Middle Fork River Expeditions

Travel & Lodging

Frequently asked questions Middle Fork Salmon River

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Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Travel to Stanley, Idaho

There is commercial air service to Boise, Idaho, then you have 3 options to get to Stanley.

  • Rent a car and drive (131 miles or 3 hours) Followed by Shuttle to Salmon.
  • Van Shuttle Charter Service with Sawtooth Transportation (131 miles or 3 hours)- ~$750/van
  • Fly (45 minutes) with small 5 and 9-seater airplanes . This will necessitate and open jaw ticket Boise to Stanley and Salmon to Boise on Day 6.

Drive: Rental cars – www.rentalcars.com has great prices. Cost around $300/week.

Shuttle: Sawtooth Transportation- (208) 869-2536. ~$750 Boise to Stanley in 15 passenger van.

Fly: Sawtooth Flying Services-(208) 634-7774. Or Gem Air at 208-756-7382 ~$225 Boise/Stanley per person round-trip. Boi/Stanley and Salmon/Boise flights are ~$500/person. Please call in advance to reserve these flights.

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 convenient. Wood River Taxi in Hailey- 208-788-TAXI.

Travel at the End of the Trip

For Day 6 logistics, you will need to either shuttle your car from Stanley to Salmon or arrange a flight from Salmon to Boise. We arrive at the take-out around 10am on Day 6. We depart for Salmon by 11am and arrive by 1-2pm. We have guests make a sack lunch this morning to have with them along the way. We will first stop at North Fork, Idaho after 1.5 hours and drop guests to their cars that are headed to Montana. We will continue on for 30 minutes to Salmon and stop at the Stagecoach Inn to drop people at their cars.

Contact the Stagecoach Inn (208-756-2919) direct for rooms for this night.

Our last stop will be the Salmon Airport for guests with flights out to Boise. Extra luggage will either stay in your vehicle which is shuttled, or if you are flying to Stanley- your extra luggage can be placed in our truck that meets us at the take-out.

Flight from Salmon to Boise: Please arrange your flight to depart at 3pm and do not make your flights out of Boise homeward before 6pm. To arrange a flight from Salmon to Boise or Salmon to Stanley contact Sawtooth Flying Service at 208-634-7774 or Gem Air at 208-756-7382. Cost is around $250/person Salmon to Boise.

Vehicle Shuttle: To arrange vehicle shuttle from the Mountain Village Resort overflow parking lot in Stanley (they charge $5/day to keep your vehicle there- do for 2 days as it can take a couple days for the shuttle company to pick up) to Stagecoach Inn Parking lot please arrange with River Shuttles at www.rivershuttles.com/shuttle-reservation. There is a drop box for your vehicle key and registration at the Mountain Village Resort. Please place one key in envelope and one key in your personal belongings or note on form you just have one key and to leave key accordingly in a specified area or vehicle (front tire, gas cap etc.). If you are travelling to Montana after the trip you can shuttle your vehicle to North Fork, Idaho to save an hour driving time. Please see travel notes at end of itinerary for more details and how to book these arrangements. Again, you need to shuttle your vehicle from the Mountain Village Resort in Stanley to the Stagecoach Inn in Salmon to meet you at the end of the trip. Go to www.rivershuttles.com/shuttle-reservation to make a reservation. Please follow instructions on the form.

Main Stem of the Salmon River

Travel to Salmon, Idaho


Lodging is needed the night before your trip in Salmon. We will meet at the Stagecoach Inn (208-756-2919) at 8:30pm the night before your trip begins. The best rooms are on the riverside of the hotel and a little more expensive but well worth it.

At the end of the trip, the Super 8 in McCall (208) 634-4637 has clean rooms or the Hotel McCall (866-800-1183) is a more expensive and a very nice hotel. For Boise, we recommend the Best Western Vista Inn (800) 727-5006) which is right next to the airport and has a shuttle service. There is also a nice restaurant adjacent to the hotel for dinner. Please call them directly after you have signed up for the trip.

