Main Fork Salmon River
Rafting: Main Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho
The scenic Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho (courtesy, Idaho Department of Commerce)
Main Fork Salmon River at a Glance
Price: $$$
River Rapid Class: III-IV
Trip in Miles: 40 to 80 miles
Trip Duration: 3 to 6 days
Season: June-October
Raft Types: Oar Raft, Paddle Raft, Inflatable Kayak, Dory
River Sections: Main
Nearby Towns: Riggins (ID), Salmon (ID), North Fork (ID), Stanley (ID)
Gateway City: Riggins (ID)
Driving Times: Missoula (MT): 3 hours; Spokane (WA): 5 hours

Early explorers dubbed the Main Salmon the "River of No Return," and today it flows through the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness in the continental United States, the 2.3-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. A trip down this river takes you into the heart of north-central Idaho's forested hinterlands, encompassing the foothills of the Sawtooth and Bitterroot mountains, pristine sandy beaches, and possible sightings of deer, elk, bears, and bighorn sheep (especially during the animals' spring and fall migrations between their winter and summer ranges). As if all that wasn't enough, you'll be cutting through the second deepest gorge in North America, dropping over 1,000 feet through more than 40 Class III-IV rapids. Reservations are recommended for summer rafting trips. Family day trips, through 12 miles of fun but not overwhelming rapids, are also available on the Main Salmon near Stanley, Idaho, with great views of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Published: 31 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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