• Middle Fork of the Salmon River

    Raft down the Middle Fork of the Salmon river on a deluxe camping adventure that’s simply BIG fun!

    Get ready for six days of pure fun! A journey down the Middle Fork of the Salmon is considered the premier wilderness adventure in the western U.S., a passage through history and tradition, drama and delight in the heart of the largest wilderness in the Lower 48. The Middle Fork was one of the original rivers in the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and is the centerpiece of the 2.2 million acre River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.

    best times to go: June - September

    departures: 5 scheduled datesview departures

    pricing: from $1,895 see detailed pricing

    The Continental U.S., Hawaii & Canada

Also great as a private trip. Call for details

Raft down the Middle Fork of the Salmon river on a deluxe camping adventure that’s simply BIG fun!

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Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is both a fun-filled ride down one of the world’s greatest rivers and an unbelievable voyage through time, where layered rock strata and shifting landscapes give way to riverside hot springs, pit dwellings once inhabited by the Shoshone people, and old Gold Rush homesteads that still leave their imprints today. It boasts more than 100 unforgettable rapids in 100 miles, 60 of which are Class III to Class IV in the early departures—a blast for amateurs and pros alike! MTS offers one of the best values for this trip, providing a deluxe camping and boating experience guided by Idaho’s strongest rafters. You can choose a new boating experience every day: relax on an oar boat, get wet with a team of paddlers, or captain your own vessel on one of our inflatable “ducky” kayaks. With afternoons spent fishing, relaxing in natural hot springs, hiking around camp, visiting ancient rock pictographs, and cooling off in the refreshing waters of Veil Falls, you don’t have to worry about being an expert—all you have to do is enjoy the ride. This is, quite simply, one of the greatest adventures of all time!

Mountain Travel Sobek is an equal opportunity employer and operates on the Salmon River under a permit with the Salmon-Challis National Forest.


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Rafting on Class II/IV rapids (Class II/III in August) on oar boats, paddle boats, inflatable kayak option. Easy to moderate day hikes; Minimum age is 6 (12 during high water— June departures).


  • Have a blast riding down one of the most thrilling rivers of the country, with more than 100 rapids over 100 miles, guided by MTS’ professional raft guides
  • Rated by National Geographic as one of the top 3 whitewater rafting trips in the WORLD
  • Choose a new boating pleasure each day: relax and enjoy the ride on an oar boat, get wet with a team of paddlers, or captain your own vessel on one of our inflatable kayaks
  • Dive into the history of ancient America as you ride through layered rock strata and changing landscapes, from the high mountains to the desert
  • Spend your afternoons fishing for trout, relaxing in natural hot springs, hiking around camp, visiting Native American rock pictographs, and swimming in the cool waters of Veil Falls
  • Don’t worry about being an expert! Bring your family and have fun camping in style with tents, delicious dinners, and hot showers all prepared for you

Duration: 6 days Start Location: Stanley, Idaho End Location: Stanley, Idaho

Download Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1 : Meet in Stanley, Idaho

    In the morning, we'll take a bus ride from Stanley into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. At Boundary Creek, you’ll meet our river guides for a safety briefing. After choosing an oar boat or paddle boat, you’ll encounter the first of the Middle Fork’s hundreds of rapids. In the late afternoon, arrive at one of the Middle Fork’s beautiful and pristine campgrounds for gourmet dinner and overnight.

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    Day 2 : On the river—Pistol Creek

    Pistol Creek rapid (Class III) provides an exciting jump start to the day. We'll stop at the Indian Creek Guard Station to learn about the area’s native inhabitants, the Shoshone tribe known as the Sheepeater. Then, it’s back into the boats to traverse Pongo rapid and coast into camp. If water conditions permit, we'll bring out the inflatable "ducky" kayaks today. At camp, relax with appetizers and wine, enjoy the company of your fellow trip members, take a hike, or browse our book library.

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    Day 3 : On the river—Sunflower/Loon Creek Hot Springs

    In the morning, sail through Marble Falls and Ski Jump rapids. The water then calms down making this a good day to fly-fish for cutthroat trout (catch-and-release only), or to take a refreshing swim. We may also stop at the hot springs at Sunflower or Loon Creek, where you can have a relaxing soak while you keep an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep. After lunch, a short hike to see Sheepeater pictographs, then more rapids before settling into camp for the night.

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    Day 4 : On the river—Tappan Falls

    Some of the Middle Fork’s most thrilling rapids await on today's 18 miles of river: Tappan I, Tappan Falls, New Tappan, and Aparajo. We're likely to observe bighorn sheep grazing along the shore or see bald eagles, osprey, herons, river otters, and black bears. In the afternoon, we’ll pass by Kaufman’s Cave, where a Scottish prospector named Clarence Kaufman lived for about four years.

