Idaho Middle Fork of the Salmon River Rafting Tour

Epic Rapids, Historic Trails & Comfortable Camping


Crest more than 100 unforgettable rapids in 100 miles on this rafting adventure down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Get ready for a deluxe camping and boating experience, guided by Idaho's strongest rafters. Relax on an oar boat, get wet with a team of paddlers, or captain your own vessel on an inflatable kayak. Choose a new activity every day! Days are filled with relaxing in natural hot springs, hiking, fishing, visiting ancient rock formations and cooling off in refreshing waterfalls. This trip is a don't-miss experience for amateurs and pros alike. MT Sobek is an equal opportunity employer and operates under special use permit within the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

7 Days

From: $3,295

Crest more than 100 unforgettable rapids in 100 miles on this rafting adventure down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Get ready for a deluxe camping and boating experience, guided by Idaho's strongest rafters. Relax on an oar boat, get wet with a team of paddlers, or captain your own vessel on an inflatable kayak. Choose a new activity every day! Days are filled with relaxing in natural hot springs, hiking, fishing, visiting ancient rock formations and cooling off in refreshing waterfalls. This trip is a don't-miss experience for amateurs and pros alike. MT Sobek is an equal opportunity employer and operates under special use permit within the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Highlights


  • Have a blast on one of National Geographic's top-rated whitewater rafting trips, deep in the heart of Idaho's Frank-Church River of No Return Wilderness

  • Paddle or float to suit your activity level and choose a new experience every day

  • Camp in style with comfortable tents, delicious dinners, solar-powered hot showers, and relaxing camp chairs

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Idaho Middle Fork of the Salmon River Rafting

Start: Stanley, Idaho  End: Salmon, Idaho

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Itinerary


  • Arrive in Stanley, Idaho

    Day 1

    Arrive by 4pm to the quaint mountain town of Stanley, Idaho - set along the banks of the Salmon River. Meet your guides on the back lawn of the Mountain Village Resort for a 6pm welcome orientation meeting followed by a casual picnic dinner. Back to your hotel to pack up your river bags for the early start the next morning.

    Accommodation: Mountain Village Hotel

    Meals: Dinner

  • Journey to the Put-in at Boundary Creek

    Day 2

    Ride the bus to Boundary Creek in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and meet your team of river guides. Under their expert captainship you'll climb aboard the oar boat or raft, and set off to encounter the first of the Middle Fork's rapids: Sulphur Slide, Velvet Falls, the Chutes, and Powerhouse.

    In late afternoon, arrive at one of the Middle Fork's beautiful campgrounds with breathtaking views, natural hot springs, or trails to explore. Every night, you'll enjoy appetizers and a delicious meal prepared by the guides, followed by hot drinks and a campfire.

    NOTE: Depending on water levels, extreme high or low water levels may require that we change the put-in location from Boundary Creek to Indian Creek, located 26 miles further down the river. The Indian Creek put-in is accessible only by air. Therefore, in the event that we need to put in at Indian Creek, MT Sobek will arrange internal flights from Stanley to the Indian Creek Airstrip on day-2, for an additional fee. High water can typically occur in early to mid-June, while low water can occur at any point in July or August.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

    Activity: 6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

    Transportation: 2.5-hour bus transfer (40-minute flight if water levels too high or low)

    Meals: Lunch, Dinner

  • Get Started with Pistol Creek Rapid

    Day 3

    After breakfast, Class III rapid Pistol Creek provides an exciting jump-start to the day. After lunch, water permitting, inflatable "ducky" kayaks are available for thrill-seekers looking to paddle through the rapids on their own (available on all low-water trips)

    Make a stop at the Indian Creek Guard Station on the river's left bank to learn a bit about the history of the area, then it's back into the boats to traverse Pongo rapid and coast into camp around 5pm. You've traveled about 15 miles downriver today.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

    Activity: 6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore Sunflower/Loon Creek Hot Springs

    Day 4

    Marble Falls and Ski Jump rapids start off the day. The calm water that follows makes this a good day to fly-fish or take a refreshing swim. You may also stop at the hot springs at Sunflower or Loon Creek for a relaxing soak while keeping an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep.

