National Geographic Traveler dubbed the Middle Fork of the Salmon River one of the top three white-water rafting trips in the world. Spend six unforgettable days on the river, sliding down its chutes in the midst of true wilderness while cathedral-like stands of fir, pine and spruce rise on the canyon slopes above you. Follow in the footsteps of prospectors and hermits, exploring the biggest wilderness area in America’s lower 48, hiking and paddling along the way. Experience unparalleled access to amazing wilderness scenery, wildlife habitats and Native American rock art sites.
Enjoy six days of world-class rafting on one of North America's greatest rivers.
Hike to sparkling waterfalls, relax in hot springs, and visit Native American and Lewis and Clark sites.
Fly-fish in streams with a professional fishing guide, learning as you go.
Float through the dramatic canyons of an intact wilderness, spotting wildlife all along the route.
Activity Level: Easy
This trip is suitable for beginner and expert rafters; no previous experience is necessary. We will be paddling an average of 15 miles daily for 6 to 7 hours on Class II/IV rapids (Class II/III in August). Hikes are optional with the opportunity for more or less hiking depending on preference.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Boise, Idaho
Arrive in Boise, Idaho. Take the complimentary shuttle to your hotel and meet fellow travelers for a pre-trip orientation and dinner. Hotel 43 (D)
Day 2 — Indian Creek/Rafting Begins
Fly over the Sawtooth Range and into the Frank Church − River of No Return Wilderness. Land at Indian Creek and meet our river guides. Choose your boating experience for the day: either an oar boat, where a guide does all the rowing and you sit back and enjoy the scenery, or the paddle boat, where you paddle through the rapids under a guide’s captainship. Each day is a new adventure! Once on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, paddle Class II and III rapids between steep, wooded banks striped with traces of wildfires and the resulting fields of flowers. In the late afternoon, arrive at our comfortable campsite. (15 miles paddling, 6-7 hours) Camping along the Salmon River (B,L,D)
Days 3 & 4 — On the River: Raft, Hike, Fish
We spend two full days hiking and floating the gentler end of the river. The Middle Fork Trail runs parallel to the water for about 70 miles. You can choose to hike portions of this easy and lightly used trial or float downriver. Quiet waters allow us the chance to fly-fish for cutthroat trout off one of the oar boats (catch and release only) or to take a refreshing swim. Stop at hot springs en route, enjoying a soak while keeping an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep — they like to use the rocks around the hot springs as natural mineral licks. Heading downriver, we move from forest to high desert. Hike to cliffs decorated with Shoshone pictographs depicting dogs, sheep, humans and handprints in red. In the evenings, enjoy appetizers and dinner prepared by our guides followed by hot drinks and a campfire. Camping along the Salmon River (B,L,D)
Day 5 — On the River: Wildlife and Shoshone
Continue floating downriver today on the lookout for wildlife. Bighorn sheep, bald eagles, ospreys, herons, river otters and black bears all frequent the riverbanks. Although shyer, wolves and cougars also live in the region. We may also see evidence of past human habitation. Look for shallow circular depressions in the ground—the sites of former Shoshone dwellings. In the afternoon, pass Kaufman’s Cave, where a Scottish prospector named Clarence Kaufman built a door over the entrance and lived for about four years. Enjoy the sounds of nature and the river from our cozy camp. Camping along the Salmon River (B,L,D)
Day 6 — On the River: Impassable Canyon
Coast into Impassable Canyon and the most spectacular scenery you’ve seen yet. Granite cliffs loom over the water, with the sharp folds of the rock providing striking evidence of the canyon’s geologically violent past. Experience serious white water, running rapids like Haystack, Earthquake, Jack Creek and Goalpost. This afternoon, make the steep hike up to the icy waterfall of Veil Falls to enjoy a little respite from the heat. Back on the river, you’ll pass through more rapids and see the homestead of Earl Parrott, a hermit who came to the Middle Fork in the early 1900s and stayed for decades. Once at camp, you’ll be rewarded with a special dinner and a final campfire with your rafting companions. (15 miles paddling, 6-7 hours) Camping along the Salmon River (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Take-out/Sacajawea Center
This morning, tackle the biggest rapids of the trip, including Cliffside, Rubber and Hancock. After a thrilling morning, reach the confluence of the Middle Fork and the main Salmon River where we’ll leave our boats behind and continue on land. Stop at the Sacajawea Center for lunch and learn the story of the young woman who served as an ambassador for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Arrive in Salmon late in the afternoon in time to clean up and to join fellow rafters at a farewell dinner. (15 miles paddling, 6-7 hours) Stagecoach Inn (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Boise/Home
After breakfast at the hotel, fly back to Boise and connect to your flight home. (B)
Pricing starts at $2,900 per person, double occupancy. For a single room/tent, add $300. Airfare to/from Boise and airfare within Idaho are not included in the adventure cost. The group flight within Idaho is $395 (subject to change).
Group Size: 8–16
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.