Whitewater Thrills and Comfortable Camping in Idaho
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho cuts through more than 100 miles of rugged wilderness, past towering trees, wildflowers, and craggy mountains. Among rafters, it’s known as a Class IV river, with a few rapids reaching Class V level in high water. On this six-day whitewater-rafting trip from Adventure Guides, up to 24 adventurers will take on the Middle Fork, spending their days alternating between rushing through roaring rapids and enjoying the scenery during calm stretches. Throughout the trip, you might have the opportunity to fly-fish, hike, and soak in hot springs. Along the way, experienced crew members deftly navigate the waterway and handle all of the logistics, including cooking and camp setup, to ensure a comfortable trip. For detailed information on the best way to reach Stanley, Idaho—the trip's launch point—visit the transportation page.
Click here to see the full six-day itinerary.
Before the trip: At 6 p.m. on the day before launch, crew members meet with guests for orientation in the conference room at Mountain Village Lodge in Stanley, Idaho. Guides provide a detailed breakdown of the trip and hand out waterproof packs, day bags, and sleeping gear.
Day 1: The group sets out from Stanley toward Boundary Creek or Indian Creek, depending on weather and water conditions. Before putting the rafts in the water, Adventure Guides and the U.S. Forest Service hold a safety briefing. The first day's ride is shallow and steep, and the group breaks for lunch along the riverbank.
That night—and each night for the rest of the trip—a supply boat runs ahead to set up camp for the evening. By the time the rafts arrive at the site, the crew will have already arranged everything you need, including the campfire, kitchen, tents, and s’mores tasting room. You can spend the evening swimming, hiking, fishing, or playing games. Starting at 6 p.m., an hour of hors d'oeuvres and beverages is followed by a dinner that can include dutch-oven potatoes, baked salmon, stuffed chicken, or rib-eye steak. Fresh-baked treats are on hand for dessert.
Days 2–5: Each morning, guides start a campfire and set out a continental breakfast. Around 8 a.m., they whip up a hot meal, often with potatoes, omelets, french toast, and pancakes. You can choose a vessel to ride in from a fleet of oar boats, paddleboats, and inflatable kayaks. Before and after lunch, the group negotiates rapids, hops overboard for the occasional dip in a swimming hole, and admires the views. The water is relatively calm on the second and third days, but will pick up speed on days four through six. All meals, beverages, and snacks are included each day, and on the second and fourth nights you can take a refreshing sun shower.
Day 6: After an early rise, the flotilla faces its biggest challenge: a stretch of whitewater known as "Impassable Canyon." After the confluence of the main branch of the Salmon, the boats head for four more miles to the endpoint at Cache Bar. The crew packs up the boats and sets out a final lunch before guests board the bus back to Stanley.