creek to Cache Bar, descending 3000 feet through magnificent trees and breathtaking canyons. Over 100 rapids including Velvet Falls, Devil’s Tooth, Tappan, and Haystack lead into the legendary Impassable Canyon, making this section of the wild Salmon a premier alpine rafting experience.
This is not a tour; it’s an expedition!
A flexible, open attitude is a necessity. You will be immersed in the varying elements of nature. There is no set daily itinerary, electricity, or indoor plumbing. There is plenty of adventure, camaraderie, good food, and beautiful backcountry alpine scenery.
We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.
Trips begin in Stanley, Idaho. Transportation is provided by the outfitter to the river via a short scenic flight to the put-in (late season) or a shuttle to Boundary Creek put-in (early season).
The trip’s take-out point is just passed the confluence with the Main Salmon, and transportation via shuttle or bus to Salmon or Stanley, Idaho may be provided, depending on the trip and outfitter selected.
Most outfitters will provide all the camping and river related safety equipment, along with plenty of fresh food, non-alcoholic beverages, and snacks. There are some outfitters that will ask you to supply your own camping and sleep gear. Typically, these outfitters will also have an option to rent a camp/sleep kit for an additional cost. Transportation to the put-in point and take-out point from/to your start city is included.
Mid to late-June weather is typically in the mid 70’s°F during the day and around 55°F at night with occasional precipitation. In July and early to mid-August, daytime temperatures are around 80°F – 90°F, dipping down to the 60°F at night. This is also the driest time to raft the Middle Fork. Late August and September usually have sunny days with cooler nights and some precipitation possible.
Middle Fork of the Salmon River
The Middle Fork is an undammed, free-flowing river fed from snowmelt. June has exciting high water, but by late summer the river offers a more mellow float. You will encounter Class III and some Class IV rapids for a slightly technical, and very fun rafting trip. Water temperature on the Middle Fork is typically about 50°F – 65°F, a very pleasant warm river.
Boats & Group Size
Oar powered rafts are about 18 feet long and carry four to five guests plus the guide, who maneuvers the raft with a set of oars mounted on the raft. Paddleboats are 18 feet long inflatable rubber rafts. They carry six to eight people, and each person is responsible for paddling as a guide calls out the paddling commands. Paddleboats are a team effort boat and offer riders an intimate encounter with the river. When water levels are suitable, two-person kayaks let you challenge the rapids on your own terms.
Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, our outfitters are specialists in facilitating an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. Most outfitters provide a full sleep kit with a tent, sleeping bag, and inflated sleeping pad. Some outfitters will request that you bring your own sleep kit and camp equipment, or will have a package that you can rent for an additional cost. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled the next morning.
One thing is certain on a Middle Fork rafting trip: There will be plenty of food! A full, hearty breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch where you create your own sandwich. Dinners can be anything from a New York steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and beverages offered throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. With advance notice, all outfitters are able to accommodate for special dietary requirements.
Length: 3 – 6 days
Price: $1,600 – $3,100 per person
Season: June – September
Min. Age: 7 years during Low Water Levels; 12 years during High Water Levels
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Level: Strong
Overview of Middle Fork of the Salmon River