Main Salmon Rafting

6 Days
June - September
From $2,419
Categories: ,

Main Salmon Rafting

The Salmon River in Idaho is one of the longest free flowing rivers in the United States and cuts through a vast area of incredibly rugged Rocky Mountain wilderness – the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48. The canyon it creates is the second deepest on the continent and it has a timelessness and mountain grandeur that is matched by few rivers anywhere. It is one of the last big mountain rivers remaining in the world that is undammed and for 85 miles it is virtually untouched by modern civilization. It is a rafting trip of a lifetime, a multi-sport adventure, one of the world’s premier wilderness rivers, and an adventure that we are honoured to offer.

Known as the “River of No Return” by early explorers the Salmon is a big mountain river. It has big water with spring flows rivaling that of Colorado’s Grand Canyon and big, fun, roller coaster style rapids; a big, incredibly beautiful,  river corridor set in a massive wilderness with peaks rising over a mile above the river; huge sandy beaches shaded by towering pine and fir trees ; big side creeks full of trout – creeks that would be called rivers in many parts of the world; a long history full of big personalities, characters, and stories; a ton of wild life including Big Horn Sheep, Black Bear, and Bald Eagle; and most importantly it offers a big authentic wilderness experience.

Despite its size, history, remoteness, and early nickname the Main Salmon River is incredibly friendly and comfortable and is perfect for river rafting no matter your experience. It features warm summer days lasting until nearly 10 in the evening, cool nights perfect for sleeping under the stars, water perfect for swimming, natural hot springs to soak in, perhaps the best beach camping anywhere, world-class trout fishing, a ton of hiking, and whitewater that is exciting yet safe. People have said that it feels wild, untouched, and rugged but at the same time comfortable, forgiving, and almost luxurious – a journey that combines a perfect beach vacation with the solitude and beauty of a vast wilderness and the excitement of a mountain whitewater river.

The whitewater features big water wave trains punctuated by calm green pools. It is fun and exciting, but great for almost any age level. You have the choice of sitting in relaxing oar boats, participating in more exciting paddle boats, or navigating the whitewater in an inflatable kayak or a stand up paddle board (this adds a big level of excitement to the rapids).

The options for each day can turn the trips into a multi-sport adventure for those interested. The river is perfect for inflatable kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. There are both mellow and epic hiking options and there is world-class trout fishing.  It is not uncommon to have a group leave together in the morning, split for hiking, fishing, or a stop at one of the historic wilderness homesteads, and then come back together as they float into the evenings camp to tell the stories of their day.

Idaho’s Main Salmon is one of those rare river trips that is ideal for the seasoned whitewater connoisseur, someone wanting to make the jump from shorter wilderness trips like Oregon’s Rogue River, or for complete first timers looking for their first river trip or an amazing vacation. The trip can be enjoyed by those wanting high adventure, those wanting a very active trip, and those just wanting a beautiful lazy vacation. Our salmon trips range from groups of families to college buddies to chartered private trips and it is not uncommon to have trips enjoyed by three generations of family or friends.

6 Day Main Salmon Rafting Trips

Overnight camping trips are an incredible way to fully experience the amazing qualities of the Salmon, nature as a whole, and the people you are with. Most are surprised by the quality of the food, the overall comfort, and the many intangibles that characterize extended time on the river. We are extremely proud of our comfortable camping in wilderness places. As with all our overnight trips the camping on the Salmon is deluxe and the food is excellent and served in a dining room where the sky is the ceiling.

The relaxed pace of the 6-day allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the experience, with time for activities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, beach games, and just lounging around. We spend the days floating down river, the evenings on large sandy beaches, and the nights under the stars. We fall asleep to the sound of the water gliding by and the anticipation of all that will come from the next day.

Please arrive in Salmon, Idaho the night before the trip begins. Salmon is a 5-hour drive (75 min flight) from Boise and a 2-hour drive from Missoula. Please see section below on getting to Salmon. We have a pre-trip orientation at the Stagecoach Inn (208-756-2919) at 8:30pm the evening before the trip begins. We will meet on the lawn next to the Salmon River to get acquainted, answer questions, and have a short orientation to show you how to pack the dry bags we provide for your personal gear.

Lodging at the Stagecoach Inn is arranged on your own (not included).

Day 1: 
We meet at 7:30am at the Stagecoach Inn for a 2-hour bus ride to Corn Creek, the put-in for the Main Stem of the Salmon River. We will stop after 45 minutes to get last minute items (fishing licenses, beer, sunscreen etc.) at the North Fork Store. Upon launching our rafts at Corn Creek we journey into the pristine heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. We will encounter Killum, Gun Barrel and Alder rapids today, which are all fun class III wave trains. This river calls to adventure seekers, who can choose between the paddle raft, inflatable kayaks or stand-up paddleboards, or you can ride comfortably on an oar raft in our luxurious “Queen of Sheeba Couch” to take in the scenery. The fishing is fun for novice and experienced anglers alike. The warm air and water temperatures encourage frequent refreshing dips in the river and we often find guests in calm sections floating next to the rafts. Evenings find us enjoying delicious dutch oven delights, relaxing by the campfire, playing horseshoes or bocce, listening to the guides sing and play guitar and star gaze.

