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getting to the river

How do I get to the River?

Transportation to/from the Middle Fork & Main Salmon Rivers

Whether you are heading to the Main Salmon or to the Middle Fork of the Salmon, your river trip starts and ends in the 2.4 million acre stretch of protected land known as the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return. Spanning six different national forests and several mountain ranges, the Frank Church is one of the most remote wilderness areas in the lower 48 states. This means that getting to the river takes some logistical coordination. That’s why we offer several options for getting to and from the river; Diving, Flying or Driving & Flying

The Backcountry Flight Option

Start your trip with a spectacular chartered flight via prop plane! From the Boise Airport, enjoy a scenic, hour to an hour and a half-long flight over the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains and Salmon-Challis National Forest, and land just a short ride from the put in (for the Middle Fork) or a 2.5-hour ride (for the Main Salmon), where your river trip begins. On the last day of the trip, you will fly back to Boise and have an evening to enjoy in the city, before you depart for home the next day. If you are flying to Idaho from anywhere in the country or internationally, this is the most convenient and time-efficient option. If you plan on driving to Boise, the airport offers long-term parking for $11.50 a day.

Price: $435 per person.

Take this option if:

  • You like the idea of a scenic flight over some of Idaho’s most expansive and gorgeous wilderness.
  • You will be flying to Boise, Idaho for this trip, and/or you have limited travel time.

Who Makes the Flight Arrangements:

  • The Canyons Logistics & Reservations Team will handle booking your backcountry flights and will apply the cost to your invoice with Canyons, you just have to let us know that you want this option on your personal registration form!

The Drive and Shuttle Option:

For those living in the surrounding area or coming from a destination nearby, driving can be the most convenient and economical option. The important thing to remember with the drive option is that you will need to have your vehicle shuttled from where the trip begins, to where the trip ends. You are responsible for arranging and paying for this vehicle shuttle service. To assist you in this, our Accommodations & Other Services page offers specific recommendations for shuttle service companies, who are licensed to shuttle your car around to where your trip ends.

Middle Fork drive options:

Without a boat:

If you plan to drive but don’t plan on bringing your own boat, you have two options:

  • #1- Drive to Stanley, Idaho. A beautiful and charming small town with incredible scenery, great hot springs, and excellent recreation opportunities nearby. You will meet the shuttle bus on the morning of your trip at the Mountain Village Lodge. You will need to arrange to have your vehicle shuttled from the Mountain Village Lodge in Stanley, to the Salmon Airport. 
Price: approximately $150/per vehicle
  • #2- Drive to Salmon, Idaho. A classic Idaho ranching community with a variety of recreational activities nearby. On the morning of your trip take a scenic one-way backcountry flight to a backcountry landing strip, where our shuttle bus will pick you up and take you to the river. At the end of your trip, our shuttle bus will take you back to your vehicle at the Salmon Airport, thus no vehicle shuttle needed. You can park your car for free at Salmon Airport.
Price: Approx. $195/per person

With a boat:

If you plan on bringing your own craft, you will meet our guides at the Boundary Creek put-in site. This is about 1.5 hours from Stanley and has a USFS campground. You are welcome to meet your guides here the night before and camp out, or you can drive to the put-in in the morning. If you plan on arriving in the morning, we ask that you please be at the Boundary Creek Boat Launch no later than 9 am. You will need to have your vehicle shuttled from Boundary Creek to the Confluence (of the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon rivers).

Price: Approx. $300/per vehicle

***An alternative to having your vehicle shuttled from Boundary Creek is to drive your boat (s) in the night before, leave it with the Canyons gear at the put-in and then drive back out to Stanley. You could then stay the night in Stanley and ride the shuttle bus back in in the morning. Then you would arrange to shuttle your vehicle from Stanley to the Confluence (saving a little bit of money).

Price: Approx. $275/per vehicle

Main Salmon drive options:

Without a boat:

If you are traveling without a boat, you have two options:

  • #1- Drive to Salmon, Idaho and meet the shuttle Bus at the Salmon Airport on the morning of your trip. Arrange to have your vehicle shuttled to the McCall Airport. At the end of your trip, our shuttle bus will bring you out to the McCall Airport where your vehicle should be waiting for you.
Price: Approx. $350/per vehicle
  • #2- Drive to McCall, Idaho and take a one-way scenic backcountry flight from McCall to Salmon on the morning of your trip launch, where you will then ride our shuttle bus into the put-in. On the last day of your trip we will shuttle you back to your vehicle in McCall, thus no vehicle shuttle needed.
Price: Approx. $225/per person

With a boat:

If you plan to drive and you are bringing a raft, a canoe or kayak along, you will need to meet us at the actual put-in for the river, Corn Creek Campground (please call and confirm this with our office). You will need to arrange for your vehicle to be shuttled from Corn Creek to Carey Creek (the take-out).

Price: Approx. $425/per vehicle

Take this Option If:

  • You live locally.
  • You are bringing your own vessel, canoe, kayak or raft.
  • You are making this river trip a portion of a longer trip in the Idaho region.

Who makes the vehicle shuttle arrangements:  You do!

Who makes the backcountry flight arrangements: We do!

Still, have questions?

If you have more questions about the options, the logistics, or you are still trying to decide which one makes the most sense for you? Give us a call anytime at (208) 634-4303, or email us at to discuss logistics with us. We are always happy to help you determine what is the best option for you.

About Ariana Lowe

Running rivers is one of the greatest passions in Ari’s life. Ari’s warm demeanor, kind spirit, sense of adventure, and endless creative talents are a huge part of TEAM CANYONS. Ari is an avid kayaker, skilled oarsman and talented watercolor artist.

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