    After lunch, take a short hike to one of the cliffs along the river that bear Sheepeater pictographs. Enjoy few a more rapids before pulling into camp after about 15 miles on the river.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

    Activity: 6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Ride the River to Tappan Falls

    Day 5

    The 15-20 miles you travel today offer some of the Middle Fork's most thrilling rapids, including Tappan I, Tappan Falls, New Tappan, and Aparajo. Look for bighorn sheep grazing along the shore as you paddle by, as well as bald eagles, osprey, herons, river otters, and black bears. You can also see shallow circular depressions in the ground on the riverbanks: the sites of Sheepeater pit dwellings.

    In the afternoon pass by Kaufman's Cave, where the Scottish prospector Clarence Kaufman lived for four years.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

    Activity: 6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Coast into the Impassable Canyon

    Day 6

    Today brings you into the Impassable Canyon, home to truly spectacular scenery: reddish-gray granite cliffs looming over the water, and sharp rock strata folds - the striking evidence of the canyon's geologically tumultuous past. Get ready to experience some serious whitewater through Driftwood, Haystack, Bernard Creek, Earthquake Jack Creek, and Goalpost rapids.

    After lunch, make the steep hike to Veil Falls, then back on the river, pass through Weber, Redside and Cliffside rapids and view the 1900s homestead of Earl Parrot. Back at camp, enjoy a special last-night dinner with champagne.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

    Activity: 6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Depart For Home

    Day 7

    While Day 7 is only a half-day of rafting (about 10 miles on the river) it offers the biggest rapids of the trip: Foreplay, Rubber, Rubber II, and Hancock. After a thrilling morning, reach the confluence of the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon River.Leave your boats behind and board a bus to Salmon for an late afternoon arrival at the Stagecoach Inn, where shuttled vehicles and keys will be waiting. A shuttle service will provide transfers to the local regional airport for any scheduled flights back to Boise.

    Activity: 3 hours/10 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

    Transportation: 4-hour bus transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Dates & Prices


  • 2023
  • Go Private
  • Go Custom
  • Inclusions

2023

Scheduled Dates


The earlier you book, the more choice of available dates you’ll have and once you book, your price is guaranteed.

  • Jun 04 - 10, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Jun 13 - 19, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Jun 22 - 28, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Jun 30 - Jul 06, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Jul 16 - 22, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Jul 24 - 30, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Aug 01 - 07, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Aug 09 - 15, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Available
  • Aug 17 - 23, 2023
    $3,295 price per person dbl occ
    +$250 single supplement+$24 park fees
    Check for Availability

Go Private

Go Private


Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private departure.

Choose from the selection of dates below for your group or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

*Private trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Call for Private Trip Pricing

800-974-0300

Take Over One of These Dates


Make Your Own Dates in These Months


Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure


Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.

When to start planning? Earlier is always better when designing a custom trip. More time allows for better availability of preferred accommodations, guides and your desired activities. Ideally, start the conversation with us at least 6 months before you want to travel. If you are looking for a custom trip that departs within three months, chances are greatly diminished in securing requested accommodations and the best guides.

*Custom trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit once an itinerary is agreed upon.

Start Planning

Inclusions

Price Includes


  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include


  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert


800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Your Guides


The best people to immerse you in a destination are the ones who live there, which is why we feature local Adventure Guides on our trips. Here are a few that you might meet on this adventure.

Kevin McDermott

Kevin McDermott

Kevin McDermott-a.k.a. "Thirsty"-has been guiding since he was 17 years old and has been an integral part of MT Sobek's Arctic rivers program for decades. His laid-back manner puts everyone at ease, and he has a wealth of knowledge about Arctic rivers. Although he normally spends his winter months in Colorado's Telluride ski area, he has climbed Denali three times, reaching the summit in 2000. Thirsty is a legend in the MT Sobek circle and endears himself to travelers with his expertise, calm demeanor, and sense of humor.

