Middle Fork River Expeditions

Middle Fork of the Salmon River – Idaho


The Middle Fork Salmon River is the premier wilderness rafting trip in the US. It’s gin clear water flows 100 miles of Wild and Scenic free-flowing river, through the largest roadless wilderness area in the US and in a canyon that is deeper than the Grand Canyon. It has half a dozen natural hot springs throughout the canyon, blue ribbon trout fishing, and more than 100+ rapids grade I-III (IV in June). The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is an unspoiled, remote and pristine wilderness much as it was 100 years ago or more. Named by National Geographic as one of the top 3 river trips in the world, the Middle Fork Salmon River will provide you with a vacation of a lifetime.

Please arrive in Stanley, Idaho the night before the trip begins. Stanley is a 45-minute flight or 3-hour drive from Boise or a 1-hour drive from Sun Valley. We have a pre-trip orientation at the MFRE Warehouse at 8:30pm the evening before the trip begins.  The MFRE warehouse is located next door to the Triangle C Ranch on Highway 21 in Stanley. We will get acquainted; answers questions, and have a one-hour orientation to show you how to pack the waterproof gear bags we provide for your personal gear. For rooms we recommend the Triangle C Ranch (208-774-2266) that has clean cabins good for families for the evening before your trip and on Day 6 of your trip. We also have priority pre-season bookings at the Mountain Village Lodge (800) 843-5475 from Oct 1 until Dec 31, after which they open to the public. Please mention you are with MFRE when you book prior to Dec 31 otherwise they will not allow you to book.

(Overnight in Stanley is not included)

DAYS 1 ~ 3

We meet this morning at 8am at the Middle Fork River Expeditions warehouse and depart 1-½ hours by bus to the river. You can leave your car parked at the MFRE warehouse in Stanley during the trip. Upon launching our rafts at Boundary Creek on the Middle Fork Salmon River, 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 such as Sulpher Slide, The Chutes, Velvet Falls, Powerhouse, 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 eating gourmet river meals relaxing by the campfire, playing horseshoes and listening to the river and watching for shooting stars!

*Please note – If water levels are low (usually early August depending on snowpack) we may fly in 5 and 9 seater airplanes to a lower put-in point at Indian Creek, which is an amazing flight and a great way to start your adventure. The flight is an additional ~$130/person (we will take credit card info or checks at orientation if needed) and the lower put-in point makes it a 75-mile river trip. Guests always say the flight into the river is one of the highlights of the trip. It also allows more time for hiking and exploring the canyon, and not have to get out of the rafts and push off of rocks on the upper section.

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 3,000 feet. This section of river is deeper than Grand Canyon. We will navigate fun whitewater such as Haystack, Bernard, Earthquake Rock, Jack Creek, Cutthroat Cove, Redside and Weber rapids. 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, including Rubber and Cramer Creek Rapids, which is a great whitewater crescendo finale for the week. We arrive at the take-out point at Cache Bar around 10am and end our journey on the Middle Fork Salmon River.  Drive by bus 1 hour for a picnic lunch at the North Fork Country Store. After lunch, we drive 3 hours to Stanley, arriving between 4-6pm. You can leave your car parked at the MFRE warehouse in Stanley during the trip. After a hot shower at your hotel, enjoy Stanley for a nice dinner on your own at the Sawtooth Hotel or the Casino Club or drive 10 minutes to Red Fish Lake Lodge. The next morning drive home or to Boise for flights after 12:30pm.

(Overnight in Stanley is not included)

Come join us for a vacation of a lifetime on the Middle Fork Salmon River!

Sweepboat on the Middle Fork Salmon River carries all the gear to camp.

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