The mighty Main. Welcome home. Sometimes overshadowed by the reputation of its little sister, the Middle Fork, the Main Salmon is one of the best kept secrets of river travel.
With some of the biggest white sand beaches nestled amongst granite outcroppings and deep Ponderosa forest, this un-dammed beauty of a river holds treasures of our past while dancing through the biggest roadless area in the lower 48.
Be prepared to fall in love. The Main has so many attributes that allow for a perfect river trip. It is classic western white water at is best. Flowing in a pool drop style, heading due west, the deep waters of the Main sooth the soul with their warm temperatures and welcoming beaches. The white water is friendly but juicy. And the richness of the stories created on these banks takes you back in time. It is the place where all of Central Idaho’s waters flow to. It is a natural gathering place and even today the Main is filled with modern day human history alive and well deep in the heart of Idaho. It is marked as the perfect place for multi generational trips. The warmer river temps bring about a sense of frolic and delight for nearly any age. And don’t get us wrong, there is plenty of thrilling whitewater along the way. Early Spring this is another kind of journey too. Flows can nearly triple that of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon and it can be a beast. But come the end of June and into the summer, this place gets friendlier, even more playful and ripe with fun. The wildlife like it too. Eagles and sheep seem to be omnipresent and most of our bear, moose and wolf sightings are along the banks of the Main Salmon. So dynamic from one end of the season to the next, the mighty Main Salmon will win you over. She is an old soul kind of river that nurtures you along the way. Be prepared to get a tan, some sand in your pillow, a collection of your own big water stories and a memory that connects you to the past on one very special free flowing river.
The Main Salmon River banks are graced with huge gorgeous white sandy beaches. The silky-smooth sand will caress your fingers and toes as you relax in your chair and take in the magnificent scenery. They are a perfect venue for all types of activities such as making sandcastles, playing beach games or treating your body to some stretching, yoga and meditation. The temperate climate and warm sun make for excellent sunbathing. And the proximity of the beaches to the river provides prime real estate for camping. A beach recipe to rest, relax and rejuvenate.
The Main Salmon River in its journey from its high altitude headwaters, warms significantly throughout the summer months, making for wonderful swimming and playing opportunities. While floating down the river, occasional flatwater beckons play. Try your skills at stand up paddleboarding (SUP), engage in water fights or jump in for a swim. Large Eddys (calm water) along the shore at lunch stops and at camps, provide a perfect playground for splashing and frolicking. Marvel in the clarity of the clean clear water. The Main Salmon’s warm water is perfect for all-day play, for kids and adults alike.
The Main Salmon has high volume class III-IV rapids, with deep water and fun waves. With its pool and drop nature, there is ample time for preparation and recovery! Roller coaster style rides through fun splashy waves are fun for everyone. Various classes of rapids throughout the trip, allow for all abilities to try different crafts. With straight forward runs through the rapids and guides at the ready to offer assistance and tutelage, the Main Salmon is a perfect place to explore new crafts. Try your skills at inflatable kayaking, SUPing or paddle boating. This stretch is also great for beginner/intermediate hardshell kayakers (previous experience required).
Multiple tributaries enter the Main Salmon River every day, adding volume to the river flow and offering beautiful scenery. Historic trails accompanying many of the side streams, providing fabulous hiking opportunities. Quaint swimming pools, beautiful cascades, and tranquil spots invite you to take some alone time, paint, write, daydream or revel in the wonders of nature. Originating high in the mountains the cold, clear and crisp creeks host native trout populations, enticing the avid angler. Lush beautiful botany such as ferns, moss’ and a wide variety of flowers and trees inhabit the banks and provide abundant habitat for wildlife. Close your eyes and experience the therapy of these gurgling side streams.
