Hiking the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

While many people have floated the Middle Fork, few take advantage of the beautiful trail that runs along most of its course. These trips offer you a chance to hike some 48 miles over six days in the middle of the biggest wilderness area in the contiguous United States. Our supply raft carries all the camping gear and your personal belongings, so all you carry is a small daypack.

You hike at your own pace, marvel at the Idaho river scenery, take photographs and meet us at camp each night where your tent and gear will be waiting for you. An expert guide accompanies you on the Salmon River hike, sets up your tent and prepares your meals. All you need to do is hike the moderate trails, relax, and take in the sights!

Honoring Native People and Lands: Recognizing the significance of our travels through Indigenous territory, we would like to recognize the communities whose lands we visit. It is our hope, in doing so, to honor their legacies, their lives, and their descendants. To learn more about territory acknowledgement and specific information about the Native communities of this region, please visit our Territory Acknowledgement page.

The cooler months in June and September have been our guests favorite for hiking the Salmon.  Please contact us: info@rowadventures.com | 800-451-6034 to learn more!

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Itinerary

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Hiking the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River trip is one of the most popular rafting trips on the planet.  We've desinged the perfect walk so you can have a chance to hike some 48 miles over six days in the middle of the biggest wilderness area in the contiguous United States.

Daily on the Trail

The Middle Fork Canyon is a place of superlative beauty. Your interpretive guide will point out prehistoric cave and rock paintings from the days of the Tukudeka, or Sheepeater Indians. You will hike through granitic pine-studded mountains rising to a sky of magnificent dimension and often enjoy transparent views to a golden pebbled river bottom. There are several hot springs along our route and we’ll stop to enjoy them, perhaps even making camp at one.

In this unspoiled land, we’re very likely to see big horn sheep, probably more than once as they use licks along the river. We’ll also see eagles, hawks, songbirds and waterfowl and if we’re lucky, we’ll have sightings of deer, elk, mountain goats, mink and river otter.

Raft Supported

This trip offers luxury camping and fine dining. Around 4:00pm we arrive at camp. The cargo boat has gone ahead of the walkers and has the kitchen set up as well as the spacious 2-person tents that ROW provides. All you have to do is carry your personal gear to the tent of your choice and roll out your thick sleeping pad and sleeping bag. This leaves plenty of time to relax, climb a mountain, read a book, take a dip, watch for birds, throw out a fishing line or soak in the rays of the sun.

 On the fifth day of our adventure, we enter Impassable Canyon, a narrow, granite-walled canyon of spectacular dimension.  When the trail was being built by the CCC in the 1930’s they got through just eight miles before they gave up to the vertical walls of granite and turned the trail west to head up Big Creek. 
 
On our last day you enjoy a long day of whitewater fun on the river.  For about 20 miles we are in a narrow granite-walled gorge of spectacular dimension, the constriction of the river, coupled with the large volume of water makes for an exciting day.   Then a 2-hour bus ride will put everyone in the town of Salmon at about 5 pm.  That evening enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by ROW.  We make hotel reservations at the Stagecoach Inn that evening.  Therefore, you can make your return travel plans the next day. 

Gourmet Eating

Enjoy our gourmet hors d’ oeuvres and meals. dinner. The quality of our food reflects the quality of the wilderness environment in the Middle Fork canyon.  We hand-select the freshest fruits and vegetables we can find and pack them carefully in huge ice-coolers.  Likewise, these coolers carry fresh dairy products and meats.  From these ingredients we prepare bountiful, healthy meals.  Sustainably harvested wild Alaskan Salmon served with a fresh garden salad; Prime Rib combined with a fresh Chilean salad and Idaho mashed potatoes or made-on-the-river lasagna is a few possible entrees.  Big salads of vegetables and fruit add color and variety to every meal.  Desserts are made each evening in our Dutch ovens and range from authentic cobbler and pineapple upside-down cake.  We serve juice each morning and moderate amounts of bottled wine with dinner.  We also provide two beers and two sodas or juices per person per day.  There's always plenty of cold water, lemonade mix, tea, coffee and cocoa. You're welcome to bring your own beverages or alcohol as well.  We always have plenty of ice to keep your drinks cold.

When to Go

The cooler months in June and September have been our guests favorite for hiking the Salmon.  Please contact us: info@rowadventures.com | 800-451-6034 to learn more!

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD) 
Jun 01, 2021 to Jun 06, 2021 $2,305£0€0$0$0$2,305£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Aug 31, 2021 to Sep 05, 2021 $2,305£0€0$0$0$2,305£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Sep 11, 2021 to Sep 16, 2021 $2,305£0€0$0$0$2,305£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Sep 19, 2021 to Sep 24, 2021 $2,305£0€0$0$0$2,305£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW

Supplementary Information

6-Day - Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Departures: June 1, August 31; September 9, 19 and by request
Adult Price: $2305

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FAQ & More

Why go with ROW on the Middle Fork?

