- Sample Itinerary
- Trip Details
- About the Area
- Getting Here
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho is one of the premier wilderness-rafting trips in the US. It flows 100 miles of Wild and Scenic free-flowing river through the largest road-less wilderness areas in the US through 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 road-less, so you can be sure you will “get away from it all”.
Our partner on this trip, Middle Fork River Expeditions, a 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. Their 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!). Their river guides are seasoned professionals, licensed by the state of Idaho and First Aid and Swift-water Rescue Certified. They are expert river runners, magnificent cooks, great storytellers, and knowledgeable, helpful outdoorsmen. Join us for a magical wilderness river vacation this summer!
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"I loved all the options that you provided on the trip. Oar boats, paddle rafts, drift boats, inflatable kayaks and even an inflatable surf board made each day a new adventure depending on what option I chose. You guys rock!"
"We had an adventure of a lifetime mostly because of your amazing guides. They were always there to help with a happy smile on their face. Not only were they all accomplished outdoorsmen, they cooked the best food I have ever had in my life. Maybe it was the views and the fresh air from camp that made it taste so good!"
"This river trip was the best vacation our family has taken together. It allowed us to connect as a family in a way that we could never had done had we done any other trip. It was so refreshing to not have all the distractions of modern life that make it harder and harder these days to connect as a family. We are excited to join you again 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 7:30 p.m. 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.
We meet this morning at 8:00 a.m. 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.
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 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. 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)
♦ 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 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
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
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 Expeditions 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 non-refundable. 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. Custom trips and groups of ten or more have a separate payment and cancellation policy.
Plan to arrive in Stanley, Idaho by early evening the day before your trip for our 7:30 p.m. 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
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 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 new found 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 flat water 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 depending 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 grotto’s, 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.
Camping – 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.
Food – 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.
Eco Focus – 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 75-90 degrees and evenings 40-60 degrees, depending on the weather. All June and September trips are typically cooler at night and you must bring warm gloves, ski hat and long underwear tops and bottoms.
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.
TRAVELING 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.
Idaho Rivers - Boise, Idaho
Air Service to Boise (BOI)
- Alaska Air 800-252-7522
- Allegiant Air 702-505-8888
- American Airlines 800-428-4322
- Delta Air Lines 800-221-1212
- Southwest Airlines 800-435-9792
- United Airlines 800-241-6522
Once in Boise most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting point in Salmon, Idaho. All rental cars are located at the Gowen Field Airport.
- Avis 208-383-3350
- Alamo 208-343-3217
- Budget 208-383-3090
- Dollar 801-575-2580
- Enterprise 208-381-0650
- National 208-383-3210
- Thrifty 208-342-3924
Boise to Salmon 250 miles
GEM AIR provides flights from Boise to Salmon, Idaho. Flights are available at any time for any number of people from 1 to 25. Call (208)-756-7382
Other destinations you can travel to Salmon, Idaho from:
Missoula, Montana to Salmon 140 miles
Idaho Falls, Idaho to Salmon 161 miles
River Shuttle Service:
• 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!
• 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 – 3 pair (1 wool, 1 cotton, 1 hiking)
• T-shirts – 2 (one cotton for evenings and one silk or lightweight wool for daytime- Icebreaker makes an excellent wool t-shirt)
• 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 – Puff Ball or other medium loft
• Lightweight Fleece 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)
•Early & Late trips- bring a ski hat and camp gloves, 2 pairs of Long Johns tops and bottoms. We provide neoprene socks and gloves for you.