Idaho’s rivers access some of the most pristine and untouched terrain in all the US, slicing through the 4.7 million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, the largest in the country. It is home to abundant flora and fauna, an impressive network of hiking trails, and some of the country’s best whitewater. No river displays all these characteristics quite like the Main Salmon’s River of No Return. Free-flowing Class III whitewater that’s great for any age and experience level, big sandy beaches perfect for camping and playing, beautiful mountain scenery, abundant wildlife, and natural hot springs are among the hallmarks of the Main Salmon. You will also meet 2-3 couples that live on the river year round and have wonderful stories to tell about living in the wilderness. The early river runners called the Salmon River the “River of No Return” because the rapids precluded upstream travel, but the Salmon is in fact a river you’ll want to return to time and again.
AWARD-WINNING NATURE-BASED ADVENTURES SINCE 1980
Middle Fork River Expeditions has been in business for over 30 years and that is no accident. Great trips on the Middle Fork and River of No Return are the recipe for this success. Always focused on our guests and their vacations, it is our genuine belief that river trips and nature-based adventures are extremely valuable life experiences. With that as our foundation, we have committed ourselves over the years to providing the best trips available, always with an eye on improvement.
Trips are 6 days of exciting river rafting, wilderness camping, fine fishing, and visiting historic home-steads along the way. Our equipment is specially designed for wilderness whitewater rafting, and offers mild and wild boat choices (oar boats, paddle boats, inflatable kayaks and stand up paddling surf boards!). We also bring along one or two 18’ wooden whitewater dories on most departures. Our river guides are seasoned professionals, licensed by the state of Idaho and First Aid Certified. They are expert river runners, magnificent cooks, great storytellers, and knowledgeable, helpful outdoorsmen.
Join Middle Fork River Expeditions for a magical wilderness river vacation this summer!
MEETING PLACE: Stagecoach Inn, Salmon, Idaho (flight is $190 from Boise)
MEETING TIME: 7:30 PM, the evening before your trip
RETURN PLACE & TIME: Day 6: ~4pm arrival at Boise or Salmon by Cessna Airplane from McCall (included in trip price). Do not schedule flights before 6pm this day out of Boise.
RIVER RATING: Class I-III
RIVER MILES: 82 river miles
PUT-IN: Corn Creek
TAKE-OUT: Carey Creek
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 5 (12 at high water in June)
TRIP LENGTH: 6 days
Please arrive in Salmon, Idaho the night before the trip begins. Salmon is an hour flight from Boise, which costs approximately $190/person and can be arranged through Sawtooth Flying Service (800-798-6105). You can also fly to Missoula and drive 2 ½ hours to Salmon for the trip and we can then fly you back to Salmon after the trip to catch your flight out of Missoula. We have a pre-trip orientation at the Stagecoach Inn (208-756-2919) at 7:30pm the evening before the trip begins. We will get acquainted, answer questions, and have a short orientation to show you how to pack the waterproof gear bags we provide for your personal gear. Please note flight from Boise to Salmon and lodging at the Stagecoach Inn is arranged on your own. We will arrange all flights (included in price) from McCall to Salmon or Boise at the end of the trip.
We meet at 7:30am at the Stagecoach Inn for a ~ 2 hr bus ride to the Corn Creek put-in for the River of No Return. 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, 3200 feet above sea level, we journey into the pristine heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. The fishing is excellent for novice and experienced anglers alike. On trips in July and August, warm air and water temperatures encourage frequent refreshing dips in the river. Evenings find us relaxing by the campfire, playing horseshoes and listening to the river and watching for shooting stars!
DAYS 2 ~ 5
Each day brings new discoveries: exciting rapids like Salmon Falls, Big Mallard and Growler, historical sites such as Buckskin Bill’s homestead and Jim Moore’s place (maybe you’ll find the fortune he buried in the hillside!), and the much anticipated Barth Hot Springs. Avid hikers may enjoy a challenging climb to Rabbit Point, where the beautiful views are well worth the effort of getting there.
We float for 5-6 miles this morning to the take-out at Carey Creek around 9am. We depart by bus around 10am and arrive in McCall around 12:30pm for a 2pm flight to Salmon or Boise, arriving by 4pm. The cost for these flights are included in the trip price.