Experience & Awards
ROW Adventures is a seven-time National Geographic award-winning company. We haven't only been "operating" since 1979, we've never changed ownership! 
 
Responsible Travel Ethics
We operate following the best in "responsible" or "eco" travel ethics including Leave No Trace camping and many other best practices that are sometimes forgotten about in the world of travel.
 
Rich Itinerary
Our itinerary is designed to visit many different points of interest, taking advantage of rock art sites, pioneer homesteads, and natural wonders in the river canyon. You may only visit the Middle Fork once in your life and we want to make sure you see the best that it has to offer.
 
Full-Service Camping
We are one of very few outfitters who have a cargo boat travel ahead to set up camp, including your tent and a complete kitchen with tables and chairs. This means when you get to camp you're free to explore – hike, fish, relax under a tree, rather than worry about the cumbersome unloading of cargo each day and setting up tents each night.
 
Luxury Camping
Our luxury-style camping includes all camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags and thick, self-inflating mattresses. All rafting gear is also included to make things easy for you.
 
Guides Like No Others
Your trip is enriched by knowledgeable guides who share the canyon's cultural and natural history. No other company on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River trains guides like we do, and most of our guides are also Certified Interpretive Guides through the National Association for Interpretation.
 
Highly Personal Service
We staff our trips with one guide for every 3-4 guests providing you the ultimate in personal attention.
 
Carefully Orchestrated
Our guides are divided into a "guest crew" and a "kitchen crew." While the kitchen crew prepares dinner, our guest crew is available to spend time with you, lead a hike, show you how to cast a fishing line or simply sit in the shade and visit. This is a fundamental distinction between us and others.
 
Sharing Our Passion
Guides join you at all meals, sharing conversation and laughter at meal times and around the campfire.
 
All-inclusive
Complimentary beer, wine, juice and soda, all in moderate quantities, is provided. We are proud to serve fine local Northwest wines. We always have plenty of ice!
 
Your Security First
We carry satellite telephones on all trips - for emergency use only.
 
Ideal Logistics
Trip logistics are designed to maximize time on the river.
 
No nickel and diming
We provide complimentary wetsuits & wetsuit booties early and late season to make sure you stay warm and comfortable on the river.
 
Touch of Class
At the end of the trip we close the circle of friendship and celebration with a festive, hosted farewell dinner.
 
Custom Trips
Trips can be chartered for special occasions - bachelor / bachelorette parties, family reunions, all women/men groups, etc.
 

What are typical meals on the river?

The quality of our food reflects the quality of the wilderness environment in the Middle Fork canyon. We hand-select the freshest fruits and vegetables we can find and pack them carefully in huge ice-coolers. Likewise, these coolers carry fresh dairy products and meats. From these ingredients we prepare bountiful, healthy meals. Sustainably harvested wild Alaskan Salmon served with a fresh garden salad; Prime Rib combined with a fresh Chilean salad and Idaho mashed potatoes or made-on-the-river lasagna are a few possible entrees. Big salads of vegetables and fruit add color and variety to every meal. Desserts are made each evening in our Dutch ovens and range from authentic cobbler and pineapple upside-down cake. We serve juice each morning and moderate amounts of bottled wine with dinner. We also provide two beers and two sodas or juices per person per day. There's always plenty of cold water, lemonade mix, tea, coffee and cocoa. You're welcome to bring your own beverages or alcohol as well. We always have plenty of ice to keep your drinks cold.

How do I get to the meeting location?

Air taxi transport to/from Boise is available. Or drive to Stanley and shuttle your car to the takeout point in Salmon for early season trips, or drive directly to Salmon for late season trips. If low or high water requires a flight into Indian Creek, there is an extra charge. Call 1-800-451-0841 for pricing.

Who guides your trips?

On any river trip, the guides are the most important factor for your safety, enjoyment and the success of the trip. ROW guides are exceptional people with years of river experience. We maintain a tobacco-free policy and most of our guides have taken interpretation courses from certified instructors. We look for guides who are willing and eager to share, teach, listen, learn, laugh, play, discuss and, above all, work hard to provide a safe, relaxed and spontaneous adventure. While in camp, two or three guides are preparing dinner while the others are free to spend time with you. They might show you the way to a nearby hot spring, give a fly-fishing lesson, or just to sit and visit with the group. Our guides are the main reason many of our guests return to ROW time and time again. (References gladly provided.)

What is riverside camping like?

