MIDDLE FORK OF THE SALMON RIVER- IDAHO
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho is the premier wilderness rafting trip in the US. It flows 100 miles of Wild and Scenic free-flowing river through the largest roadless wilderness area in the US thru a canyon that is deeper than the Grand Canyon. It has natural hot springs throughout the canyon, blue ribbon trout fishing, and more than 400 rapids grade I-III (IV in June). The Middle Fork of the Salmon is unspoiled, remote and roadless so you can be sure you will “get away from it all”. Simply put, it is the best river run in the West and perhaps the world.
Middle Fork River Expeditions, licensed and bonded outfitter, has run safe and well-managed river trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho for more than 3 decades. Trips are 4 or 6 days of exciting river rafting, wilderness camping, fine fishing, and adventure travel. Our equipment is specially designed for wilderness whitewater rafting, and offers mild and wild boat choices (oar boats, paddle boats, fly fishing drift boats, inflatable kayaks and stand up paddle surf 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. Join Middle Fork River Expeditions for a magical wilderness river vacation this summer!
Please arrive in Stanley, Idaho the night before the trip begins. Stanley is a 45-minute flight or 2 1/2 hour drive from Boise or a 1 hour drive from Sun Valley. We have a pre-trip orientation at the MFRE Warehouse is 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 lodging in Stanley is on your own. We have 14 rooms reserved under “Middle Fork River Expeditions” at the Mountain Village Lodge (800) 843-5475 for the evening before your trip and on day 6 of your trip. Please call them right away after booking your trip as they release the room block 14 days before the date. We also recommend the Sawtooth Hotel at 208-721-2459 and the Triangle C Ranch has cabins good for families (next door to MFRE warehouse) at 208-774-2266.
DAYS 1 ~ 3
We meet this morning at 8am and depart 1 ½ hours by bus to the river. Upon launching our rafts at Boundary Creek, 6000 feet above sea level, you’ll enter an enchanted forest of fir and spruce that scents the high mountain air. Sparkling clear waters careen through boulder-choked rapids with names that guides speak with reverence such as Velvet Falls, Pistol Creek and Tappan Falls. Stops at mountain hot springs and pioneer homesteads provide the perfect balance to the on-river excitement. Evenings find us relaxing by the campfire, playing horseshoes and listening to the river and watching for shooting stars!
*please note if water levels are low we may fly into Indian Creek, which an amazing flight and great way to start your adventure. The flight is included and the lower put-in point makes it a 75 mile river trip.
DAYS 4 ~ 5
As we drop in elevation, the river widens and the spruce forest opens to vistas of pine-studded mountains and we enter Impassible Canyon, where no trails can be cut as the sheer walls go up over 6,000 feet. Between rapids, you’ll drift quietly over deep pools of transparent water, home to native cutthroat and rainbow trout. Hikes underneath Waterfall Creek and up to Veil Falls are highlights for many of our guests.
The last day has some of the best and biggest rapids of the trip, which is a wonderful way to end a week in the largest wilderness area in the continental US. We drive back to Stanley, arriving between 4-6pm for the night before heading home in the morning. Tonight join an optional “farewell” dinner in Stanley which is on your own.
(overnight in Stanley is not included)
Dates (same dates every year)
June 2-5 ($1000 for 4 day “high water” trip)
June 11-14 ($1000 for 4 day “high water” trip)
June 29-July 4
July 31-Aug 5
Sept 9-12 (FISHING TRIP- Indian Creek to Flying B Ranch)
Sept 12-15 (FISHING TRIP- Flying B Ranch to Cache Bar)
Sept 18-21 (FISHING TRIP- Indian Creek to Flying B Ranch)
Sept 21-24 (FISHING TRIP- Flying B Ranch to Cache Bar)
Sept 28-Oct 1 (FISHING TRIP- Indian Creek to Flying B Ranch)
Oct 1-4 (FISHING TRIP- Flying B Ranch to Cache Bar)
4 day fishing trips are with 2 to 1 fishermen/guide ratio (maximum 12 fishermen/trip. We use 2 drift boats, and oar boats with stern mounted swivel seats for easy casting. All fishing dates can also be made into 6 or 7 day trips. Please call for details.
6 Day trip: $2000 ($500 discount for kids 6-11)*
4 Day Fishing trip: $1700*
* $4.00 per day FS Recreation Enhancement Act fee included
* 3% charge of the companies gross revenues are for a land use fee for operating on National Forest lands included
Please Note: If water conditions warrant a fly-in and/or a fly-out from the river, there will NOT be an additional charge of approximately $125+/person. In addition, all fishing dates require one or two flights in/out of the river these flights are included.
♦ ground transportation from Stanley, Idaho, to the river and back to Stanley after the trip
♦ meals from lunch Day 1 to lunch 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 camp clothing, one for sleeping kit (pad, pillow & sleeping bag) to meet you at camp and one smaller dry bag for items to have access to during the day like sunscreen, rain gear, camera etc.
