Springtime on the Middle Fork of the Salmon is an excellent time for experienced kayakers to see this legendary Idaho canyon. June’s runoff and high flows bring more fun wave-trains and big-water rapids to the Middle Fork. There are several nice surfing holes with easy eddies along the river and countless waves to catch on the fly. The Middle Fork is credited for having 100 rapids in 100 miles, most of which are class III, and some class IV. Exciting whitewater and remarkable scenery make this a fantastic trip not just for paddlers but for their friends and families as well!
Similar Trips: Main Salmon Kayaking •  Jarbidge Bruneau Kayaking

Departure Month: July, June
Region: Idaho
Rating: High Adventure, Intermediate
Pricing: Under $1500

The Middle Fork Salmon is a great kayaking trip!  This is perfect for a group of kayakers to spend quality river time together.  If you have always wanted to kayak the Middle Fork but don’t have a group to go with, join us as a solo traveler and meet new friends to kayak with. If you have a group of kayakers that just need rafts to carry your gear, we are happy to just be there for raft support as well. There are discounts or custom prices available for larger groups or clubs!

Skills: Of all the kayak trips that WRO offers, this is the best trip for kayakers that are intermediate to advanced, or at least comfortable in a whitewater kayak. A decent roll, at least the majority of the time, is required. This trip is promoted to kayakers with rafts providing the camping support. If you have a friend or family member that does not kayak that would like to join the trip, we can definitely work that out!

Surfing: There are many great surf opportunities along the way. We try to camp at Marble Creek, where there is access to one of the best surf waves in Idaho at the right water levels. The Mist Falls Wave is another incredible surf highlight of the trip. The rafts are for gear support and giving paddlers a break when needed. At least one or two paddle/surf guides or coaches will be in the water with you at all times. There is always plenty of time for relaxing in camp, practicing your roll, hiking, hot springs, and camp games like bocce ball, horseshoes, frisbee.

Kayaks: People with experience will likely want to bring a play-boat for surfing. River-running boats are also great if you are not into play-boating or just prefer the extra comfort and stability. We offer a variety of different kayaks available for rent if you cannot travel to Idaho with your personal boat. Please give us a call at 800.252.6581 and we can customize the trip to your specific interests and abilities.

2020 Schedules and Prices

Middle Fork Salmon Kayaking

June 16 – 21
6 – Day Trips ~ $1950.00*
*Price does not include $4/day Recreation Enhancement Act fee)
Kayakers are welcome to join any of our Middle Fork trips, but this specific date is promoted as kayak trip.
We put at least one guide in a kayak this week. Space limited to 14 kayakers.

Included: Transportation to the river from Stanley, Idaho and from the river back to Salmon, 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 dry bags for your clothing and night gear as well as a small dry bag for use during the day.

Not included: Prices do not include motels before and after the trip, alcohol, or guide gratuities.

Group and child discounts available.
Charter trips are available for groups of 15 or more. This means your group has reserved the entire trip.  Ask for details.

Payment: A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your trip with the remaining balance due 45 days prior to the trip.

Cancellation and Refunds:
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, rafts and vehicles assigned. If notice of cancellations 45 days prior to departure, you may transfer to any other trip in the same season without penalty. A cancellation less than 45 days 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 Salmon trip begins in Stanley and ends in Salmon, Idaho.

Before the trip: Fly commercially into Boise, Idaho, then take McCall Air into Stanley, Idaho.

McCall Air

If you choose to drive to Stanley, you can arrange to have your car shuttled from Stanley to Salmon by River Shuttles.

River Shuttles

Motel Before: Make your reservations at the Mountain Village Lodge (800.843.5475) in Stanley. Your motel will pick you up at the Stanley Airport. We will have an orientation at 6pm the evening before your trip begins at the Mountain Village Lodge.

After the trip: We provide transportation to Salmon from Cache Bar take out, which takes about 2 hours. You can either fly from Salmon to Boise later that day or stay in Salmon and fly out the next morning. We recommend staying at the Stagecoach Inn (208.756.2919) in Salmon or at the Best Western Vista (800.727.5006) in Boise.

Sample Itinerary

Day Before: Meet in Stanley at 6pm for a pre-trip orientation at the Mountain Village Inn. Here we will distribute gear, hydroflasks, t-shirts, and answer any last minute questions.

Day 1: We head to the river around 8 am, a scenic 2-hour ride into Boundary Creek. After a safety talk and final preparation we get on the water and head down river to find our first camp. The action starts right away with First Bend Rapid!