Days 2-5: 
Each day brings new discoveries: exciting rapids like Black Creek, Bailey, 5 Mile, Split Rock, Big Mallard, Elkhorn and Growler rapids and historical sites such as Yellow Pine Bar, Campbell’s Ferry, Buckskin Bill’s homestead and Jim Moore’s place (maybe you’ll find the fortune he buried in the hillside). We also visit Barth Hot Springs, known as the best hot spring in the Pacific Northwest.

We may stop and visit with several families that live along the river year round and they will share their stories of living “off the grid” in the wilderness and take us on a tour of their homesteads. We may visit with Sue and Greg Metz at Yellow Pine homestead, or Campbells Ferry homestead or Five Mile Bar, the home of the river’s most famous resident “Buckskin Bill”. There are abundant hiking options up many of the side drainages. We may hike up Indian Creek to visit rare and historic thousand year old Yew trees, also called the immortal tree, which the plains Native Americans used to make longbows from the wood by cutting longs strips down the trunk. Hikes up Chamberlain or Bargamin Creeks give you another perspective of the river or hike up to Rabbit Point for amazing views.

Day 6:
We float for about 10 miles this morning and run challenging rapids like Chittam and Vinegar Creek and arrive at the take-out at Carey Creek around 10am. Please see section below on “last day of trip” for logistics today.

Departure Dates:

2023
June 27-July 2
July 5-10
July 13-18
July 21-26
July 29 – August 3

August 6-11
August 14-19
August 22-27 – With musician David Roth*($2,699)
August 30 – September 4

5 Day Fall Trips
September 7-11 – With Musician Keith Greeninger ($2,699)
September 9-13 ($2,299)
September 13-15 – 3 Days ($999)
September 14-18 – With Musician David Huckfelt ($2,699)
September 17-21 ($2,199)
September 30 – October 4 ($2,199)

2024
June 6-9 – 4 Days($1,799)
June 12-17
June 19-24
June 27 – July 2

July 5-10
July 13-18
July 21-26
July 29 – August 3

August 6-11
August 14-19
August 22-27
August 30 – September 4

5-day Fall Trips ($2,299)
September 7-11
September 9-13
September 15-19
September 17-21
September 23-27
September 25-29

October 1-5

2025
May 31 – June 2 – 3 Days ($1,599)
June 5-10
June 12-17
June 19-24
June 27 – July 2

July 5-10
July 13-18
July 21-26
July 29 – August 3
August 6-11
August 14-19
August 22-27
August 30 – September 4

5-Day Fall Trips ($2,299)
September 7-11
September 9-13
September 15-19
September 17-21
September 23-27
September 25-29

October 1-5

Trip Length: 6 Days
Trip Price:

2023 & 2024 6-Day Trip: $2,419 / $1,919 (Youth)
2025 6-Day Trip: $2,499 / $1,999 (Youth)
(Meet in Salmon Idaho and end in McCall Idaho. This is the itinerary only includes transportation from Salmon to the River and from the river to McCall – we will help you to set up a shuttle for your vehicle)

Trips Include:
♦ ground transportation by bus from Salmon to the river Day 1
♦ ground transportation by bus from the take-out at Carey Creek to McCall on Day 6. Unless it’s Sept which we have guests fly out at Mackay Bar Ranch (Mile 55 instead of mile 81)
♦ meals from lunch Day 1 to lunch Day 6
♦ expert leadership with seasoned professional river guides who are Wilderness First Aid and Swiftwater Rescue certified
♦ all camping equipment including 4-man tents for 1 or 2 people, large rectangular 20F sleeping bag, 2” sleeping pad and camp pillow
♦ 3 dry bags: one for camp clothing, one for sleeping kit (pillow & sleeping bag) and one small dry bag for items to have access to during the day like sunscreen, rain gear, camera etc.
♦ all commissary equipment for meals and camp
♦ all rafting equipment (life jackets, helmets, paddles etc.)
♦ all water craft including oar boats, paddle raft, inflatable kayaks and inflatable stand up paddle board (when river levels permit- usually early July)
♦ mug to use and take home after trip

What’s Not Included?

Getting to Salmon, Idaho; Stagecoach Inn in Salmon for the night before the trip (~$180); optional car shuttle from Stagecoach Inn in Salmon to McCall (~$400/car plus $50 gas); optional flights from Boise to Salmon (~$220/person) or McCall to Boise (~$200/person); Sept flight from Mackay Bar Ranch to Boise or Salmon (~$225); travel insurance; tipping to guides (10-20%+ of trip cost) depending on level of satisfaction.

Please note:
The number of visitors allowed each year is extremely regulated, because of this dates tend to fill up very quickly.
– 10% off for groups of 10+ people
– Additional Costs: $4 per day Recreation Enhancement Act Fee

Build Your Own Trip – Private, custom, and charter trips available!  Call for more information!

Youth Price: from $1,919
Deposit: $600

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