Middle Fork of the Salmon River

The quintessential wilderness river trip

  • Length: 75 - 100 miles
  • Duration: 5 - 6 days
  • Difficulty: Class III - IV
  • Best Rapid: Rubber
  • Rec. Level: 1.5 - 8 ft
  • Put-in: Boundary or Indian Creek
  • Take-out: Cache Bar
  • Season: May - September

Inflatable Kayaks on the Middle Fork with ECHO River TripsThe Middle Fork of the Salmon River is America's premier alpine whitewater river. Trips wind through 75-100 miles of pristine Idaho wilderness featuring breathtaking scenery, crystal clear water, exciting rapids, natural hot springs, outstanding trout fishing and rich Native American history. You'll experience everything that makes a river trip a unique, adventurous journey.

The Middle Fork begins as a small, quick stream close to 6000 feet above sea level and increases more than five-fold in volume over its 100 mile course. The upper river flows through a tight canyon covered with Douglas fir and lodgepole pine. As your journey continues, the canyon opens and features ponderosa pine, sagebrush and mountain
mahogany, which are more typical of the high desert.

During the trip, you'll likely see elk, big horn sheep, river otters and osprey. There are some excellent side-hikes to enjoy including short jaunts to see waterfalls, Shoshone pictographs, hot springs or old mining shafts. The fly-fishing on the Middle Fork is particularly impressive and experienced anglers can catch 10 fish a day in the right

Impassable Canyon on the Middle Fork of the Salmon RiverThe last two days, you'll float on through the impressive Impassable Canyon, with almost vertical rock walls. You see the Middle Fork at its full strength here. The rapids are bigger and closer together. As the trip nears an end, you enter the Main Salmon and encounter Cramer, which is a relatively new rapid caused by a landslide in 2003. It provides the perfect end to the trip just above take-out at Cache Bar.

Trips on the Middle Fork vary greatly throughout the season as no dams regulate the flow. Early June is when the river is at peak flow, so you can run the full 100 miles in a quicker 4-day trip. Kayakers enjoy the river from June through early July. Families prefer July and August trips, when the weather is warmer and the flow is suitable for children. In late July or early August, the first 25 miles of the Middle Fork get too low to raft. At this point, which varies year to year, you will fly into an airstrip along the river and enjoy the last 75 miles of the river at a leisurely pace.

This is a spectacular area of the country and will provide a trip that will be remembered for a lifetime. As the river winds through the largest wilderness area in the contiguous United States, The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, you truly gain a sense of adventure away from modern life. Many people fall in love with the Middle Fork and return year after year to journey through this special canyon.

To book your trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River call Northwest Rafting Company at (541) 450-9855.