The Salmon River drainage hosts a wide variety of wildlife. Big game animals such as Moose, Elk, Mule Deer, and Big Horn Sheep roam the hillsides. Mountain Lions, Wolves, and Fox prowl throughout the forest. Foragers such as Black Bear, Skunks, Squirrels, and Chipmunks rummage through the bushes. River Otter and Minks scurry along the banks and swim up and down the river. Various water Fowl like Mergansers, Mallards, Teal, and American Dippers flit about. Bald Eagles, Red-Tailed Hawks, Falcons, and Osprey patrol the river corridor while Bull Snakes, Rattle Snakes, and Garter Snakes patrol the ground. The Wilderness is alive with wonderful creatures!
The Main Salmon has a fabulous natural geothermal hot springs that bubbles and flows straight out of the rocks. A sizable man-made soaking tub that can hold up to 20+ people sits high up on the hillside with a beautiful view looking down upon the river. The hot springs water provides therapeutic properties that relax your muscles, revitalize your skin, and ease your mind. The temperatures suitable for all, with a special hot hose for those who like to turn up the temperature a bit. Enjoy Mother Natures spa in a magnificent setting.
Hundreds of miles of trails that were left behind by the 19th-century miners, provide endless possibilities for hikes, walks and exploratory missions. There are daily opportunities to hike on well-maintained trails, to chase game trails or to bushwhack through the wilderness. You can choose to venture across hillsides, hike up ridges, check out historical sites, meander along creeks and streams, or engage in aerobic hikes up to astounding vistas and overlooks. The Salmon River drainage and its ever-changing landscape beckons to be explored.
The Frank Church Wilderness is the largest contiguous wilderness in the lower 48 states, encompassing 2.3+ million acres. The Main Salmon River flows through the heart of the wilderness and is a roadless stretch of Wild and Scenic River. With steep hillsides, deep gorges and dense forests there are endless opportunities for solitude, peace, and quiet. A few jet boats and vehicles are seen and used by the inhabitants of the historical homestead ranches that are scattered along the river. Their limited use was grandfathered into the Central Idaho Wilderness Act in 1980 on an as-needed basis. Come enjoy the immensity of the Wilderness in the comfort of our Company.
Located in one of the darkest places in the nation, with no large urban centers nearby, the night sky is remarkable. The milky way shines with stunning clarity as it fills the sky. On moonless nights, the starlight is so bright, one can walk without a flashlight. Periodic meteor showers and shooting stars, streak across the indigo sky. Famous constellations are scattered about, demanding that their stories be told while Planets shine brightly in their ever-changing positions throughout the sky. And the glorious moon waxes and wanes, adding mystical shadows and illuminated wonders to the nightscape. Dare to pull your pad out of your tent and sleep under the stars.
Indulge in the wonders of no Wi-Fi, no cell phones, no email, no TV, and no internet. Engage in a unique opportunity to unplug in today’s world of being continuously plugged in. In the middle of the wilderness, there are no transmitting towers, no electricity and no way to log on. As a gift to your body, mind, eyes, and soul, unplug from technology for 6 days and 5 nights and give yourself a chance to reboot. Enjoy a chance to really connect with your loved ones, without the distractions of technology. Quality time with one another makes for healthier relationships. Plug into the Main Salmon River current.
The Salmon river drainage has a rich human history dating back at least 12,000 years. The Shoshone Bannock tribes migrated up and down the river corridor for centuries, living off the land. Later the Nez Perce tribes began to intermingle with the Shoshone Bannock. Gold miners then discovered the Salmon River drainage in the 1800s, establishing most of the trails that exist today and leaving behind homesteads, many of which are still inhabited today. During the mining boom, river travel began as a means of transporting goods & equipment and has continued to this day as a means of pleasure. We are all a part of this history.
With rapids ranging from class II to IV, there are opportunities for ALL abilities and skill levels to try our variety of crafts. Our 1 & 2 person inflatable kayaks (a.k.a. Duckies) are a fun way to ‘Do it Yourself’. The SUP’s offer a variety of challenges in flat water, small riffles and rapids. Our paddle raft is a social, active and guided craft for those who would like to be active without manning their own craft, and our oar boats offer a chance to just ride along. The Main Salmon is a perfect river for beginner/intermediate hardshell kayakers and open boaters (previous experience required) and we have a guide kayaker to offer guidance and safety. Empower yourself in a craft of your choice!