Middle Fork / Main Salmon Combo

A World Class Idaho Expedition


Why choose when you can have it all?

The only thing that could make your trip on the Middle Fork Salmon any better is making it longer, and your trip doesn’t have to stop at the confluence! Continue down the Main Salmon River, the “River of No Return,” for five more days in beautiful central Idaho. This is an incredible 11-day trip covering over 180 miles of the Salmon River in the vast Frank Church Wilderness area. You will start your float in the thick spruce forests of the Middle Fork Salmon, descending from the high elevations all the way to the massive sand beaches and mountain desert landscape of the Main Salmon. It is not only a tour of the heart of Idaho, but a true exploration of the geology and history of this incredible watershed.

Trip Highlights

  • 11 days, 180 miles
  • Rare opportunity to do both of Idaho’s world-class multi day trips
  • Class II-III whitewater, perfect for families (late season)
  • Class III-IV big water, exciting, challenging trip for high adventure or for whitewater kayaking (early season)
  • Refreshing water for swimming and paddling inflatable kayaks
  • Huge sandy beaches for great games, comfortable camping and star-gazing
  • Rich history of Native Americans, homesteads of pioneers, miners and legends of the river
  • Many hot springs throughout the trip
  • Great hiking and wildlife
  • Excellent cutthroat trout fishing

The Middle Fork Salmon and Main Salmon combine to form a nearly 200-mile trip through the heart of Idaho and the Frank Church Wilderness. A trip through these two canyons takes you from the dense alpine forests at the headwaters of the Middle Fork, through the deep granite gorge of the Impassable Canyon, to the mountain desert of the Main Salmon. Exhilarating rapids and crystal-clear pools for fishing and swimming are around every corner. The plentiful hot springs of the Middle Fork followed by the beautiful beaches of the Main make for a trip that is hard to beat. Relax in the oar boat, grab a paddle in the paddle-boat, or captain your own inflatable kayak – you choose just how much excitement you want. A trip this long is not only a vacation but an exploration and adventure with your family and friends. Idaho, a state that has flown under the radar for many years, will surprise you with this journey through time and an immersive wilderness experience that will no doubt be life changing.

Why continue down the Main?
The Main Salmon is a rare outdoor adventure that pairs a perfect beach vacation with the solitude of a vast wilderness. The July water is the perfect temperature for swimming and lounging on the beach. Or, grab your hiking boots to explore historic homesteads and rocky canyon ridge tops. The “River of No Return” has an extremely rich history as an early supply route for wooden scows and pioneer river-runners, and is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 at 425 miles from source to the Snake River confluence. While our veteran guides have the unique opportunity to navigate many different rivers throughout the summer, the Main Salmon is the one they hold near and dear.

The Stats

Departure Month June, July, August
State / Region Central Idaho
Adventure Level Moderate, High
Price Range $2000 - $3000, $3000+
Activities Whitewater Rafting, Inflatable Kayaking, Family Rafting, Hot Springs, Hiking, Native American Sites, Pioneer History, Rafting, Wildlife



The Middle Fork/Main Salmon Combination trip begins in Stanley and ends in Riggins, Idaho. Most people will fly out of McCall, ID to Boise, Idaho for connecting flights.

Before the trip
Fly commercially into Boise, Idaho, then take McCall Air to Stanley, Idaho (before August) or Salmon, Idaho (after August).
Trips launching in August will fly directly to the river from Stanley.

McCall Air
Phone: 208.634.7137 or 800.992.6559
Website: www.mccallaviation.com
Email: [email protected]

Driving: If you choose to drive to Stanley, you can arrange to have your car shuttled from Stanley to Boise or to our take-out by River Shuttles.

River Shuttles
Phone: 800.831.4942
Website: www.rivershuttles.com
Email: [email protected]

Motel before the trip: We suggest you make your reservations at the Mountain Village Resort (800.843.5475) in Stanley (before August) or the Stagecoach Inn (208.756.2919) in Salmon (after August). The motel will pick you up at the Stanley or Salmon Airport by request. We will have a brief orientation at the hotel at 6 pm to answer last minute questions and hand out your dry bags, other gear, and Hydroflask mugs.

After the trip
We provide transportation to Boise from the end of the trip. We recommend staying at the Best Western Vista Inn near the airport (800.727.5006) or at the Owyhee Plaza downtown (800.233.4611). Some people also choose to stay in McCall for an evening and fly to Boise from McCall. June and July trips will have a van ride to McCall, then on to Boise arriving early evening. August trips have an option to end with a scenic flight from Mackay Bar to Boise arriving mid-day. Please contact the office for additional information regarding this option.


Camp Life and Meals

Yes, we do normally change campsites every day. This allows us to cover new scenery, rapids, and side adventures each day at a fun, comfortable pace.

On the River

Clothing, Footwear, and Gear



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