Travel to Salmon, Idaho

Guests are responsible for their travel arrangements to Salmon. Please make all required hotel/shuttle/flight/car rental reservations immediately after booking your trip.

There are two transportation options to choose from, driving or flying. There is commercial air service to Boise, Idaho or Missoula, Montana, then you can rent a car and drive to Salmon (5 hours from Boise or 2 hours from Missoula)  Alternatively you can fly from Boise in a small 5 or 9 seater airplane with Sawtooth Flying Service (800-798-6105) or Gem Air at 208-756-7382 which is ~$250/person.

If you are driving to Salmon, you can drive right to Salmon, Idaho either by personal car or rental car from Boise or Missoula airports. Please arrange with River Shuttles to shuttle your vehicle from the Stagecoach Inn in Salmon to McCall. The cost is ~$400/car and $50 gas deposit. Go to: www.rivershuttles.com/shuttle-reservation to make a reservation. Upon your arrival at the Stagecoach Inn, there is a desk with paperwork to fill out and an envelope to place your keys and place in a locked box for River Shuttles to pick up. Please be sure you bring 2 sets of car keys, one to leave with the shuttle company and one to bring with you on the river. If you have only one key, you must state on your paperwork you want the key left on the tire outside the car or in the gas cap otherwise they will assume you have an extra key and lock the keys in the car

  • If you are flying to Salmon, you can fly into Boise, Idaho and then take the flight (~75 minutes and $250) directly to Salmon, Idaho the day before your trip begins. You can contact Sawtooth Flying Service (800) 798-6105) or Gem Air at 208-756-7382 to reserve your flight. These are small 5 and 9 seater aircraft and it is a spectacular flight. When you arrive in Salmon, the Stagecoach Inn will pick you up at the airport and drive you to the hotel.

If you have questions about your travel arrangements, call MFRE and we are happy to help.

*Please note we will provide transportation from Salmon to the river put-in point on Day 1 and from the take-out to McCall on Day 6.

After The Trip

We will arrive at the take-out point at Carey Creek at approximately 10am on Day 6. We provide transportation (2 hours) from Carey Creek to McCall, Idaho, arriving by 2-3pm for flights (~$200) with Sawtooth Flying Service (800-798-6105) back to Boise or Salmon, arriving by 3-4pm. If you plan on flying out of Boise this day please book after 6:30pm. We recommend you stay the night in Boise and fly out the next day to avoid complications in flight connections after the trip.  We recommend the Best Western Vista Inn (800) 727-5006) which is right next to the airport and has a shuttle service. There is also a nice restaurant/brew pub adjacent to the hotel for dinner.

Sept Trips Only

For Sept dates we fly all guests from Mackay Bar Ranch to Boise or Salmon. This is at mile 55 instead of mile 81 on the river and usually done in 5 days and not 6. This is because the river by Sept is often low water and windy which makes it difficult to make miles. Flying out at Mackay Bar Ranch allows for a much more leisure pace and time to explore the most beautiful stretch of the canyon. Plus the transportation company stops running in Sept because their busses are used in local schools. We will send all guests a link for payment information 1-2 weeks before the departure and you can choose at that time where you wish to fly to either Boise or Salmon. Cost is around $250/person. We will fly on Day 6 at 10am arriving in Salmon or Boise around 12 noon. Do not book your homeward flights before 3pm today.

Tipping Guidelines

It is the Industry Standard to tip your guides 10-20%+ of the river trip cost. They all work so hard and with a wonderful attitude too.  MFRE pays our guides the best in the industry but tips really do help a lot with guide retention and part of the reason we have the best guides in the industry.  Also, we understand people’s finances vary and you can ultimately tip what you feel is best for you.   The best way to tip is to make out a check for “cash” and give it to your trip leader.  That way, you don’t need to carry a lot of cash and not have to deal with Venmo or Paypal.  Remember to only write check to “cash” right before you give it to the Trip Leader otherwise anyone can cash it.  The trip leader then distributes the tips equally amongst the guides.

We hope to see you this summer on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River or the Main Salmon River in Idaho.

Waterfall Creek Middle Fork Salmon River

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