Walk barefoot on the sand. Feel the warm canyon breeze on your face. Soak in a natural hot springs. Whether you are a first time rafter or a veteran river rat, you’ll be enchanted by the Main Salmon River of Idaho. Weaving east to west through the largest wilderness area in the lower 48, the Salmon River passes blanketed wildflower hillsides, deep canyon walls, cascading side streams, and large sandy beaches. Fun, sun, and rapids for the family, a group of college friends, or the solo adventurer. Come see Idaho!

Similar Trips:
Middle Fork Salmon Middle Fork Flathead Lower Owyhee

Departure Month: August, July, June, September
Region: Idaho
Rating: Beginner, Intermediate
Pricing: Between $1500 and $2000, Under $1500

In the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness flows the Main Salmon River. Class III rapids promise a fun and exhilarating ride in the capable hands of our seasoned guides. Relax in the oar boat, grab a paddle in the paddleboat, or captain your own inflatable kayak – you choose just how much excitement you want.

The Main Salmon is a rare outdoor adventure, pairing a perfect beach vacation with the solitude of a vast wilderness. The water is warm in July and August, which makes for great swimming and inflatable kayaking. Lounge on the beach, or grab your hiking boots to explore historic homesteads and rocky canyon ridge tops. There’s truly something for everyone. While our veteran guides have the unique opportunity to navigate many different rivers throughout the summer, the Main Salmon is one they hold near and dear. Want to reserve an entire trip for your group? Ask us about charter trips!

  • 6 days, 80 miles
  • Class II-III whitewater, perfect for families
  • Refreshing water for swimming and paddling kayaks
  • Huge sandy beaches for great games, comfortable camping, and star-gazing
  • Rich history,  pioneer homesteads, miners and legends of the river
  • Barth hot springs and Native American pictographs

Middle Fork/Main Salmon Combination Trip

Extend your vacation by starting 100 miles upstream on the incredible Middle Fork Salmon and tour the entire heart of Idaho.

Book a Main Salmon Trip

Main Salmon 2022

June 10 – 13
June 22 – 27
June 30 – July 5
July 8 – 13
July 16 – 21
July 24 – 29
August 1 – 6
August 9 – 14
August 17 – 22
August 25 – 30 
September 2 – 7

*Price does not include a $4.00/day Forest Service Recreation Enhancement Act Fee.

Transportation to the river from Salmon and from the river back to Boise. All meals start with lunch the first day and end 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 Type V life vests, dry bags for your clothing and night gear, and 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 engaged, supplies bought, rafts and vehicles assigned. If notice of cancellation is made more than 45 days prior to departure, you may transfer to any other trip in the same season without penalty. Otherwise the cost is non-refundable.

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 costs in the case of an unexpected cancellation.

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 Main Salmon trip begins in Salmon and ends in Boise, Idaho.

Fly commercially into Boise, Idaho, then take Gem Air into Salmon, Idaho. If you plan on driving, you can have your car shuttled with River Shuttles.

Gem Air
Phone: 208.756.7382

Email: [email protected]

River Shuttles
Phone: 800.831.4942

Email: [email protected] 

Lodging Before: Make your reservations at the Stagecoach Inn (208.756.2919). 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 behind the hotel by the river.

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). 

All trips will have a van ride to McCall, then on to Boise for an early evening arrival.

Sample Itinerary

Day before the trip: Arrive in Salmon, Idaho (flights from Boise to Salmon are available through Gem Air).  Orientation meeting at 6pm riverside outside the Stagecoach Inn. We will distribute river gear and answer any last minute questions.

Day 1: We’ll meet at 8:30am and drive 2 hours to the Corn Creek put-in. When we reach the river, your guides will be ready to tie your gear down and have a brief river safety talk. Then we’re off! We’ll stop for lunch on a sandy beach a couple of miles down the river, and later look at some Native American pictographs. Soon everyone will start getting into the flow of the trip. After a great afternoon of a few fun rapids and quiet stretches of river we’ll find a nice campsite on a beautiful beach and make our home for the night.

