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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).


SEE BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO GET TO STANLEY, IDAHO

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.

Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting Clearwater

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.

Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting Mountain 3

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.

Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting Wave

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. You can make your plans to spend the night in Salmon or continue on with your travel plans.

Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting Hike

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 flight from Stanley, Idaho for $160 per person .

Permit Holder and Trip Operator: ROW Adventures

Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting Camp 2
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Planning 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.


High Water Season: Begins in Stanley, Idaho

The high water season departures (typically June through July 22nd) will meet in Stanley, Idaho. Arrangements can be made for you at the Mountain Village Lodge, in Stanley. Contact us to make these lodging reservations.

Arrive in Stanley by 7:00pm MST to meet ROW's team leader at the Mountain Village Lodge 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).

CHOOSE HOW TO GET TO STANLEY, IDAHO

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.

AFTER YOUR RIVER TRIP
At the end of the trip, we return you to the Stagecoach Inn in the town of Salmon, Idaho by 5 pm where we encourage you to spend the night and rest up for your travels the following day. The Stagecoach Inn will be happy to provide transportation to the airport in the morning after your stay.

Low Water Season: Begins/Ends in Salmon, Idaho

The low water season departures (typically July 30th to end of season) will meet and end in Salmon, Idaho. Arrangements can be made for you at the Stagecoach Inn in Salmon. Contact us to make these lodging reservations.

Arrive in Salmon by 7:00pm MST to meet ROW's team leader at the Stagecoach 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.

CHOOSE HOW TO GET TO SALMON, IDAHO

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

2 - Fly to Boise, Idaho, rent a car, drive to Salmon.

3 - Drive personal vehicle directly to Salmon.

AFTER YOUR RIVER TRIP
At the end of the trip, we return you to the Stagecoach Inn in the town of Salmon, Idaho by 5 pm where we encourage you to spend the night and rest up for travels the following day. The Stagecoach Inn will be happy to provide transportation to the airport in the morning after your stay.

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Extreme Low / High Water Requires Additional Flight

On a typical year, the first 23 miles of the Middle Fork becomes too low to float by late July or early August. In this case, we use a backcountry air taxi service to fly all our guests from Stanley or Salmon to an alternative put-in point at a place called Indian Creek, where there is no road access. The additional expense for this flight (about $160 per person) will be billed to each trip member. The same situation sometimes occurs on early June trips due to too much water and/or the put-in road being closed due to snow. In any case, we still float for a scheduled number of days and none of your off-river travel plans will change.

 

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