Boating on the Salmon River in Idaho

The Salmon River sometimes referred to as “The River of No Return,” is the longest undammed, free-flowing river in a single state in America’s lower 48. It flows for 425 miles, originating in the Sawtooth and Lemhi Valleys of central and eastern Idaho.

The upper section passes through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, and the lower section creates the southern boundary of the Gospel-Hump Wilderness. Five “forks” of the river – the Upper Main, Main, Lower Main, Middle Fork and the South Fork – are considered runnable in rafts, kayaks, canoes, and drift boats.

Deer, elk, black bears, mountain goats, waterfowl, and other wildlife can be spotted along the river’s sandy shores and granite-walled canyons. The main stem of the river is also a habitat for cutthroat trout, bull trout, rainbow trout and several species of salmon.

Native American sites are apparent along sections of the river, as well as old mining ruins. Controlled permits have been required since 1976 on certain sections of the river to float it between June 20 and Sept. 7.

Here are a few outfitters to choose from when planning your whitewater rafting, kayaking, or a fly-fishing trip down the Salmon River:

Idaho River Adventures

Whether looking for a relaxing river float with the family or a wet and wild whitewater adventure, Idaho River Adventure guide service has it all. With delicious food like fresh salmon, knowledgeable guides, and passenger comfort, Idaho River Adventures offers a uniquely civilized wilderness experience.

The group guides whitewater rafting and fly-fishing trips on the Main and Middle Forks of the Salmon River. All river trips start at the remote riverside guest lodge, the Idaho River Adventures, and as the trip progresses, move to camp spots on sandy beaches where all camping equipment is provided.

Idaho River Adventures, Inc.

16 N Cherokee Rd.
Salmon, ID 83467

+1 (208) 746-2221

Tight Lines

The Salmon River’s crystal clear waters are home to enough Rocky Mountain Cutthroat and Rainbow trout to lure fly-fishers from all over the country. Tight Lines offers patient instruction on six-day drift-boat trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.

The company also has 4- to 5-day whitewater rafting trips available July through August. For the real outdoors adventurist, their “Cast & Blast” combo is a unique blend of Chukar bird hunting and fly fishing lasting five exciting days and covering 73 miles of river.

Equipment and meals are provided on all whitewater trips.

Tight Lines Inc.

Fishing and Rafting

Jeff and Laura Helfrich

P.O. Box 117

Vida, OR 97488 877-855-6270

Wet Planet Whitewater

With its forgiving Class II-III whitewater, the Salmon River is one of the best rivers for beginner kayakers to learn new skills. And by the end of Wet Planet’s multi-day kayak course on the Lower Salmon, beginner boaters will feel more like pros.

The course lasts five days and covers 53 miles. Camping equipment is provided and meals cooked by the instructors are included in the price. Raft support will be on hand daily throughout the length of the kayaking trip.

Wet Planet Whitewater

860 Highway 141

Husum, WA 98672


Summer is finally here, and whether it’s in a raft, kayak, or drift boat, visitors and residents of the northwest won’t want to miss some vacation time on the Salmon River.