The Main Salmon is a great beginner/intermediate kayak trip.  This trip offers big water pool-drop class III rapids with warmer water than many other western rivers.  This combo makes for a great introduction to kayaking!
Similar Trips: Middle Fork Salmon Kayaking

Departure Month: August, July
Region: Idaho
Rating: Beginner, Intermediate
Pricing: Under $1500

If you are a beginner:  You should go to you local YMCA and learn the kayak roll and basic kayak strokes.  After you have the basics down and have been out on the river a little, you should be ready for this trip.  The rapids are class III, so you should know what you are getting in to.  You do not need to be a solid class III boater, just know what class III entails.  If you have a pool roll and really want to get after it, aggressive beginners are welcome!

If you are an intermediate kayaker:  the Main Salmon will offer you some rapids that are well within your comfort zones, but should still present some challenges.  Join us on this trip to get more comfortable in your boat.  It is always nice to have an experienced kayaker helping you progress and get more comfortable with your kayaking ability.

Besides the great kayaking experience that this trip offers you, there are many other great opportunities.  On the Main Salmon there are many old homesteads that are fun to explore.  Large sand beaches make for not only comfortable camping, but great playing fields for games like horseshoes, bocce ball, and frisbee!

Is kayaking a passion of yours, but not your family or friends?  They are welcome to join this trip as a raft rider.  Let them take pictures of you negotiating the rapids.  The rafts are also there to provide you a break from kayaking if needed.  If swimming situations are tiring you out, the rafts can offer you a nice break!

Come join us for an unforgettable introduction to kayaking!

WRO kayak fleet (rental boats)

2020 Schedules and Prices

Date:  August 17th-22nd
6 days
(all inclusive):  $1,850 (plus $4/day Recreation Enhancement Act Fee).

Included: Transportation to the river from Salmon and from the river back to Boise.  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.  *Kayak rentals are available upon request.  Call us at 800.252.6581 to discuss rental options and sizes.

Not included: Prices do not include motels before and after the trip and 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 Salmon and ends in Boise, Idaho

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

If you choose to drive to Salmon, you can arrange to have your car shuttled from Salmon to the take-out by River Shuttles.

River Shuttles

Motel Before: Make your reservations preferably at the Stagecoach Inn (208.756.2919) or the Salmon River Motel (208.756.8880) in Salmon.  Your motel will pick you up at the Salmon Airport.  We will have an orientation at 6:00pm the evening before your trip begins at the Stagecoach Inn.

After the trip:  We provide transportation to Boise from the take out.  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.

Sample Itinerary

Day Before: We meet up at the Stagecoach Inn at 6 pm in Salmon, Idaho.  We will distribute dry bags, go over any last minute questions, and make sure everyone has all the right gear.  We also have WRO mugs and T-shirts for everyone.

Day 1: We will head for the river around 8:30 am.  After a scenic two hour van ride along the Main Salmon we reach Corn Creek Launch Site.  We will make sure everyone is fitted in their boats, go over some river signals and river safety.  Now its time for the river!  Probably make it a short river day, allowing people time to get comfortable with their boats and the river.

Day 2-5: Practice some basic kayaking skills, reading water, mastering different kayak strokes, scouting and running the many class III rapids that the Main Salmon has to offer.  Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Day 6: After a half day on the water.  Everyone will return to either Salmon or Boise.

Main Salmon River Kayaking 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 – 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 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 Salmon River Kayaking 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