Andy Ambelang

Andy Ambelang

Andy was born and raised in the great outdoors of Montana. At the young age of 15, he launched his first trip down the Salmon River in Idaho and has never looked back! He spends his summers guiding down the Salmon before heading over to the Colorado River in springtime and fall to guide through the Grand Canyon. Internationally, he has led trips in Nepal, Ethiopia's Blue Nile River, and Madagascar's Mania River. In the off season, Andy works as a ski patroller at Montana Snowbowl and skis with his dog Dani every chance he can get.

Mandela Van Eeden

Mandela Van Eeden

Mandela was raised on a nature reserve at the southernmost point of South Africa, and in the mountains and open plains of Montana. Over her 15-year career as a full-time professional river guide, she has led trips in Montana, Idaho, New Zealand, Morocco, the Grand Canyon and Southern Africa. Mandela also works for the National Wildlife Federation to bring awareness to wildlife conservation, protect public lands, and drive clean water acts. Through films, creative storytelling, and her podcast “The Trail Less Traveled,” Mandela brings the many wonders of the outdoors to life.

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Arrive by 4pm to the quaint mountain town of Stanley, Idaho - set along the banks of the Salmon River. Meet your guides on the back lawn of the Mountain Village Resort for a 6pm welcome orientation meeting followed by a casual picnic dinner. Back to your hotel to pack up your river bags for the early start the next morning.

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Ride the bus to Boundary Creek in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and meet your team of river guides. Under their expert captainship you\'ll climb aboard the oar boat or raft, and set off to encounter the first of the Middle Fork\'s rapids: Sulphur Slide, Velvet Falls, the Chutes, and Powerhouse.

In late afternoon, arrive at one of the Middle Fork\'s beautiful campgrounds with breathtaking views, natural hot springs, or trails to explore. Every night, you\'ll enjoy appetizers and a delicious meal prepared by the guides, followed by hot drinks and a campfire.

NOTE: Depending on water levels, extreme high or low water levels may require that we change the put-in location from Boundary Creek to Indian Creek, located 26 miles further down the river. The Indian Creek put-in is accessible only by air. Therefore, in the event that we need to put in at Indian Creek, MT Sobek will arrange internal flights from Stanley to the Indian Creek Airstrip on day-2, for an additional fee. High water can typically occur in early to mid-June, while low water can occur at any point in July or August.

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After breakfast, Class III rapid Pistol Creek provides an exciting jump-start to the day. After lunch, water permitting, inflatable "ducky" kayaks are available for thrill-seekers looking to paddle through the rapids on their own (available on all low-water trips)

Make a stop at the Indian Creek Guard Station on the river\'s left bank to learn a bit about the history of the area, then it\'s back into the boats to traverse Pongo rapid and coast into camp around 5pm. You\'ve traveled about 15 miles downriver today.

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Marble Falls and Ski Jump rapids start off the day. The calm water that follows makes this a good day to fly-fish or take a refreshing swim. You may also stop at the hot springs at Sunflower or Loon Creek for a relaxing soak while keeping an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep.

After lunch, take a short hike to one of the cliffs along the river that bear Sheepeater pictographs. Enjoy few a more rapids before pulling into camp after about 15 miles on the river.

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The 15-20 miles you travel today offer some of the Middle Fork\'s most thrilling rapids, including Tappan I, Tappan Falls, New Tappan, and Aparajo. Look for bighorn sheep grazing along the shore as you paddle by, as well as bald eagles, osprey, herons, river otters, and black bears. You can also see shallow circular depressions in the ground on the riverbanks: the sites of Sheepeater pit dwellings.

In the afternoon pass by Kaufman\'s Cave, where the Scottish prospector Clarence Kaufman lived for four years.

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Today brings you into the Impassable Canyon, home to truly spectacular scenery: reddish-gray granite cliffs looming over the water, and sharp rock strata folds - the striking evidence of the canyon\'s geologically tumultuous past. Get ready to experience some serious whitewater through Driftwood, Haystack, Bernard Creek, Earthquake Jack Creek, and Goalpost rapids.