We call it luxury camping. In order to make your trip run as smoothly and comfortably as possible, we use a large sweep boat to carry camping gear, food and supplies ahead of the main group. This allows our smaller rafts to be lighter and more maneuverable, which makes for a safer ride with more bounce and splash. And the sweep boat arrives at camp early to setup the kitchen and spacious 4-person tent we supply for you. All you have to do is carry your personal gear to the tent of your choice and roll out your sleeping bag, flannel liner and thick, self-inflating foam sleeping pad (all of which is provided by ROW and stored in a ROW-provided waterproof bag). (Note: In rare circumstances we may have a trip on the Middle Fork with less than 13 guests. In this case, we may not run our sweep boat. Our guides are still happy to set up your tent.)

What gear do I need?

ROW makes this easy... You bring the clothes you want to wear at camp and on the trail/river. Then, once you make a reservation ROW will send you a complete packing list. ROW provides the camping equipment, food, and beverages.

What about bathing and toilets and feminine hygiene?

On many of our summer trips, frequent swimming leaves you feeling clean. For those who want to soap up, we always do so well above the river's high water line (not even "bio-degradable" soap goes in the river). We also take sun-showers on many of our trips and the hot water is great for shampooing and taking a sponge bath. Buckets of river water help with the process.  The natural hot springs on the Middle Fork offer a relaxing and beautiful place to soak!

At each camp we set up a special, private tent with a portable toilet inside, which works just like yours at home, without the flush. This is available from the time we get to camp until we leave the next morning. The views from our toilet locations are simply inspiring. Nearby we set up a handwashing system. During the day, liquid waste goes in the river by simply wading into the water or going for a swim. A day-use toilet is available too for solid waste. If you have any other questions or concerns please call our adventure consultants.

For feminine hygiene, come prepared with some small zip-lock bags. These are useful for disposal during the day while on the river and can be put into our trash containers at camp. Along with our toilet supplies, ROW will have extra pads and tampons available. Using portable toilets allows us to carry out all human waste.

What if there is an accident during my trip?

All our guides are certified in first aid and river rescue. Many have had advanced training specific to the wilderness environment in which we operate and are certified as Wilderness First Responders or Emergency Medical Technicians. Thus we are able to cope with most on-river accidents. If in our judgment, evacuation is deemed necessary we have several options depending on weather and our location. Sometimes we are near remote ranches or roads that we can use to evacuate. We carry a satellite telephone along with a GPS on trips lasting three or more days. (Cell phones don't work in the remote areas where we travel.) We can use these to contact emergency transport, including helicopters. Evacuation, if needed, can take from as little as a couple of hours to as many as 24 hours, or in extreme cases, longer than this depending on the situation, weather and location.

Does ROW provide beverages?

It's important to drink plenty when you're outdoors so ROW provides fresh drinking water at all times. In camp, there's also juice, herbal tea, black tea, coffee, and cocoa. We provide two complimentary sodas and two beers per person, per day and complimentary wine with dinner. If you wish to bring more sodas, beer, or other alcoholic drinks to enjoy in the evening, bring them along. We'll have cocktail ice.

Can I bring my camera or phone on the river?

Absolutely!  You will want to capture the stunning scenery. A waterproof camera with extra batteries and a memory card is highly recommended.   While many guests use their smartphones, please realize you will not have cell service or power source for charging and we highly recommend a waterproof case.  Portable power banks are a great source for recharging.

Footwear?

If you do not own trail boots it is a good idea to note the following specifications – buy your boots long before the trip. Wear them as much as possible to break them in. Well designed boots, well broken in, and in good condition are the key to enjoying this trip. Good ankle support is important. Light trail boots are adequate and should have lug soles. Tennis shoes, sandals, and other lightweight shoes should not be worn on the trail. A handy trick for insuring foot comfort is carrying a spare set of socks for the day. At lunchtime, you can change socks. Dry socks at mid-day will go a long way toward keeping tender feet in good condition.

Clothing and Equipment?

Clothing should be loose fitting and allow full movement. Cotton-polyester blends are cool and dry fast. Bring shorts and long pants as you see fit... and a wide brim hat. Rain gear is required. Your daily clothing will be carried in your pack. Extra clothing, personal items and are carried in a waterproof river bag on the raft. Space is limited so keep your gear to 30 pounds or less.

What kind of Backpack do I need?

The key to a good pack is comfortable and well-designed shoulder and waist straps. Even a light pack can be irritating if it doesn't ride well on your back. If you carry your water bottle in the pack, get one with an outside pocket on the side of the pack and large enough to carry your water bottle (your water bottle should be at least one-liter capacity). Be certain that the straps and waistband have enough adjustment to allow the pack to be worn over your warm clothing; some inexpensive packs have very short straps. If you will be buying a pack for this trip be certain it is large enough, but don't go overboard. After reviewing the gear list, make a pile of everything you need to carry in the pack, box it up, and take it when shopping for a pack. This is the best way to size a pack.

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