Dates (same dates every year)
June 27- July 2
July 29- Aug 3
Aug 30- Sept 4
$2000 (Kids 5-16 get $500 discount)*
* $4.00 per day FS Recreation Enhancement Act and 3% Forest Service Fee fee included
♦ ground transportation from Salmon, Idaho, to the river.
♦ ground transportation from take-out at Carey Creek to McCall, Idaho.
♦ flight on Day 6 from McCall to Boise or Salmon.
♦ meals from lunch Day 1 to Breakfast Day 6.
♦ expert leadership with seasoned professional river guides
♦ all camping equipment including 4-Man tents for 1-2 people & 3 dry bags, one for clothing, one for sleeping equipment and the other for smaller items to have access to during the day.
♦ rectangular sleeping bag, 2 pads (one 1” Ridgerest and one 1 ½” Therma-a rest), pillow
♦ rain gear tops and bottoms.
♦ wetsuits or various sizes for June and early July trips only.
♦ all commissary equipment for meals and camp.
♦ all rafting equipment, including oar boats, paddle raft, inflatable kayaks, drift and dory boats, and inflat-able stand up paddling boards (when river levels permit).
Transportation to/from Salmon, Idaho; Motel in Salmon for night before the trip; insurance (we strongly recommend you purchase Travelex trip insurance offered by Middle Fork River Expeditions, which in-cludes trip cancellation insurance); optional tipping to guides (10-15%+ of trip cost) depending on level of satisfaction.
Deposit: $500.00 per person, required for confirmed reservation.
Balance: Payable 120 days prior to launch date.
Deposits and final payments are refundable (less $150.00 service charge per person) if written notice is received 120 days prior to your departure date. With less than 120 days notice your monies are nonre-fundable. If Middle Fork River Expeditions must cancel a trip due to water levels, weather conditions, wildfires or other circumstances, your payment will be forwarded to a future date and not refunded. Cus-tom trips and groups of ten or more have a separate payment and cancellation policy.
Travel to Salmon, Idaho
There is commercial air service to Boise, Idaho. You can then fly (1 hour) to Salmon, Idaho, where our trips begins.
Flight Boise to Salmon: Sawtooth Flying Services- 800-798-6105 or 208-342-7888. The cost is ~$200 Boise/Salmon per person one way.
Driving Option: You can also drive to Salmon (6 hours from Boise or 3 hours from Missoula) we can fly you back to Salmon.
* Please note we will provide transportation from Salmon to the river put-in point on Day 1 and from Carey Creek take-out to McCall by bus on Day 6 and flight from McCall to Salmon or Boise. Please let us know whether you want to fly to Salmon or Boise this day.
Lodging is needed before your trip. We recommend:
Pre trip lodging – the Stage Coach Inn, Salmon, Idaho (208-756-2919) the day before your trip.
Please call them directly after you decide on a trip date or call us for help.
Plan to arrive in Salmon, Idaho by early evening the day before your trip for our 7:30pm meeting at the Stagecoach Inn. We will get acquainted and answer questions, and have a short orientation to show you how to pack the waterproof bags (one large for sleeping kit, one for camp clothes and one small one for on-river gear) we provide for your personal gear.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Middle Fork River Expeditions attracts gifted guides for whom leading trips is their passion. Middle Fork River Expeditions guides positively elevate your experience by being educators, companions, and the best of friends. Most MFRE guides have 10 or more years experience on rivers and all are First Aid Certified and licensed by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board.
Boats & Rapids
The Middle Salmon rapids are rated 1 to 3 on a scale of 1 to 6. You’ll run these rapids with the aid of ex-perienced, professional, licensed guides. Most guests ride in our oar powered self-bailing rafts. For the more adventurous we run a paddle boat, no experience required as your boatman steers at the stern while you and your newfound friends paddle. And when water levels permit (usually in July and August only) you can try out our single or 2 man inflatable kayaks. This year we are bringing along an inflatable stand up paddle board to try around camp and in some of the flatwater sections. We bring on some departures a 18 ft. wooden dory. We will rotate in/out of all boat types throughout the trip. Of course the Stand Up Paddle Board is optional!
River Requirements: Minimum age is 12 in June, and 5 in July and August. Please note, all participants must be able to swim, be in good physical shape and be able to self rescue.
