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Idaho’s Wild and Scenic

Middle Fork of the Salmon

Six Days of Exceptional Water and Wilderness

Middle Fork of the Salmon River

  • Length: 75 – 100 miles / 6 days
  • Season: June through September
  • Activities: Class III+ Rafting, Hiking, and World-Class Fishing
  • Minimum Age: 16 in June, 11 in July, and 7 in August
  • Includes: Professional guides, exceptional food, camping equipment, and flight into Indian Creek (if required)
  • Meeting Place: Stanley, Idaho
  • Trip Cost: $3095

Can't Say Enough Positive Things

NWRC staff made our first family river trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon memorable and fun. Our guides were thoughtful, kind, patient, professional... I can't say enough positive things about our experience!
- Katherine McMahon

BinocularsThe Middle Fork of the Salmon River offers one the best multi-day rafting trips in the world. Its well deserved notoriety is due to scenic alpine terrain, stream-side hot springs, cascading waterfalls, and the imposing sheer granite walls of Impassable Canyon. The Middle Fork carves a path through the second largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states, the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

When to Go Rafting

The Middle Fork has nearly continuous whitewater for the entirety of the trip. With no dams controlling its flow, the river changes character throughout the summer. Early season, when flows are the highest, is the best time to come if you are looking for a wild ride.

PaddleBy August, after the peak runoff, the river mellows (just a bit) to still-fun, but wider-spaced rapids. This is an excellent time for families, especially those with young kids, because the thrills are high for everyone and no one feels intimidated.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Whatever time of year you decide to come, a Middle Fork of the Salmon River rafting trip is an unparalleled wilderness rafting experience. Historic sites, including Native American petroglyphs and more recent mining and homesteading ruins, offer a captivating glimpse into the Middle Fork’s past.

Night SkyAs the sun sets, its canyon walls light up in brilliant colors. Away from civilization, the night sky is unlike any you have seen before. Alone any one of the amazing sights or adventures on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River will make your visit worth it. But combining them together creates a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness experience that will leave an impression on hearts young and old.

Located in Central Idaho, the Middle Fork is within driving distance of Boise and locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. It can also be reached from airports in Stanley and Salmon, Idaho or Missoula, Montana. Many traveling to the area combine their trip with a scenic drive through the nearby Sawtooth Mountains.

River Rhythm

Early season the river is fast and continuous for the the first 20 of the 100 miles. After that it eases up and gradually builds up again until the last two days which is full of great rapids. In late season, the river gradually gets more difficult each day, ending with the biggest rapids on the last day.

Off the Rafts

Hot Spring | Middle Fork of the Salmon RiverOff the rafts, there are many chances to explore by foot and immerse yourself in the surrounding wilderness. In camp, the guides prepare healthy food and assist everyone in finding the perfect home for the night.

Several hot springs offer a relaxing way to cap off a day on the move. Longer hikes to a few beautiful viewpoints are also available for anyone still looking for more action in their day.

Flora & Fauna

Black Hawthorn, Mountain Alder, Cottonwood, Ponderosa Pine. Cutthroat trout, deer, elk, bear, river otter, bald eagles, osprey, Big Horn Sheep, and if we’re super lucky we’ll see mountain goats.

Land Acknowledgement

Our trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River travel through the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Shoshone Tuka-Deka peoples (Mountain Sheepeaters). In particular, we travel through land ceded in the Treaty of 1879. We recognize current indigenous peoples and those who were removed from their homelands.

We are licensed by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board and operate under special use permit with the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Additionally, we are an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Trip Highlights

  • Soak in the numerous hot springs
  • Pictographs and homesites of the native Sheepeater Tribe
  • Homesteads of early western settlers
  • Jumping rocks
  • World-class rainbow and cutthroat trout fishing (all catch and release)

Quick Facts

  • One of the original 8 designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in 1968
  • Located in the middle of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
  • Bear Valley Creek and Marsh Creek come together to form the Middle Fork of the Salmon

Trip Reviews

Salmon Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 27 reviews.
5 1

Can't Say Enough Positive Things

NWRC staff made our first family river trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon memorable and fun. Our guides were thoughtful, kind, patient, professional... I can't say enough positive things about our experience!
- Katherine McMahon

A Superb Team of Guides

By far the best river trip I could have ever imagined. A superb team of guides, amazing food, top-notch gear and memories that will last me a lifetime. It was perfect in every way and I wouldn’t change a thing. We were so well taken care of. Thank you NWRC, for giving us the time of our lives!
- Coventry Merwin

The River is Awesome

The Middle Fork has three distinct phases of terrain ranging from alpine, to high desert to towering granite walls. Cold water, raging rapids, and hot springs present a mind blowing assault on your senses. Then there are the guides; expert in boating and wilderness cooking they are also full of personality and become instant friends. NWRC makes you want to come back year after year! They bring out the best in you and each of their guests.
- Mike Waters

Best Guides in Over 20 Trips

Not only were our guides professional, they were loads of fun & took great care of us old folks! Best guides we've had in over 20 trips!
- Peg Kavookjian

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Northwest Rafting Company – Salmon River

116 Monroe St
Salmon, ID 83467
(541) 450-9855