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    Day 5 : On the river—Impassable Canyon

    Today you’ll coast into the Impassable Canyon, and the most spectacular scenery you’ve seen yet. We’ll also experience some serious whitewater: you’ll run rapids like Driftwood, Haystack, Bernard Creek, Earthquake, Jack Creek, and Goalpost. In the afternoon, you might make the steep hike up to Veil Falls, or visit the homestead of Earl Parrot, a hermit who moved to the banks of the Middle Fork in the early 1900s and stayed for about 40 years. Once at camp, you’ll be rewarded with a special last-night dinner and final campfire with your rafting companions.

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    Day 6 : Depart for home

    A final half-day of rafting with the biggest rapids of the trip: Foreplay, Rubber, Rubber II, and Hancock. After a thrilling morning, you’ll reach the confluence of the Middle Fork and the main Salmon River, where you’ll leave your boats behind and board a bus for the ride back to Stanley (about a 4 hours drive). We'll stop for lunch along the way and arrive by late-afternoon. NOTE: You will need to arrange accomodation in Stanley tonight.

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DATES: Best time to go: June - September Departures: Jun 14 - 19, 2015 Jul 9 - 14, 2015 Jul 17 - 22, 2015 Jul 25 - 30, 2015 Aug 10 - 15, 2015


2014 Prices
 $2,195 Six-day Trips
USFS recreation demo fee

2015 Prices
$1,895  (June 14 departures) 
$2,195 (all other departures)
USFS recreation demo fee

6-20 trip members

Mountain Travel Sobek is an equal opportunity employer and operates on the Salmon River under a permit with the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

  • George Butts

    George, Georgie, or Jorge as the Spanish pronounce it was born in the great hospital of Saint Ford Truck, in room number one. George’s fabulous parents found their way to secluded Challis, ID and raised their family there. He has been forever grateful to grow up around rivers and mountains and has taken advantage of all Challis had to offer including baseball, football, wrestling, soccer, hunting, fishing, skiing and, almost forgot, rafting the gorgeous Middle Fork of the Salmon River! His first adventure down the Middle Fork was on his tenth birthday with the eldest brother. He learned the ways of the water and discovered his first love, driving sweep boat. (AKA the Scow). Both brothers were following in the footsteps of their mother, who was the first women sweep boat driver on the Middle Fork! Eleven consecutive birthdays on the Middle Fork later, and other rivers conquered, George’s greatest enjoyment is still driving Sweep Boat on the Middle Fork. Recently he graduated from Boise State University and enjoys his time exploring what his home state of Idaho has to offer and playing music with friends and family.

  • Taylor Wilcox

    Taylor is another second generation river guide. His dad guided in the Grand Canyon on the Colorado during college. Taylor first rafted the Salmon when he was 5 and was hooked ever since. Growing up next to the Potomac river in Maryland, Taylor kayaked and spent a lot of time around the river. He started guiding on the Salmon after moving to Utah to go to collage. Now he splits up his year between rafting the Middle Fork in the summer, care-taking a Chalet at Alta in Utah and skiing everyday through the winter months, and traveling the world in search of the perfect hammock location.

  • Matt Jost

    Matt Jost grew up on the rivers in Idaho. During his early years Matt spent the summers with his dad on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River as well as many other rivers throughout Idaho. In 2009 Matt graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor’s in Entrepreneurial Management and will graduate in May 2012 with a Masters of Arts in Adult and Post-Secondary Education. When he is not guiding or working on school, Matt enjoys just getting out in the great outdoors. If he had to choose whitewater kayaking would be his activity of choice, however rock climbing, backpacking, and alpine skiing are close competitors. Among other activities, Matt enjoys traveling around the world in search of an adventure. His travels have led him backpacking throughout Europe, climbing in Thailand, running numerous rivers throughout Nepal and teaching a kayaking/leadership course in Chile. While adventures are great fun, the opportunity to teach outdoor skills is a true passion of Matt’s. Over the past five years Matt has been working as an outdoor educator within the university system. In the future he hopes to continue to teach outdoor education and explore more rivers throughout the world. 

photo credits: ©Chad Case, MTS Photo File


Itinerary for Middle Fork of the Salmon River

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Activity Ratings


Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.


More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.


Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.


Departure Dates

Jun 14 - 19, 2015 Jul 9 - 14, 2015 Jul 17 - 22, 2015 Jul 25 - 30, 2015 Aug 10 - 15, 2015

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Emeryville, California 94608

Toll Free:1-888-831-7526