Middle Fork River Expeditions
Middle Fork River Expeditions

Travel & Lodging

Frequently asked questions Middle Fork Salmon River

Click here for FAQ (frequently asked questions)

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 ~$625 Boise/Stanley per person round-trip. Boi/Stanley and Salmon/Boise flights are ~$700/person. Please call in advance to reserve these flights. Gem Air is ~$200 less.

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


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. There are changing rooms here and outhouses to change into warm clothing for the ride back to Stanley. We drive by Motor Coach 5 hours hours to Stanley, arriving between 4-6pm. We will provide sack lunches for the ride and also stop along the way for a bathroom break.

Most guests stay in Stanley this evening. Those guests can empty the dry bags on their hotel room floor and place the empty Dry Bags on the Mountain Village porch for the Trip Leader to pick up right after arrival back in Stanley.

After a hot shower at your hotel, enjoy Stanley for a nice dinner on your own at the Sawtooth Hotel or the Kasino Klub or drive 10 minutes to Red Fish Lake Lodge. The next morning drive home or to Boise for flights after 12:30pm.

For those departing towards Montana after the trip you may want to have your vehicle shuttled (River Shuttles- www.rivershuttles.com) to North Fork Store, as this will save your 5 hours driving.   Or you may want to be dropped off in Salmon. If this is the case, we also ask that you pack an empty duffel bag on morning of Day 1 to be brought in our truck to the take-out at Cache Bar. This will save the group time as all your personal items can be put into your duffel bag from our dry bags at the Take-out point rather than the parking lot at North Fork or Salmon.

(Overnight in Stanley is not included)

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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