After lunch, make the steep hike to Veil Falls, then back on the river, pass through Weber, Redside and Cliffside rapids and view the 1900s homestead of Earl Parrot. Back at camp, enjoy a special last-night dinner with champagne.

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While Day 7 is only a half-day of rafting (about 10 miles on the river) it offers the biggest rapids of the trip: Foreplay, Rubber, Rubber II, and Hancock. After a thrilling morning, reach the confluence of the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon River.Leave your boats behind and board a bus to Salmon for an late afternoon arrival at the Stagecoach Inn, where shuttled vehicles and keys will be waiting. A shuttle service will provide transfers to the local regional airport for any scheduled flights back to Boise.

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Activity Level


This trip is rated activity level 2. Previous rafting experience is not necessary. However, you need to be in good physical condition. Since we are in a remote wilderness location. Each day, loading and unloading into the raft can be on sandy beaches or uneven rocky shores. It is a necessity that all travelers are stable and sturdy on their feet in uneven terrain.
Learn more about activity levels here.

Activity Snapshot

Day 2

6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

Day 3

6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

Day 4

6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

Day 5

6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

Day 6

6 hours/15 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

Day 7

3 hours/10 miles rafting Class II to Class IV rapids

Accommodations


A comfortable hotel in Stanley, followed by MT Sobek\'s deluxe riverside camps, with meals served around the campfire beneath the stars.

Mountain Village Hotel
Mountain Village Hotel

Begin your Middle Fork adventure in Stanley's Mountain Village Lodge, shadowed by the jagged teeth of the Sawtooth Mountain Range on the Salmon River. The comfortable guest rooms are well-appointed with modern amenities, fitting a mountain inn. You can also enjoy a cold beer at the Mountain Village Saloon with your fellow adventurers.

MT Sobek Camp-Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho
MT Sobek Camp-Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

Your Middle Fork camping experience includes five nights on the banks of Idaho's Salmon River, with full porterage and set up. Our dome-style tents are large enough to stand in, and include sleeping pads, and professionally laundered sleeping bags. You can even take a sun-heated shower after a day on the water. All camping spots are on beautiful beaches or plateaus next to the river, with fantastic views every day.

Weather


Summer daytime temperatures range between 60-90°F, and evenings between 40-60°F. June trips are cooler. Salmon River water temperatures average 58-65°F.

 
Jun
Jul
Aug
Salmon 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Salmon
78
48
85
53
84
51
Stanley 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Stanley
69
34
79
36
79
34

Know Before You Book


Itinerary
Actual itinerary routes vary from departure to departure depending on environmental conditions and group abilities. Please call for more details about each departure.

FAQs


When can younger children go on this trip?

When the water is low, this trip is great for families with kids as young as 6 years old. During June, the water level is too high for any kids younger than 16.

How many rafts, kayaks and paddle rafts will there be on the trip?

This will vary based on the number of people on each trip, but we will always have oar boats, inflatable kayaks and at least one paddle boat.

Will there be showers at the campsites?

We will have a small amount of hot water available in our camp shower each night, but don\'t expect a shower every evening. But the riverside swimming is always available.

What kind of river and camping gear is provided on this trip?

We provide large stand-up tents, thick sleeping pads, freshly laundered sleeping bags and a small pillow.

Is this a good trip for families?

This is an excellent trip for families! Highly recommended for young kids and grandparents alike!

What is the toilet situation at camp?

We will provide a portable seated toilet set up in a private setting at each campsite, with toilet paper and hand soap.

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Guest Reviews


"What an awesome group of guides in a setting that is like no other. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who likes the outdoors and wants to get disconnected."

Andrew G.
MT Sobek Guest, Idaho Middle Fork of the Salmon River Rafting

"My MT Sobek Middle Fork trip was outstanding in every respect. The river is stunning, beginning with its intimate canyon, flowing into a majestic riparian paradise! The guides' skills, knowledge, warmth and repartee were all top notch."

Diane P.
MT Sobek Guest, Idaho Middle Fork of the Salmon River Rafting