Salmon River Rafting"River of No Return"

Salmon River Highlights

Salmon River rafting trips (also known as "The River of No Return" or Main Salmon) are ideal for families. During the summer there are huge sandy beaches, pine-filled mountain vistas, and plenty of fun splashy whitewater rafting. For those wanting more excitement there are inflatable kayaks. This national wild and scenic river is home to a wide variety of wildlife including moose, elk, mule deer, black bears, river otters, golden eagles, red-tail hawks, and osprey. Enjoy the ultimate relaxation when you reach the Barth Hot Springs, a scenic soak overlooking the Main Salmon River. Leave the roads and crowds behind and raft the “River of No Return” as it flows through the Frank Church River of No Return Wildernss Area. Trips also offer exceptional hiking, swimming, and fishing. For those that wish to forgo some of the camping there is a lodge option.

Salmon River Rafting

The Salmon River Rafting trips descend the second deepest gorge in North America. As you travel 82 miles downstream from Corn Creek to Carey Creek through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. The scenery begins with rugged alpine mountains, moves into enchanting pine forests interrupted by solemn granite gorges that eventually opens to high desert slopes. You will raft over 40 whitewater rapids, including Elkhorn and Big Mallards, two famous rapids of the West. Salmon River trips are best for people of all ages, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone interested in pioneer history.


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 for the sun. While rain rarely falls in the summer. If it does , proper rain gear will make it a much more joyful experience. 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 the town of Salmon, Idaho to answer last minute questions and pass out drybags so everyone can pack their gear for the next day.

Launch Day

You will be shuttled to the river put-in along with your gear to begin your adventure. At the end of the trip you will be transported back to where you originally met the shuttle to put-in.

Price Includes

Most outfitters will provide all the camping and river related safety equipment, along with plenty of fresh food, non-alcoholic beverages 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. Transportation to the put-in point and take-out point from/to your start city is included (the logistics on the Main Salmon make it so many people prefer to not return to Salmon, Idaho. Depending upon the shuttle options you choose there may be additional expenses. If you choose one of the specialty trip options, all extras associated with that option is included, such as lodging during the trip; alcoholic food pairings; and chef, yoga instructor, and musician services.

Trip Options

The Main Salmon offers several trip options, with different trip lengths of 4-6 days:
All-Camping – For those that prefer the camping experience and spending all their time in the great outdoors.
Camp/Lodge Combination – Offering a little of both; a camp experience one night and comforts of a lodge the next.
Beer & Wine Tasting – With gourmet meals and five-star epicurean choices, these trips offer a sense of luxury. The wine and beer are specifically paired to compliment a delicious menu, prepared by a highlighted local chef each night of the trip.
Dory Trips – For those who wish to run the river like boaters did 100 years ago.

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

Salmon River multi-day rafting trips have loose itineraries. While on the river expect to wake up to a call that coffeee 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 expect 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.

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.


Idaho's summer weather is usually excellent with highs ranging from 80°F – 100°F and dropping into the 60’s°F at night. There can be afternoon rainstorms that are typically done before camp is reached. Being prepared with layers and good rain gear will make an experience of rain an enjoyable part of the trip.

Boats & Group Size

Your main form of transport will be an oar raft, but paddleboats and inflatable kayaks are also available for those who wish for a more interactive experience. 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. Normally three to five boats travel together and group sizes can be up to 22 guests, maximum. Paddleboats are 14-16 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, single and 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.


There will be plenty of food of tasty food on a Salmon River trip. 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: 4 – 6 days
Price: $1,250 – $2,682 per person
Season: June – September
Min. Age: 5 years during Low Water Levels; 12 years during High Water Levels
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Level: Strong
  • I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the Rivers & Oceans’ staff, their organizational skills, knowledge and simply being just nice people. Once I decided to go with them every detail of the adventure was planned, organized and implemented without a hitch.

    Steve G.

  • Absolutely wonderful. Rivers and Oceans is operated by people who truly care about your trip and have the personal experience to help you make the best choice. Now go see for yourself and let Rivers and Oceans lead you towards the adventure of a lifetime.

    Owen S.

  • The folks at Rivers and Oceans are great. Helped us find and book a trip and patiently answered many questions over the weeks preceding the trip. Thank you.

    Greg W.

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