Middle Fork of the Salmon River Rafting

Middle Fork Salmon Rafting Highlights

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is one of the best multi-day whitewater rafting trips in the world. The Middle Fork starts as a small mountain stream and grows into a large river over the 100 mile course of the 5 to 6 day trip. Along the way there are many fun rapids, hot springs, hikes, and waterfalls. This trip also offers opportunities to fish and try inflatable kayaking. Rafting the Middle Fork Salmon River floats boaters through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the second largest protected wilderness in the contiguous United States. Inflatable kayaks are offered when the water is lower later in the summer.

Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River has over 100 rapids with many being class III and IV. When not running rapids the scenery varies but is always breath taking. Home to cutthroat, rainbow, and steelhead trout, the river provides daily catch and release fishing opportunities. It's common to see big horn sheep, mule deer, otter, osprey and eagles. wildlife, world-class fishing, and scenic hiking. As one of the orignal eight national wild and scenic rivers and surrounded by the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, the Middle Fork Salmon is one of the most remote, pristine areas in the U.S.

Early season trips launch at Boundary Creek, while later in the season there is a scenic flight to the Indian Creek put-in. From Boundry Creek to Cache Bar the river descends 3000 feet through magnificent trees and breathtaking canyons. Over 100 rapids including Velvet Falls, Devil’s Tooth, Tappan, and Haystack lead into the legendary Impassable Canyon, making this section of the wild Salmon a premier alpine rafting experience.

As one of the original eight Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Middle Fork is an undammed, free-flowing river fed from snowmelt. June has exciting high water, but by late summer the river offers a more mellow float. You will encounter Class III and some Class IV rapids for a slightly technical, and fun rafting trip. Water temperature on the Middle Fork is typically about 50°F – 65°F, a pleasant warm river.

Packing for your trip

You will be provided with a suggested packing list after signing up for the trip. The key equipment is good river footwear, clothing to protect you from the rain and the sun. While rain rarely falls in the summer, proper rain gear will keep you comfortable during any unexpected downpour. Here is some rain gear, footwear and other clothing we recommend.

Pre-trip Meeting

Trips tyically have a meeting the evening before the launch date in Stanley, Idaho to answer last minute questions and pass out drybags so everyone can pack their gear for the next day.

Launch Day

Transportation is provided by the outfitter for you and your gear via a short scenic flight to the Indian Creek put-in (late season) or a bus to Boundary Creek launch site (early season). At the end of the trip you will be transported by bus back to Stanley or Salmon, Idaho depending upon the individual outfitter logistics and your preference.

Price Includes

Most outfitters will provide all the camping and river related safety equipment, along with plenty of fresh food, filtered drinking water and snacks. However there are some outfitters that will ask you to supply your own camping and sleep gear. Typically these outfitters will also have an option to rent a camp/sleep kit for an additional cost. If you choose one of the specialty trip options, all extras associated with that option is included, such as alcoholic food pairings; and chef, yoga instructor, and musician services.

Adventure Specialists

We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.

General Itinerary

Middle Fork Salmon rafting trips have loose itineraries. While on the river expect to wake up to a call that coffee is ready. After breakfast everyone packs up their gear. In the morning there will usually be floating, running a couple rapids and maybe doing a little hike before pulling over for lunch. Expect more of the same in the afternoon until arriving at camp for the night. After the rafts are unloaded everyone decides where they will set up for the evening and then it's time for relaxing, appetizers, and then dinner. Some outfitter will set up tents before you arrive at camp for the evening.

Making the most of your trip

We find people have the most fun when they are flexible. Rafting trips are an adventure and the guides are continually adjusting the days plans to adjust to make the most of the day as it is presented. It can be nice to leave your watch behind.


Mid to late-June weather is typically in the mid 70’s°F during the day and around 55°F at night with occasional precipitation. In July and early to mid-August, daytime temperatures are around 80°F – 90°F, dipping down to the 60°F at night. This is also the driest time to raft the Middle Fork. Late August and September usually have sunny days with cooler nights and some precipitation possible.

Boats & Group Size

Oar powered rafts are about 18 feet long and carry four to five guests plus the guide, who maneuvers the raft with a set of oars mounted on the raft. Paddleboats are 18 feet long inflatable rubber rafts. They carry six to eight people, and each person is responsible for paddling as a guide calls out the paddling commands. Paddleboats are a team effort boat and offer riders an intimate encounter with the river. When water levels are suitable, two-person kayaks let you challenge the rapids on your own terms.

Camp Life

Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, our outfitters are specialists in facilitating an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. Most outfitters provide a full sleep kit with a tent, sleeping bag, and inflated sleeping pad. Some outfitters will request that you bring your own sleep kit and camp equipment, or will have a package that you can rent for an additional cost. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled the next morning.


One thing is certain on a Middle Fork Salmon rafting trip: There will be plenty of tasty  food! A full, hearty breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch where you create your own sandwich. Dinners can be anything from a New York steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and beverages offered throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. Please contact us when signing-up for the trip regarding any special dietary requirements to insure adjustments can be made to meet individual needs.

Length: 3 – 6 days
Price: $1,600 – $3,100 per person
Season: June – September
Min. Age: 7 years during Low Water Levels; 12 years during High Water Levels
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Level: Strong

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