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Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Stanley, Idaho

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Book this tour through our partner: MT Sobek

Crest more than 100 unforgettable rapids in 100 miles on this adventure down one of the world's greatest rivers. Get ready for a deluxe camping and boating experience, guided by Idaho's strongest rafters. Relax on an oar boat, get wet with a team of paddlers, or captain your own vessel on an inflatable kayaks. Choose a new activity every day! With afternoons relaxing in natural hot springs, hiking, fishing, visiting ancient rock formations and cooling off in refreshing waterfalls, this trip is a don't-miss experience for amateurs and pros alike. MT Sobek is an equal opportunity employer and operates under special use permit with the Salmon-Challis National Forest.


Arrive in Stanley, Idaho

Arrive by 4pm to the quaint mountain town of Stanley, Idaho - set along the banks of the Salmon River. Meet your guides at the River One Shop for a welcome meeting before dinner. Back to your hotel to pack up your river bags for the early start the next morning.

Journey to the Put-in at Boundary Creek

Ride the bus to Boundary Creek in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and meet your team of river guides. Under their expert captainship you'll climb aboard the oar boat or raft, and set off to encounter the first of the Middle Fork's rapids: Sulphur Slide, Velvet Falls, the Chutes, and Powerhouse.

In late afternoon, arrive at one of the Middle Fork's beautiful campgrounds with breathtaking views, natural hot springs, or trails to explore. Every night, you'll enjoy appetizers and a delicious meal prepared by the guides, followed by hot drinks and a campfire.

NOTE: Depending on water levels, extreme high or low water levels may require that we change the put-in location from Boundary Creek to Indian Creek, located 26 miles further down the river. The Indian Creek put-in is accessible only by air. Therefore, in the event that we need to put in at Indian Creek, MT Sobek will arrange internal flights from Stanley to the Indian Creek Airstrip on day-2, for an additional fee. High water can typically occur in early to mid-June, while low water can occur at any point in July or August.

Get Started with Pistol Creek Rapid

After breakfast, Class III rapid Pistol Creek provides an exciting jump-start to the day. After lunch, water permitting, inflatable "ducky" kayaks are available for thrill-seekers looking to paddle through the rapids on their own (available on all low-water trips)

Make a stop at the Indian Creek Guard Station on the river's left bank to learn a bit about the history of the area, then it's back into the boats to traverse Pongo rapid and coast into camp around 5pm. You've traveled about 19 miles downriver today.

Explore Sunflower/Loon Creek Hot Springs

Marble Falls and Ski Jump rapids start off the day. The calm water that follows makes this a good day to fly-fish or take a refreshing swim. You may also stop at the hot springs at Sunflower or Loon Creek for a relaxing soak while keeping an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep.

After lunch, take a short hike to one of the cliffs along the river that bear Sheepeater pictographs. Enjoy few a more rapids before pulling into camp after about 15 miles on the river.

Ride the River to Tappan Falls

The 18 miles you travel today offer some of the Middle Fork's most thrilling rapids, including Tappan I, Tappan Falls, New Tappan, and Aparajo. Look for bighorn sheep grazing along the shore as you paddle by, as well as bald eagles, osprey, herons, river otters, and black bears. You can also see shallow circular depressions in the ground on the riverbanks: the sites of Sheepeater pit dwellings.

In the afternoon pass by Kaufman's Cave, where the Scottish prospector Clarence Kaufman lived for four years.

Coast into the Impassable Canyon

Today brings you into the Impassable Canyon, home to truly spectacular scenery: reddish-gray granite cliffs looming over the water, and sharp rock strata folds — the striking evidence of the canyon's geologically tumultuous past. Get ready to experience some serious whitewater through Driftwood, Haystack, Bernard Creek, Earthquake Jack Creek, and Goalpost rapids.

After lunch, make the steep hike to Veil Falls, then back on the river, pass through Weber, Redside and Cliffside rapids and view the 1900s homestead of Earl Parrot. Back at camp, enjoy a special last-night dinner with champagne.

Depart For Home

While Day 6 is only a half-day of rafting (about 10 miles on the river) it offers the biggest rapids of the trip: Foreplay, Rubber, Rubber II, and Hancock. After a thrilling morning, reach the confluence of the Middle Fork and the main Salmon River, leave your boats behind and board a bus to Salmon. After a stop for lunch, arrive in Salmon by early afternoon and later, meet for a happy hour celebration.

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Starting From


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7 Days


Stanley, Idaho


Salmon, Idaho

Group Size


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