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Idaho Rafting
Middle Fork - Salmon River

The Perfect Middle Fork Vacation Itinerary

Among river runners, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is a legend. One-hundred miles of pure, clear, free-flowing river drop 3000 feet through the remote and spectacular River of No Return Wilderness, the largest roadless Wilderness in the lower 48 states. Natural and untamed, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River has shaped its course through a land so rugged that any attempts at settlement have failed.

Little remains of man’s brief presence other than prehistoric cave paintings and dilapidated log cabins dotting this land in Idaho. A Middle Fork Salmon River rafting trip draws visitors from around the globe to experience over 100 Idaho whitewater rafting rapids, fish clear alpine waters, relax in natural hot springs, hike to magnificent waterfalls, and camp in mountain meadows.

Middle Fork on the Salmon River Map

Day 0: Middle Fork »

Arrive in Stanley by 7:00pm MST to meet ROW's team leader at the Mountain Village Inn for a one-hour orientation meeting. We'll answer any last-minute questions and provide waterproof bags for your gear. Dinner on your own. You could schedule some time at the hotel's private hot spring (reserve when checking in).


Rafting the Middle Fork

Day 1: Middle Fork »

Meet the group at 7:30 am. A two-hour ride by bus to Boundary Creek begins the trip into the Idaho wilderness. Fir and Spruce fragrances fill the crisp forest air at 6,000 feet above sea level. After orientation, and loading of personal gear, you'll choose a raft (paddle boat or oar-boat) and climb aboard. The Middle Fork rapids come fast and steep for the first fifteen miles, coming in quick sequence. Enjoy a riverside lunch stop where you'll learn about caring for the wilderness environment. We arrive at camp about 4:00 pm, having traveled roughly a dozen miles the first day. Enjoy free time for fishing, reading, hiking or simple relaxation. Hors d'oeuvres are served about 6:00 pm and dinner around 7:30 pm. After dinner, enjoy the warmth of a campfire and the shared stories of life and the river.

Days 2 & 3: Middle Fork »

Freshly brewed coffee will greet your morning about 7:00 am. Enjoy breakfast, then break down camp and prepare for a day of spectacular scenery and fun. Visit a couple of pioneer homesteads during the first few days. Wildlife, miner's claims and bird watching are fare for the day. Scores of fun rapids fill the day as the river plunges through the steep mountain valleys. Sunflower Flat Hot Springs will be a welcome reward, with half a dozen pools above the river tumble over a cliff, creating the perfect natural shower. Settle into camp life again around 4:00 pm, enjoying your free time. Stargazers will enjoy being lulled to sleep after another delicious meal cooked by the guides.

Day 4: Middle Fork »

Rapids fill each day with excitement. Scan the shores for natural mineral licks, where big horn sheep are usually seen. Fishermen in the group will find the river stocked with trout, while birdwatchers may see falcons and golden eagles. A dip in Hospital Bar is mandatory if you want it's healing power. Tappan Ranch is a highlight of the day as well.

Day 5/6: Middle Fork »

One of the most dynamic rapids on the river, Haystack Rapid, is the challenge of the day. This rapid stands at the head of Impassable Canyon. Constricted by the narrow walls, the river becomes a wild bucking bronco, filled with whitewater action. Waterfall Creek is the reward of a steep hike into the Bighorn Crags. Find refreshment under the falls and finish cooling off with a jump in the river. Neck-bending panoramas greet the river traveler where the river has carved into the Idaho batholith – the largest single piece of granite in North America. A visit to Veil Falls- a grotto graced by the spirits of ancient pictographs will convince you that you are among some of the most incredible scenery on earth.

Learn of Impassable Canyon's legendary hermit- Earl Parrot- whose story is as tall as the mountain valleys themselves, adding yet another dimension to the lore of the Middle Fork River.

A sprawling sand beach several miles upstream of the confluence with the Main Salmon provides a place for the final lunch stop. At the takeout, gather your personal gear and board the waiting bus that will take you to the town of Salmon. After a shower and a change to fresh clothes, meet your guides for a hosted farewell dinner.

Please Note »

While this is a typical itinerary, every trip is unique. Water levels, as well as the campsites we are assigned by the U.S. Forest Service, vary week to week. This itinerary is meant to give you a snapshot of the trip but should not be considered an exact itinerary. *Extreme high water or low water trips begin at Indian Creek—requiring a 25-minute, $130 per person flight from Stanley, Idaho.

Permit Holder and Trip Operator: ROW Adventures

Before your Middle Fork River Rafting Vacation...

There are many travel options to consider in planning your Idaho rafting vacation. Simply give us a call and we'll arrange everything for you.
Where and When to Meet

Arrive in Stanley by 7:00pm MST to meet ROW's team leader at the Mountain Village Inn for a one-hour orientation meeting. We'll answer any last-minute questions and provide waterproof bags for your gear. Dinner on your own. You could schedule some time at the hotel's private hot spring (reserve when checking in).


1 - Fly directly to Boise, Idaho (BOI). Schedule a round trip air taxi from Boise to Stanley (pre trip) and from Salmon to Boise (post trip).

2 - Fly to Boise, Idaho, rent a car, drive to Stanley. Vehicle can be shuttled to Salmon, Idaho

3 - Drive personal vehicle directly to Stanley. Vehicle can be shuttled to Salmon, Idaho.

Where to Stay

Day Prior to Departure:
Stanley, ID
Mountain Village Lodge Corner of Hwy 21 & 75
Stanley, ID 83238

Last Day of Trip:
Salmon , ID
Stagecoach Inn
201 Hwy 93 North
Salmon, ID 83467

For your convenience, lodging reservations will be made for you at each hotel for the rate of $130 per person (based on double occupancy). Please note there is a single supplement fee of $130 to have 1 person per room.

After your Middle Fork River Rafting Vacation...

On the last day, we typically get off the river around 2:00 pm. Our trip will end at Cache Bar where a motor coach will return you to Salmon, ID by 5:00 PM

If you drove to Stanley and had your car shuttled to Salmon, it will be waiting for you at the Stagecoach Inn in Salmon.


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