Middle Fork River Expeditions
Middle Fork River Expeditions

Darrell Scott Jam on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Aug 16-21, 2017

August 9th, 2017

Darrell Scott Jam is on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Aug 16-21, 2017, which is next week!  We had a last minute cancellation so there is one more space for a lucky person to join us!  Please contact us through our website at www.idahorivers.com and go to the “Contact Us” section of the website.  This is going to be a trip of a lifetime.  We hope to see you soon!

Go to http://www.darrellscott.com/event/darrell-scott-river-jam-salmon-river-idaho/ for more information.  

MFRE Named Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Winner!

April 16th, 2017

Yes we did it again.  MFRE Named Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence!

Middle Fork River Expeditions has been in business for over 60 years and that is no coincidence. MFRE was chosen as one of the top 3 river outfitters in the world by National Geographic Adventure magazine in 2008 and 2009. We focus on our guests experience to not just see the river from a distance, but to experience it intimately with the leadership of experienced guides. With over 70% of our guests as past clients or referrals from past river travellers we guarantee a world-class river adventure. Our mission is to allow river travellers the opportunity to unplug from modern society and reconnect to oneself, family, and friends through nature’s lens. This adventure allows you to have a digital detox from technology and reconnect to a more simple and fulfilling pace of life.   There is no Wi- Fi in the wilderness, but we promise you will find a much deeper connection.

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 paddle boards). Our river guides are seasoned professionals, licensed by the state of Idaho and First Aid and Swiftwater Rescue Certified. They are expert river runners, magnificent cooks, great storytellers, and knowledgeable, helpful outdoorsmen and friends.

Join Middle Fork River Expeditions for a magical wilderness river vacation this summer!

TripAdvisor 2016 Certificate of Excellence

Snowpack at 157% of Normal!

March 30th, 2017

With Snowpack at 157% of Normal, expect some awesome whitewater rafting this summer on the Middle Fork of the Salmon and Main Stem of the Salmon Rivers.  The SWE or Snow Water Equivelant is the highest it has been since 1013 when they first began records.  A lot depends on how the snow melts fort the watershed, but the rivers usually hit peak flows around June 1.  We have a June 2 launch which will be a lot of fun on some high water!!  Come join us!

Erik Weihenmayer kayaks the Salmon River with MFRE

February 28th, 2017

Come check it out and see his new book about kayaking the Grand Canyon a couple months after he kayaked with MFRE.

It was the most inspiring river trip I have ever been on in my entire rafting career.  He is an amazing man.  His family was along as well and we had the best time and the most fun. I will always remember my friend and co-guide Kelly McGrath mooning a jet boat on our last night while on the river and the jet boat turned around adn slid sprayed us with a huge wall of water that missed he prime rib dinner table by a foot.  We just missed a big disaster.  But Erik nailed every rapid on the trip.  He had the help of 3 other kayakers, one in front adn 2 behind.  The one in front would pick the line and the two in front would talk to Erik with an ear piece of where to brace and paddle.  It was amazing to watch.  We ran safety below the rapids.


yours for rivers, James

PS. Erik Paddling below past Black Creek Rapid.

Dutch Oven Cooking

April 7th, 2014

There is a skill to cooking with dutch ovens, and one needs to know the basics before becoming a pro with these dutch ovens.  The basic run down is you bake just like an oven, but place charcoal briquets on the top and bottom.  The usual amount depends on if it is aluminum or cast iron Dutch Oven, but usually 8-10 briquets on the bottom and 16-20 on top, depending on wind and air temp, will do the trick.

A good trick for making cakes is you place a soaked paper towel in Vegetable Oil on the bottom of the Dutch Oven.  Then place the cake mix in the DO, then put on the lid and wait til you smell the cake the second time, and then they are usually done.  Flip it out of the DO, let it cool and gently remove the paper towel and presto, you good to go.

Come join Middle Fork River Expeditions this summer and learn how to cook with Dutch Ovens.

We hope to see you on the river enjoying tasty DO meals every night.

Yours for rivers, Ellsworth

20080717_middlefork_1063 20080717_middlefork_1034

Five Must-Ask Questions When Selecting an Outfitter for a Family Whitewater Rafting Trip

March 15th, 2014

By Ciao Bambino!

A whitewater rafting trip with kids is one of the best active family vacations around. These trips are available around the world, so you may not have to travel far to join one. A bigger issue is deciding which company to trust for the experience. I’m using the word “trust” intentionally here. Whitewater rafting trips involve real risk and selecting the right outfitter is serious business.

Add kids to the mix and the decision is more complicated. Not all outfitters are created equal when it comes to ensuring that a trip is kid-friendly. We had a phenomenal experience rafting down the Main Fork of the Salmon River with Middle Fork River Expeditions. Our fun, safety, and comfort was 100% due to the quality of our outfitter.

I asked James Ellsworth, the owner of Middle Fork River Expeditions and a longtime rafting expert, for his suggestions about the must-ask questions when families choose a whitewater river outfitter. Here’s what he had to say:

1. How long have you been in business and what is the average of the years your guides have been guiding?
You want to go with an outfitter who has a track record and moreover, a company that uses experienced guides. Middle Fork River Expeditions’ guide average is 15 years.

