Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Family Friendly Whitewater Rafting Adventure
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is a gem located in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness. The largest wilderness area in the Lower 48.
- 6-Days and right at 100 miles of World-class whitewater rafting with Class 2, 3 and 4 rapids
- Family friendly or high adventure depending on the time of year
- This float would be a great corporate trip or with a large group
- You will be in the Frank Church Wilderness Area for the entire float
- Amazing fly fishing
- Professional licensed guides
- Everything supplied, just bring your personal items
- Luxury primitive camping where you will soak in riverside hot springs along the river, and the gourmet river cuisine that will blow your mind
The Frank Church Wilderness is an awe inspiring place to get away from your phone, computer, and the rest of the “real world”. This trip has been described as “life changing” by many of our clients. The wild, free flowing Middle Fork of the Salmon River is located in the largest wilderness in the lower 48. If you float the entire Middle Fork of the Salmon, your whitewater float trip will be six days and over 100 miles long!
Whitewater is often the biggest concern when planning your vacation… and these concerns are valid. However, don’t be discouraged from enjoying what countless families described as the “greatest vacation they’ve ever experienced.” This Class IV Middle Fork of the Salmon River drops approximately 28 feet per mile, going from high alpine down to an overall warmer climate where you will float the 2nd deepest canyon in the Lower 48. For six fun-filled days, you will continuously witness dramatic changes in geology and scenery.
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River has over one hundred classified rapids with several of the highest being Class 4 and the rest being Class 1 to 3. The guides work hard to strike a balance between fun and safety. Traditionally, the highest water levels are late May and early June. This is the time to come for the big water.
Our experience has been that after the trip, our clients best memories are usually the guides, food, fishing and scenery. The whitewater is a secondary bonus for most guests.
If you want a “mellower” trip come later in the summer. By the end of June the water levels have usually dropped considerably, but there is still plenty of action. Many of the rapids are actually more fun at lower levels.
Bring your family. It’s more than just whitewater
Your Middle Fork of the Salmon River wilderness adventure is more than whitewater. This float can make for an incredibly relaxing family vacation. It has something for everyone in the family. If you like to fish, the flyfishing for wild cutthroat trout is INCREDIBLE!
Or, maybe you are wanting to do something amazing with your significant other… there are numerous hot springs along the way and they can make for the perfect soak for the two of you.
Depending on the dates and potential water levels, children from ages four and up are welcome and even encouraged. This is an amazing family vacation. There are swimming holes everywhere, as well as ancient native American history. Kids love to explore the canyon for pictographs left behind by the Sheep-eater Indians.
The Fishing is Superb
The Middle Fork of the Salmon is famous for its fishing. Catch and release literally hundreds of wild Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout, Juvenile Salmon and Steelhead, and whitefish. You can fish from the boats, camps, or the many stops we make throughout the day. If you are just learning the art of fishing, the guides are willing and knowledgeable instructors.
You will be fishing for Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Whitefish which range from 4-18 inches in length. All fishing on the Middle Fork is catch and release.
Fly fishing or spin casting equipment are both acceptable. You must fish with artificial fly or lure with a single barbless hook. Lures with treble hook must have 2 hooks removed and flatten barb on the third. For flies you only have to flatten the barb.
A good guide is what will make or break a trip, and this outfitter has the best guides around. First and foremost, they are there to keep you safe on your adventure.
They are licensed boatmen with whitewater rescue and first aid training. But aside from that, they are ideal hosts, fun, gracious, great at navigating whitewater, helping you fish, have exceptional outdoor culinary skills, and not to mention great story tellers.
Your safety, comfort and fun are their first priorities. For a wilderness experience, you will be surprised how comfortable your guides will keep you during your float.
Food and Lodging
You will have all of the amenities you need. Primitive, yet comfortable tent camps on sand bars along the river. You will be surprised how comfortable they make them.
Your guides will create dishes that will blow your mind. It doesn’t seem possible to cook such great food in such a remote, rugged atmosphere and over an open fire.
Your job on this trip is to relax, enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer and have a great time.
The outfitter uses excellent equipment, self-bailing rafts, and well trained, extremely qualified guides. They have an excellent river safety record.
The outfitter runs a “cargo boat” called a Sweep boat that carries most of the gear. It goes ahead while you are having fun in the rapids with your friends and family. When you arrive at the camp spot for the night, camp will usually be set up and dinner will be started.
The outfitter provides everything except for your personal items. A gear list will be provided upon booking your trip.
The Middle Fork is teeming with wildlife, including: Bighorn sheep, moose, elk, mule deer, bears, wolves, and many smaller animals including the always popular river otter. A bird watchers paradise, you will see a multitude of birds as well.
Early Season – (May through mid June)
Peak Season – (late June through mid August)
Late Season – (late August through September)
During the Peak Season we offer six-day trips. Shorter trips are offered on early and late season dates.
*The Forest Service allows only 24 guests per launch. If you have specific date requirements you will need to book early.
Your Adventure Begins in Beautiful Stanley, Idaho
Usually, your group will gather on the evening prior to your float in the beautiful mountain town of Stanley, Idaho. The outfitter will meet you for a pre-trip orientation and to give you dry bags for your gear at the local sporting goods store.
Most guests stay the night at the conveniently located Mountain Lodge in Stanley. At 8 the next morning, you will meet a bus that will take you to Boundary Creek which is where you will begin your wilderness rafting vacation.
You will put in at Boundary Creek. At Boundary Creek, you will be given a river use orientation by the U.S. Forest Service followed by a river safety orientation given by the outfitter. All guests will be issued a life jacket and required to wear it all times while floating the river.
Trip Reports for this Outfitter