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Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho

Idaho’s Wild and Scenic

Middle Fork of the Salmon

Six Days of Exceptional Water and Wilderness

6 Day Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trips

  • 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: $3395

When Can I Return?

After spending 6 days on the Middle Fork with Northwest Rafting Company I can attest not only to their professionalism and expertise but to their commitment to the well being of the river as well as their clients. Spectacular scenery, great people and NO sign of civilization for 6 days. When can I return to the River Of No Return?
- Robben Jones

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.

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 40 reviews.
5 1

When Can I Return?

After spending 6 days on the Middle Fork with Northwest Rafting Company I can attest not only to their professionalism and expertise but to their commitment to the well being of the river as well as their clients. Spectacular scenery, great people and NO sign of civilization for 6 days. When can I return to the River Of No Return?
- Robben Jones

What an amazing crew

They were so easy to be with, so absolutely conscientious about safety, so knowledgeable! I had the best time, and I'd follow these people anywhere. So much fun, so easygoing, I really can't say enough about the high quality and professionalism as well as the fantastic personalities. Thanks for hiring such wonderful people.
- Jamey Moore

Thanks for making this trip so special!

Northwest Rafting Co. is a really great company. The guides went over and above what we expected from them – very informative and always with an eye for safety. As Brits we were very pleased to teach them a few choice words too: loo, bonnet, hacked etc…. The rest of the group was lovely and we were so thankful that they included us. Even though it was only 6 days it feels like we've made lots of new friends for life! If you're ever in the UK let us know. On a more personal note from me - I wrote a poem last night to say thank you from all of us to all the guides: Ode to the River Guides We start off first with Connor with his long hair, Who has a funny tendency of exclaiming 'heck yeah!' Which, like my new American accent, I too have adopted - but, please, don't ask me to share. But seriously, though, in all sincerity, I have to say thank you for being my adventure day Mamma Ducky. With you this week, we've had so much fun, And not to mention your British accent is second to none (no offense Dan). And Katie, our Food Dude, our hardworking Foodzar, Who went shopping each night for our morning breakfast bar. But more than that, and most importantly, She's kind, she funny and it's clear to see She cares both for us guest but also her peers, So passionate and effortlessly entertaining; even after 11 years. Onto Brodie, our sweeper who we rarely saw, it's true. Yet, always a big smile when we pulled up at camp and a new story for you. A dog called Beans and an off-season job as a baker, Your skill and precision on this river makes you all the greater. And although your Chaser may have instead been a tug boat one time or two, It is evident you're a team player through and through. Natalie, my day one paddle boat guide, This trip the first of her season's river ride. Who, although always seemed to angle the boat to specifically get me wet, Was always a friendly face and tons of fun at the dish washing bucket. Her confidence and strength never failing to inspire, I am truly bummed we didn't manage to juggle without the light of the fire. Next we have Cody who, although looks initially intimidating, Has a heart of gold and a crazy sense of humor when you get to know him. Always on the lookout for fun and adventure, He also has some of the best jokes I ever heard for sure. Whether it be helping around camp, putting up tents or ramming our boat into rocks deliberately, He does it all with a grin on his face that's somewhere between daring and goofy. And now Ellie, this being her first and last trip of the season, And yet I'm sure you'll agree for an incredible reason. For very soon she'll be a doctor with her PhD, And we wish you luck as you continue on to world changing discovery. But as for this week, well what can I say? There was no joke that didn't land from you, no crazy adventurous game you would not play. Although we never got round to juggling lessons or riddles to share, This week would not have been the same if you hadn't been there. Lastly Dan, our leader who, without a fuss, Was somehow able to put up with us. With a big, constant and reassuring smile, This guy is always willing to go the extra mile. No problem to big, no need to small, Our brave leader was always there - so thank you from us all. And now, how to sum up this crazy, crazy week? It's been amazing, we'll miss it so much; but at least it won't be hard this evening to go to sleep.
- Taz Madan

Guides blew me away

The Guides blew me away with their knowledge of our surroundings, the river, their rowing and paddling skills, their passion for the river and their compassion for each guest. And the way they handled the kids and Duckies was insane! And they all cook so well they could open a restaurant! Can’t say enough about the caliber of the Guides and the entire Northwest Rafting Co.
- Robyn W

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Northwest Rafting Company – Salmon River

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