♦ 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.
♦ flight into Indian Creek if needed ($125 value). Hard shell kayaks are $150/boat.
♦ all commissary equipment for meals and camp.
♦ all rafting equipment (life jackets, helmets, paddles etc.)
♦ all water craft including oar boats, fly fishing drift boat, paddle raft, inflatable kayaks and inflatable stand up paddle surf board (when river levels permit).
♦ MFRE mug and MFRE water bottle with carabiner to use and take home after trip.
Flights to/from Stanley, Idaho; Motel in Stanley for night before the trip and night the trip ends; insurance (we strongly recommend you purchase Travelex trip insurance offered by the Middle Fork River Expedi-tions website, which includes trip cancellation insurance); farewell dinner at end of trip; 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 Stanley, Idaho
There is commercial air service to Boise, Idaho. Then you have 3 options to get to Stanley.
1) Rent a car and drive (131 miles or 3 hours)
2) Shuttle Service with Caldwell Transportation (131 miles or 3 hours)
3) Fly (45 minutes) with small Cessna airplane
Drive: Rental cars – Budget, Payless, Alamo, Hertz, Avis. Cost around $300/week.
Shuttle: Caldwell Transportation- 800-727-9925- departs at 4pm from Boise airport and 7am from Stan-ley. Reservation must be made 48 hours in advance. Cost is $80/one way or $155 roundtrip.
Fly: Sawtooth Flying Services- 800-798-6105 or 208-342-7888. ~$300 Boise/Stanley per person round-trip.
Sun Valley Option: Another option is flying into Sun Valley (Hailey Airport) and take a taxi (~$150/van one-way) to Stanley, which is ~1 ½ hours north. It costs more to fly to Hailey than Boise but more con-venient. WR Taxi in Hailey- 208-788-TAXI.
Plan to arrive in Stanley, Idaho by early evening the day before your trip for our 7:30pm meeting at the MFRE warehouse, located ¼ mile west on hwy 21 from Mountain Village on the left hand side of the street, between the Triangle C Ranch and the Meadow Creek Spa. There are three wooden oars with MFRE on them at the driveway entrance. We will get acquainted and answer questions, and have a short orientation to show you how to pack the 3 waterproof bags 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 and Swiftwater Rescue Certified and licensed by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board.
Boats & Rapids
Middle Fork rapids are rated 1 to 4 on a scale of 1 to 6. You’ll run these rapids with the aid of experi-enced, professional, licensed guides. In our state-of-the-art whitewater rafts, you’ll run Velvet Falls, Pistol Creek, Haystack, Redside and Rubber rapids. 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 inflatable kayaks. We also have an inflatable stand up paddle board (ISUP) to paddle around camp and in some of the flatwater sections of the river. For Fly Fishing we bring one drift boat along to seek out those amazing fishing holes. We rotate into all boats and craft de-pending on one’s desires and the guides approval. We also use a large baggage boat called a Sweep Boat that runs ahead of our group to put up camp for when we arrive.
River Requirements: Minimum age is 12 in June, and 6 in July to September.
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 and visit hot springs during your trip. There are six hot springs to visit in the river corridor and we try to camp at or near at least one during our trip. Time and logistics permitting we hike to waterfalls, scenic grottos, Indian paintings and old miner’s cab-ins in a given day. The Middle Fork Trail runs 80 miles along the Middle Fork, so there is always the option to hike along the river as well from any camp.
We bring along a Mckenzie drift boat on most trips in July and August, and use a raft with fishing frame when the water get’s too low for the drift boat sometime in August. The Middle Fork is a fisherman’s paradise, a blue ribbon fishery and all fish are natives – Cutthroat Trout, Rainbows and Dolly Varden. Special fishing regulations protect the Middle Fork and help restore the fish population – (catch-and-release, no live bait, single barbless hooks.) The Middle Fork is the premier fishing experience. An Idaho State fishing license is required and may be purchased in Stanley, Idaho before the trip. Fishing is world class. The best fishing shop in Stanley is McCoy’s (208-774-3377) and you can purchase licenses, fly’s and all your fishing needs in one professional shop. Kids 14 and under can fish with no license.
For the September Fishing dates, all trips are designed for two fishermen/boat. We use 2 drift boats, and oar boats with stern mounted swivel seats for easy casting. All fishing dates can also be made into 6 or 7 day trips. Please call for details.
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 Middle Fork 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 visit our home page on our website for our menu. Vegetarian’s welcome and meat eaters alike! There are also always snacks available during the day.
We also recycle everything from the trips (glass, plastic, aluminum etc.), including food waste which is fed to pigs at a local farm and/or composted at the Stanley Community Garden. We also follow Leave No Trace Ethics for wilderness camping. Lastly, our guides teach you how to live off the grid for a week and do it with style and abundance!
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 75-90F and evenings 40-60F, 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 tops and 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!
Hope to see you in Stanley!