Day 2-5: We like to keep our trips flexible and choose activities that suit each group. There will be opportunities to hike, fish, explore homesteads, soak in natural hot springs, and relax around camp.  Generally, we are on the water for about 4 to 6 hours each day.

Day 6: We’ll have a fun float with one or two good rapids then continue on to the Carey Creek take out.  We provide transportation to Boise, Idaho via McCall, Idaho arriving early evening.

Driving: If you choose to drive to Salmon, you can arrange to have your car shuttled from Salmon to the take-out (Carey Creek or McCall) by River Shuttles.


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)

Seth, Ryan, Jessie and Kelly couldn’t have been a better team. They were bright, energetic, hard working and fun to be around. It seemed like none of us really wanted the togetherness and companionship to end—the boding of total strangers in an environment that was so beautiful and fun to be in and made so easy to adjust to by the hard work of your team.
~Randy Butler  (Salmon River)

It was one of those special weeks that reminded us how much we mean to each other and the majesty of the Good Lord’s creation. Your guides Kelly and Mark were true joys! Personable and helpful, just remarkable young people. They not only guided us through the experience- they were a big part of the experience.
~James Box  (Salmon River)

You do a fabulous job. Julian had the time of his life. On the way home he said, ‘I think I matured a bit on this trip.’
~Jude Rosenberg  (Salmon River)

My family and I had a wonderful time on the Salmon last week and the experience was exciting and at all times safe in all parts due to your son Seth and his assistant Mark.
~Steven Dauria  (Salmon River)

I was impressed with the guides dedication to preserving the environment of the pristine beaches and the water. That made a good impression on the kids too.
~Jennifer Trout  (Salmon River)

Our guides did a superior job-they made things fun for the kids but still earned everyone’s respect. They helped all of us have a better time.   All were extremely competent, happy, safe, and inspired confidence.
~Bud Woodall  (Salmon River)

Amy and Jesse were terrific. I can’t believe how much fun Forrest had on the trip, I think that he will look back on it as one of the high points of his childhood. This trip exceeded my wildest hopes in terms of a positive experience.
~Evans Simpson  (Hayden Creek Ranch/Salmon River combo)

From the moment we pushed away from shore to the moment we landed on day 6, it was all “the best.” Special praise for Seth, Mark & Jesse is in order, though. Except for some travel difficulties (our fault) this trip could not have gone better. The river, the scenery, the side trips, the food and the guides were ALL as good as it gets.
~Allyson Comstock & Bailey Jones  (Salmon River)

The guides were beautiful in every way. They were patient, pleasant and so helpful.
~Mary Reese  (Salmon River)

Being immersed in nature for 6 days was exquisite-especially with such wonderful food, great equipment from rafts to sleeping bags, and fantastic helpful, cheerful, interesting, caring guides.
~Mary L. Johnston  (Salmon River)

I want to compliment your guides as competent, humorous, efficient, and great with the kids. Going without a watch was wonderful…. It was such a different way to relax. I find myself outside looking for something to do and I am also still sleeping in my sleeping bag.
~Jamie Nelson and Family  (Salmon River)

The most amazing thing is that my 2nd and 3rd trip each got better exceeding my expectations.
~Chuck Holtz  (Salmon River)

It was one of those special weeks that reminded us how much we mean to each other – and the majesty of the Good Lord’s creation. Your guides Kelly and Matt were true joys! Personable, helpful and remarkable young people. They not only guided us through the experience – they were a big part of the experience. Their generosity of spirit and knowledge of the river were awe inspiring.
~Jim and Janet Box  (Salmon River)

It was beyond my expectations-fantastic experience!
~Blake Neal  (Salmon River)

You have to experience it to believe what is written. Everyone should, at least once in their lives, live 6 days in the Wilderness of Idaho!
~Katie Stoiber  (Salmon River)