The only thing that could make your trip on the Middle Fork 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.

Similar Trips: Middle Fork Salmon •  Main Salmon

Departure Month: August, July, June, September
Region: Idaho
Rating: Beginner, Expedition, Intermediate
Pricing: Above $2000

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.

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. 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. Our small group size (15 person max.) means your trip will be customized to your interests. Ask us about charter trips!

  • 11 days, 180 miles
  • Class II-III whitewater (maybe IV depending on type of year), perfect for families
  • Refreshing water for swimming and paddling 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

Middle Fork and Main Salmon Combo
2020 DATES:
July 3rd-13th

August 4th-14th (Booked for 2020)

11-day Trip ~ $3875*
* Price does not include $4.00/day Forest Service Recreation fee

Included: Transportation via plane or bus (depending on time of year) to the river from Stanley, Idaho and from the river back to Boise, Idaho. All meals starting with lunch the first day and ending with lunch the last day. We provide the use of our sleeping gear and tents, or you can bring your own gear and receive a $40 discount. We also provide you with Type V life vests, dry bags for your clothing and night gear as well as a small dry bag for use during the day.

Not Included: Cost does not include hotels before or after the trip, alcohol, or guide gratuities.

Charter trips
are available. This means your group has reserved the entire trip. Ask for details.
Group discounts
based upon the number of people in your party.
are also available for children. Please contact us for details.

Reservations can be made online or by calling our office.
A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot. The remainder is due 45 days prior to trip departure.

After your reservation, we will promptly send you a trip packet including general information on your trip, your invoice and statement, a gear list, and medical and liability waiver forms that you will need to return to our office.

Operating quality trips is a costly operation with no margin for losses resulting from late cancellations. The space you reserve is held for you, and this may mean turning others away. Each trip is planned for the number of reserved spaces, guides scheduled, supplies bought, and rafts and vehicles assigned. If notice of cancellation is 45 days prior to departure, you may transfer to any other trip in the same season without penalty. A cancellation less than 45 days before the trip is non-refundable. Depending on circumstances, we can discuss other trip options.

Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend that you protect yourself with a short term traveler’s insurance policy.  Trip cancellation will cover your losses on non-refundable air and land cost on unexpected cancellations.

Cancelled Trips: We reserve the right to cancel a trip due to insufficient reservations, weather, or water conditions. In such cases, a full refund for the trip is given. If possible, we will offer an option of a different trip of comparable type.

The Middle Fork/Main Salmon Combination trip begins in Stanley and ends in Boise, Idaho

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

McCall Air

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

Motel Before: We suggest you make your reservations at the Mountain Village Resort (800.843.5475) in Stanley.  The motel will pick you up at the Stanley Airport by request. We will have a brief orientation at the Mountain Village Resort to answer last minute questions and hand out your dry bags, other gear, t-shirts and 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). 

June and July trips will have a van ride to McCall, then on to Boise arriving early evening. August trips will end with a scenic flight from Mackay Bar to Boise arriving mid-day.

Main Salmon River Suggested Gear

Download Printable Check List


This is the suggested gear list for this particular trip. Having the right gear is important to making it the best possible experience for you. Most of the gear listed you will have or you can use it year-round on any outdoor excursion (football games, boating, skiing, etc.) We want you to have everything you will need to be comfortable and happy.

Please: no stereos, radios, cell phones or watches

GEAR PROVIDED- SLEEPING BAG, PAD, GROUND CLOTH, AND TENT, LIFE JACKET, 2 WATERPROOF DUFFEL BAGS (one for sleeping bag, pad and ground cloth and one for clothing), WATERPROOF DAY BAG for items you would like accessible during the day (dry shirt, sunscreen, camera, etc.).


RAIN GEAR …2 piece with hood is best (avoid cheap plastic, vinyl, or poncho styles).

3 LIGHTWEIGHT SHIRTS …one long sleeved for sun protection.

2 PAIRS OF LONG PANTS…one lightweight and one warm

LONG UNDERWEAR…synthetic is much better than cotton!

SHORTS…lighter material dries fast, good to wear over swimsuit

SWIMSUIT…nylon is best because it dries fast.

CAP & WARM WOOL OR SYNTHETIC HAT …a must for everyone.  In case of wind attach with a clip or croakie.

WARM JACKET…some evenings are cool. Synthetic piles are popular because they are warm even when damp.

SOCKS, 3-4 PAIR…One pair of wool for wearing in cool spring weather and several for hiking.

RUNNING SHOES OR HEAVY WALKING SHOES…For hiking and wearing around camp.

RIVER SANDALS or additional running shoes for wearing in the water.  (Neoprene socks helpful on spring trips).

SUNGLASSES, TIES FOR GLASSES, an extra pair of prescription glasses even if you wear contacts.


SMALL DAY OR FANNY PACK… nice for side excursions.



LOTION…the arid climate of the west can dry your skin out

ZIPLOCKS…good for all kinds of things including personal trash and organizing.


INSECT REPELLENT(occasionally there can be mosquitos in the early season)

FLASHLIGHT…small one works fine.  Headlamps work great.

CAMERA…Many people choose to bring additional batteries as one is not quite enough for a whole trip.


ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE, if desired (plastic or aluminum containers please).

Optional;  small pillow, pillowcase or mesh bag for dirty clothes, book, journal or musical instrument, and fiesta-wear.

Wilderness River Outfitters provide a MAJOR FIRST AID KIT, however we do recommend you bring your own preferred personal medication and accessories (Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin, Band-Aids, and cold medicine).

Reviews from the Main Salmon River Trip

“We had an incredible trip. I have seen the world and this was by far the best trip I have ever been on. The kids were in their element and we cannot say enough about Jessie, Mark and especially Seth.”
John LaRussa, Alternate Path Adventures, Salmon River

“You should know that the guides did everything possible to provide us with an awesome trip. The river was fantastic but even better was the camaraderie we developed with your WRO family.”
Jeff, Brenda and Jamie Nelson, Middle Fork Salmon River

“Thank you for your strong commitment to the wilderness experience. You did not cut corners. The planning, staff, equipment, supplies, and organization were top. Your family’s personal touch was very evident.”
Alan and Alisha Edmundson

“Thanks for the wonderful experience of a lifetime. I will always remember looking out my tent door to the glacier. I can take that picture with me to the old folks hame if I ever go to one and say, ”I have lived!”
Jackie Bowman-Childers