Hiking & Hot Springs
There is plenty of time and numerous opportunities to hike during your trip. Among the river’s points of interest are the Golden Eagles nestled in the ledges above Little Squaw Creek; Barth Hot Springs where the early scow captains soaked their tired muscles; Campbells Ferry Pack Bridge; Jim Moore’s Place an early day prospector and trader; Lemhi China Bar where from 1882 to 1884 oriental miners worked this bar extensively and Five Mile Bar the home of the river’s most famous resident, “Buckskin Bill”.
The River of No Return has some great fishing opportunities. Fishing is for Cutthroat Trout, Rainbows and Small Mouth Bass. An Idaho State fishing license is required and may be purchased in Salmon, Ida-ho before the trip. Kids 14 and under can fish without a license. Spinners or Fly Rods work. It is not catch and release so we can eat the fish if you wish.
This is one of the best parts of the trip, to be lullabied to sleep by the sound of the river. We provide all camping gear for you, including sleeping bag, 2 pads, pillow, 4-man tent, rain gear tops and bottoms and all camp equipment. In the evening, we set up a camp and have chairs to relax in for meals. We bring along a wilderness porta-potty and place it in a private place with stunning views. We practice Leave No Trace camping ethics, so you are sure to learn a lot about this on the trip and be able to take some of these new skills home with you. The River of No Return is a very pristine river and there is no bathing allowed in the river and must be done above the high water mark with biodegradable soap. We do bring along a couple of sun showers for you to use if you wish.
We provide healthy and delicious meals, accompanied with lots of salads, fresh fruits and vegetables. We also use as much organic produce/products as is available in central Idaho. Our goal is to have you eat healthy meals so that you feel good and refreshed during the day with lots of energy for fun in this remote wilderness setting. If you would like a copy of our menu please call us. Vegetarian’s welcome and meat eaters alike! There are also always snacks available during the day.
Idaho weather can be variable and vigorous. So come prepared with warm and cold weather clothing. There is no such thing as bad weather if you bring the right clothing. Synthetics are best for layering and keeping you warm in all weather conditions. Weather during the daytime is 80-95F and evenings 50-60F, depending on the weather. All June and Sept trips are typically cooler at night and you must bring warm gloves, ski hat and long underwear synthetic bottoms.
• Large rectangular Sleeping bag (rated 20F)
• Thermarest sleeping pad and Ridgerest Pad- ~2” total
• Raingear (jacket and pants)
• 3 Dry Bags (1 for sleep kit, 1 for evening gear, 1 small for daytime gear)
• Kelty Gunnison 4.1 Tents (4 man tents for 1-2 people)
• Farmer John Wetsuit (when needed in June and July)
• Life Jacket (Type V)
• Helmet (Only for Inflatable Kayaks, Paddle Raft and Stand Up Paddle Board)
• All Water Craft and Commissary Equipment
• MFRE Mug and MFRE Water Bottle with carabiner – a gift for you!
• Towel or Sarong (good for sun and cooling off as well as easy to change clothes)
• Personal toiletry items
• Biodegradable soap (no soaping up in the river is allowed)
• Sunscreen lotion and Chapstick
• Sunglasses with retainer
• Sun hat
• Bathing suit
• Socks – 2 pair (1 cotton, 1 synthetic hiking)
• T-shirts – 2 (cotton ok for evening)
• Long sleeved shirts – 2 (one cotton for evenings and one sunshirt for daytime)
• Long pants – 1 (Jeans for evening)
• Shorts – 2 (one cotton for evenings and one synthetic for daytime)
• Underwear – assorted (cotton and silk)
• Jacket – Lightweight rain jacket (we provide one but good to have a camp jacket)
• Lightweight Fleece, puff ball or sweater
• Shoes – one pair for camp & hiking
• Shoes – one pair for daytime (Tekstra or Keens with toe coverage is good)
• Shoes- Flip Flops (optional- for drying out feet at camp)
• Fishing gear (rod in sturdy hard case)
• Fishing license (only if your fishing)
• Camera and spare battery
• Flashlight or headlamp (way better for getting into dry bags at night!)
• Ziplock bags – handy for small items or to isolate wet articles from rest of gear (optional)
• Olay face wipes or other brand for cleaning face (optional)