Float the Middle Fork of the Salmon River
The wild, free flowing Middle Fork of the Salmon River is located in one of the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48. If you float the entire Middle Fork of the Salmon, your whitewater float trip will be five or six days and up to 100 miles! For a wilderness experience, you will be surprised how comfortable your guides will keep you during your float. You will have all of the amenities you need. An added bonus is that the fly fishing is EXCEPTIONAL! You can catch and release hundreds of fish… literally.
- World-class whitewater rafting and fly-fishing.
- Class 2, 3 and 4 rapids on gin-clear water through canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon.
- Depending on when you go, the Middle Fork can be an exciting whitewater adventure or a laid back, family-friendly river float.
- Soak in riverside hot springs
- Professional licensed guides
- Everything supplied. You just bring your personal items.
- Primitive, yet comfortable tent camps on sandbars along the river. You will be surprised how comfortable they make them.
- Gourmet river cuisine. 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.
- 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.
- June – August
- Arrive day prior, spend the night in Stanley.
- 5 or 6 Day Floats
- On the last day you will be shuttled back to Stanley where we recommend staying and leaving the next morning.
Pricing Provided Upon Request
If you haven’t already received pricing, please request it here, and be sure to reference the trip number at the top of this page. Please note that outfitters reserve the right to change pricing at any time, so if you are serious, lock in your dates and price with a deposit asap.
Once you leave Stanley, Idaho, the outfitter provides everything except for your personal items. You won’t be nickel-and-dimed at all throughout your trip.
- Trip Insurance
- Travel to Stanley, Idaho.
- Lodging and Meals in Stanley.
- Personal items (Suggested Gear List).
- Fishing gear (Fishing Gear List).
- Daily United States Forest Service (USFS) fee.
- Back-country flying if necessary.
- Gratuities for Staff.
The Frank Church Wilderness Area
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is a gem located in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness. One of the largest wilderness areas in the Lower 48. The Frank Church Wilderness is an awe inspiring place to get away from your phone, computer, and the rest of the “real world”. You will see cultural and historical sites, pictographs, the guides will tell you about the mining history, early settler history, you’ll learn about the Sheepeater War, swim, hike, run trails, experience stories around the campfire, there are inflatable kayaks and paddle boat opportunities, as well as deluxe fishing boat options. This trip has been described as “life changing” by many of our clients.
The whitewater on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is legendary.
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.
If you want a “mellower” family-friendly trip, come later in the summer.
Whitewater is often the biggest concern when planning your family 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.” 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. 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!
Children are welcome! 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 Sheepeater Indians. 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.
Blue Ribbon Fly 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.
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.
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.
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. Your job on this trip is to relax, enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer and have a great time. 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 storytellers.
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. They have an excellent river safety record.
The outfitter uses excellent equipment.
Self-bailing rafts, and well trained, extremely qualified guides. 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.
Your Adventure Begins in Beautiful Stanley, Idaho
Our trips usually begin and end in Stanley, Idaho. You will need to make your own room reservations in Stanley for the night before the trip begins, along with the night of your return back to Stanley at the end of the trip.
If you plan to fly commercially to Idaho, we recommend that you arrive in Boise. Local air taxis are available from Boise to Stanley and back.
Most guests stay the night at the conveniently located Mountain Lodge in Stanley. The Mountain Village Lodge holds enough rooms for our guests. If you decide to book with them you will need to tell them that you are rafting with Idaho Wilderness Company and secure your reservation.
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.
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. 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.
- Salmon Air Taxi – (208) 756-6211
- Middle Fork Aviation – (208) 879-5728
- Mountain Village Lodge – (208) 774-3661 or (800) 843-5475
- In-house restaurant and saloon
- Natural Hot Springs
- Week long parking for your personal or rented vehicle
- Storage for your luggage
- Airstrip shuttle
- Danner’s Log Cabin Motel – (208) 774-3539
- Jerry’s Motel – (800) 972-4627
- Practical Rent-A-Car – (800) 437-7136
- The larger car rental companies are also available from the Boise airport.