The Main Salmon – Idaho’s Best Kept Secret
Why The Main Salmon Should Be On Your Bucket List
With its annual presence on various bucket lists, the Middle Fork has achieved impressive international name recognition, leaving the mighty Main Salmon to fly under the radar, the unsung hero of the free-flowing Salmon River. While we feel like choosing between the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon is like being asked to choose a favorite child, we think the Main offers up an absolutely incredible experience that is just as special and scenic as the Middle Fork, just a bit lesser known. Check out why we think the Main Salmon is worth bragging about!
The Main Salmon is proof you can have pristine, white sand beaches without having a coastline. Whether you’re sleeping under the stars, lounging by the fire, or playing a round of Bocce ball, the gorgeous beaches on the Main Salmon are an incredibly enjoyable component of camp time, and of the river experience in general. Most camps have great eddys (slack water along the shore) for swimming, snorkeling, or practicing your SUP headstand. A great feature for water-loving kids and adults alike!
The Main Salmon River is a classic high volume western river, and the big water feel means fun whitewater for all. You can be at the front of the paddle raft, manning your own small craft, or simply riding along on an oar rig. The pool-drop nature of the rapids is great for those new to whitewater, and the fun waves mean great surf spots and awesome waves for the more experienced boaters. Plus, the higher volume means that the Main, unlike the Middle Fork, never gets rocky and bony, staying fun and splashy all summer long and into the fall.
Warm Weather and Water
Starting at just under 3000 feet elevation, the Main is significantly lower in elevation than the Middle Fork, meaning the weather tends to be quite a bit warmer than on Middle Fork trips. This applies to the water temperature as well. The Main Salmon is noticeably much warmer than the cooler waters of the Middle Fork. On average the Main is 10 degrees warmer than the Middle Fork, having traveled several hundred miles further since snowmelt!
Shore Exploration and Historical Stops
On our five night, six-day journey down the Main Salmon, we have several opportunities to explore some of the historical sites along the river banks. From the turret of the legendary Salmon River recluse Buckskin Bill, to the Campbell’s Ferry homestead, we will stop to see some of the historical sites, commemorating some of the people who have called the rugged wilderness of the Main Salmon their home. With excellent trail access, many of these sites are great places to begin or end a hike, gaining a unique perspective above the river.
Did we mention the Main also has hot springs? Seriously, what’s not to love! Whether you’re a Middle Fork veteran hoping to try something new, or you’re considering your first overnight rafting trip, the Main offers something for everyone. Having trouble deciding between the two? You don’t have to choose, we offer a Combo trip in which you can experience both rivers!
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