2. Do you have a kid-friendly menu?
There are no other options outside the food that is provided on a rafting trip so it’s important to have a selection of adult and kid-friendly fare. Too gourmet doesn’t work and too simple means the parents will be bored with the food.

3. Do your trips cater to families?
Catering to families means having kid-friendly supplies and a game bag for camp, as well as having guides who understand that kids need special attention. A mix of younger guides is great for teenagers and guides should be excited to organize everything from freeze tag, musical chairs, i.e. fun for kids during the time off the river.

4. Do you provide everything for the trip, including all camping gear?
Middle Fork River Expeditions has extremely nice equipment from the rafts, to the tents, to the sleeping bags. They provide everything which makes it easy for families to participate without a long list of additional expenses. If you do plan to use sleeping bags provided by an outfitter, make sure they are washed after every trip.

5. Are you’re your guides swiftwater rescue certified?
Adequately trained guides are a must. Visit Wilderness Rescue International for more information.

Get More Tips Around Family Adventure Vacations
The Smart Parents Guide to Family Adventure Vacations is an excellent source for information on how and why to take an adventure trip with kids. Some of these trips are active and some just involve heading to remote destinations. Either way, our guide provides a great foundation to get the planning process started.

Ciao Bambino! is a leading family travel brand and global family travel planning website featuring curated family-friendly hotel reviews and a comprehensive family travel blog offering tips, news, and narratives related to traveling with kids of all ages.


River of No Return ~ Idaho’s Wild and Scenic Salmon River

February 11th, 2014

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.


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 MILES: 82 river miles
PUT-IN: Corn Creek
TAKE-OUT: Carey Creek
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 5 (12 at high water in June)

 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 20-25
June 27- July 2
July 5-10
July 13-17
July 21-26
July 29- Aug 3
Aug 6-11
Aug 14-19
Aug 22-27
Aug 30- Sept 4
Sept 7-12

$2000 (Kids 5-16 get $500 discount)*

* $4.00 per day FS Recreation Enhancement Act and 3% Forest Service Fee fee included
What’s 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).

What’s Not
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.

Cancellation Policy
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.

Expert Leaders
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.

We Supply
• Large rectangular Sleeping bag (rated 20F)
• Thermarest sleeping pad and Ridgerest Pad- ~2” total
• Pillow
• 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!

You Bring
• 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)

Ciao Bambino and MFRE

December 4th, 2013

Check out the article on MFRE in Ciao Bambino.



Enjoy your favorite water activities with expert guides at Middle Fork River Expeditions

June 7th, 2013

Enjoy your favorite water activities with expert guides at Middle Fork River Expeditions
Summary: the following article is written about a company that offers memorable trips down the Middle Fork & Salmon Rivers.

Many people love water sports and activities. Adventures like rafting, boating, fishing can be trips of a lifetime. However, safety and security should always be in mind when taking an outdoors trip. While taking a river rafting expedition, it is very important to get training so that you may reduce the risk of injury. While planning a river rafting trip, you need to do your research about the trip you plan to take. There are many factors to consider when taking an outdoor expedition including safety.

Middle Fork in Idaho is a place where you can enjoy your favorite water activities with friends and family. With Middle Fork River Expeditions, you will have a guide that will show you all there is to know about river rafting, safety and emergency training. We are completely licensed and offer valuable guidance to tourists who are visiting here.

If you also enjoy water sport activities, then we will surely help make your trip wonderful. You just need to contact us whether you are planning fishing or rafting trips on Middle Fork Salmon Rivers. We have a team of qualified guides who will take tourists on expeditions.

Some of the adventurous river activities for tourists are fly fishing trips, paddle rafting, drift boat fishing, inflatable kayaking, and stand up surfing. You can enjoy these activities in the great outdoors along with gourmet food. They are very thorough and experienced in river rafting and the above mentioned activities. Our team is very friendly and is always ready to show you a great time on the open river.

For any type of family rafting trips or fishing, you can contact us. We have years of experience and expertise. We are completely credible and licensed so you know you can feel safe while having a great time. For more details about our expeditions and activities you can enjoy, go to www.idahorivers.com .

Yours for rivers, Ellsworth

iMFRE River trips on the Middle Fork Salmon River

Grand Canyon of the Salmon River

May 16th, 2013

The Main Salmon River in the Wild and Scenic Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness should be changed to the “Grand Canyon of the Salmon River” as it’s canyon walls are deeper than Grand Canyon in Arizona and also the second deepest in all of USA. Only Hell’s Canyon is deeper. Main Salmon outfitters are currently coming out with a marketing strategy to give this canyon it’s true name, the Grand Canyon of the Salmon River.

For more details, visit this blog for updates.

Best, Ellsworth

Hen Wen on the Main Salmon River

Home | Dates & Prices | Cancellation Policy | Travel & Lodging | Pack Your Bags | About The River | Activities | Blog | Contact Us