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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
  • Includes: Professional guides, exceptional food, camping equipment, and flight into Indian Creek (if required)
  • Meeting Place: Stanley, Idaho
  • Trip Cost: $2595/adult and $2445/youth

Trip of a lifetime

★★★★★
Just finished a 6 day trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon with Northwest Rafting. It was truly an amazing trip. Besides the spectacular scenery, Zach and his guides really made the trip. Not only were they were professional and put our comfort and safety first, they were really awesome people to hang out with. The food was great and there was plenty of good drinks (they even had fancy Scotch!) It really felt like a trip you went on with your friends or family. They all shared great stories about the history of the river. There were kids on the trip and they were really great with them too. I can't recommend this trip or Northwest Rating more. I am definitely going to do another trip with them, probably on the Rouge River but maybe even the trip to Bhutan!
- Mark Sikes

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

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

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

Trout | Middle Fork of the Salmon RiverBlack 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.

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 21 reviews.
5 1

Trip of a lifetime

★★★★★
Just finished a 6 day trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon with Northwest Rafting. It was truly an amazing trip. Besides the spectacular scenery, Zach and his guides really made the trip. Not only were they were professional and put our comfort and safety first, they were really awesome people to hang out with. The food was great and there was plenty of good drinks (they even had fancy Scotch!) It really felt like a trip you went on with your friends or family. They all shared great stories about the history of the river. There were kids on the trip and they were really great with them too. I can't recommend this trip or Northwest Rating more. I am definitely going to do another trip with them, probably on the Rouge River but maybe even the trip to Bhutan!
- Mark Sikes

One of the best experiences of our lives

★★★★★
Truly was a bucket list trip that could not have been better executed by the whole crew. Really love how we become family. We are talking about a return trip in 2 years!
- James Benfield

Great Memories

★★★★★
Our rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River was fantastic. It was a great opportunity to spend significant time with my dad and his buddies and enjoy the unrivaled splendor of this wilderness. Zach, Brodie, and the guides made it a wonderful experience for everyone on the trip. They are true pros, and deeply committed to ensuring enjoyment on the trip and great memories after. Can't wait to do this with my sons soon!
- drew miller

Top-Notch Rafting Company

★★★★★
I went on a six-day Middle Fork Salmon trip with my family departing on August 20th, 2019. I'll start off with mentioning that I've grown up alongside my own family's whitewater rafting business on the American River in CA, so I have a lot of experience with outfitters and the whole rafting operation. There are always great rafting companies and ones that aren't as great, and Northwest Rafting is among the great ones. You'll struggle to find another owner who cares about his guests as much as Zach. He goes above and beyond to ensure everyone has a great time, and his guides are no different. The whole crew is hardworking, kind, and knowledgeable. Even though a few unforeseen hiccups occurred on our trip (that were not a result of any of the NWRC staff or guests), all the guides and Zach miraculously were able to power through the struggles and get everyone down the river with great attitudes and humor to boot. I am impressed at the teamwork the whole crew has and this was definitely the trip of a lifetime for me and my family. I know we will be back on the river with NWRC someday. Thank you!!!
- Laura A.

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Northwest Rafting Company – Salmon River

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