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Middle Fork Salmon River

Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trips

Kayak, Raft, Canoe, IK, Fish, Play & Relax

From its endless play waves and famous rapids to its crystal clear emerald waters, the Middle Fork of the Salmon is a must do!!! People travel from all corners of the earth to experience the splendor of this river. Known as the Crown Jewel of Idaho, the Middle Fork sits in the heart of the Frank Church Wilderness. This Wilderness Area is the largest in the lower 48, claiming nearly 2.5 million acres. From the Sawtooth Mountains of Central Idaho, Marsh Creek and Bear Valley Creek come together to form the Middle Fork of the Salmon. At the top, the river is playful and active with creek-like characteristics, becoming pool and drop by the confluence. Over 100 tributaries feed the Middle Fork in its 100+ mile journey to the Mighty Main Salmon. In addition, there are more Natural Hot Springs along the banks of the Middle Fork than any other multi-day river in the United States.

Wild and Scenic

This river was one of the first rivers to be designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Granite gorges and sheer cliffs alternate with rolling sagebrush covered hills. Its waters support a blue-ribbon fishery of native trout. In addition to viewing the wild game, you’ll see evidence of the people who once dared to call this untamed place home. The Sheep Eater Indians, a few hardy gold miners, and one truly eccentric hermit left traces behind. The final few days you will travel through the Impassable Canyon, named by the US Calvary due to the rugged terrain. Behold cascading waterfalls, small sandy beaches, huge rock caverns, towering granite walls and big pool-drop rapids.

A Free-Flowing River

The entire Salmon River drainage is un-dammed. Depending on winter snowpack levels, extremely high or low water levels can cause the Middle Fork put-in to change, from Boundary Creek to Indian Creek, at mile 25.  Indian Creek is only accessible by small plane. Because Mother Nature dictates our launch at any time during the season, we go with the flow . Should we need to launch from Indian Creek, anyone planning to do the “DRIVE OPTION” will be scheduled on a backcountry flight into Indian Creek, for an additional fee.

Middle Fork of the Salmon STATS:


  • High water, 100 miles
  • Low water, 75 miles
  • Average gradient: 28 ft/mile(49 ft/mile on the upper section)


  • Technical class III>-IV

Average daily flow:

  • June 3,300 c.f.s.
  • July 1,200 c.f.s.
  • August 700 c.f.s.

Age & Skill Level

You don’t need prior rafting experience or skills to enjoy a trip with us. Six years old is the recommended minimum age and there is no upper age limit. Guests should realize that the higher, colder waters of early June are more challenging than later summer levels. Early-season weather in Central Idaho can be inclement. For these reasons, we do not recommend the early-season period for families with young children. A minimum age guideline for early June is around twelve years old and does depend on water levels, which vary from season to season. We do recommend that you be in good health and consult your physician with any health questions or concerns prior to taking a wilderness trip of this sort.