Day 2: After running several exciting rapids, we try to camp near Marble Creek on the second night. Here we can spend some time surfing the Marble Creek wave if the levels are right.

Day 3: After a morning surf at Marble Creek, we continue down river, stopping at Loon Creek hot-springs for a soak. We will probably camp somewhere nearby.

Day 4: More fun rapids! If possible, we pause the excitement for a brief excursion to see some Sheepeater pictographs.

Day 5: Today, more great rapids! We enter the Impassable Canyon, a deep granite gorge that makes up an especially scenic part of the trip. We may take a short hike up to visit an impressive waterfall in Veil Cave. If we are lucky, the Mist Falls Wave will provide everyone with some great afternoon surf sessions. We enjoy a nice steak dinner our last night on the river.

Day 6: We finish the trip off strong with rapids like Rubber, Hancock, House of Rocks, and many more. We usually reach Cache Bar around lunchtime. After lunch we take a scenic bus ride along the Main Salmon to the town of Salmon, arriving around 4 or 5 pm. We often meet up for an optional farewell dinner.

Middle Fork of the 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 make 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 – we provide 2 WATERPROOF DUFFEL BAGS (one for sleeping bag, pad & ground cloth, and one for clothing), WATERPROOF DAY BAG for items you would like accessible during the day (dry shirt, suntan lotion, camera, etc.).  You may use our SLEEPING BAGS, PADS, AND TENTS, or bring your own and receive a discount.

Kayaking Gear
Bring all your kayak and  personal kayaking gear.  If you would like to rent one of our kayaks, inquire about brands and sizes available.


• SYNTHETIC SLEEPING BAG (WARM EVEN WHEN WET), PAD, TENT, GROUND CLOTH (for  sleeping out under the stars and for spreading your gear on.)

• RAIN GEAR… good jacket and pants, poncho’s aren’t enough. AVOID VINYL & CHEAP PLASTICS.

• LIGHTWEIGHT SHIRTS…one long sleeved.

• 1 PAIR LONG PANTS, synthetic are best

• SHORTS…synthetics dry faster – good to wear over swimsuit.

• SWIMSUIT…nylon is best because it dries faster.

• CAP TO BLOCK SUN, & WOOL SYNTHETIC HAT for cool evenings…a must for everyone.  In case of wind attach with clip or a shoe string.

• GLOVES OR MITTENS… synthetic or wool.

• WARM SHIRTS…wool or fleece (2)

• LONG UNDERWEAR…Polypro or Capilene (not cotton) tops & bottoms.

• WARM JACKET…synthetic piles are popular because they are warm even when damp.


FOOTWEAR: The comfort of your feet will make a big difference in your enjoyment of the trip!

• HIKING BOOTS or sturdy walking shoes …well broken in. No brand new boots please.

• SOCKS…3-4 pair, 2 heavy (wool), fleece socks are also nice for camp.

• THIN LINER SOCKS…nylon or synthetic, not cotton.

• RUNNING SHOES OR SANDALS… for around camp and short hikes.

• NEOPRENE SOCKS (described on back side) and old running shoes… this is the best combination we’ve found for keeping your feet warm and safe on the river.

• SUNGLASSES AND TIES FOR GLASSES…protects against glare.  Pack an extra pair of prescription glasses even if you wear contacts.

• SUNTAN LOTION… maximum strength sun block & moisture lotion.



• FLASHLIGHT…small one is fine, headlamps work great.

• WATER BOTTLE…1 liter.

• CAMERA & FILM…bring more than you think you need, just in case.

• SMALL DAY OR FANNY PACK…for side excursions.


• ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE…if desired (unbreakable containers).

• BINOCULARS (optional)

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, cold medicine).

Reviews from the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Kayaking Trip

I just wanted to tell you that we had a great time on our MIddle Fork kayak trip. I have wanted to do a trip like this with the boys for some time and it was everything I hoped it would be. The river, the camping, the fishing, the side hikes and hot springs were all great. You, Matt, Henry and Tyler really made the trip. Your experience, knowledge, boating skills, the way you put us at ease and your flexibility to what we wanted to do really combined for a great experience. When you can give the teenage playboaters all they can handle, keep the 11 year old in his comfort zone and not wear out the old men, you have accomplished something! I definitely want to talk to you in the future about another trip.

-Jason Darby

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