Multi-Day TripFeatured RiverWilderness RiverAlpine RiverHot Springs

River Statistics

Rafting Season Difficulty Trip Length Flow


Class III
Class IV
Multi-Day Trip
85 mi..
USGS Realtime Streamflow
Gradient Put In Take Out  
11 fpm Corn Creek Vinegar Creek  


Licensed Outfitters

» General Shuttle Logistics

For much of the 425 miles that the Salmon River traverses Idaho, settlement is evidenced by nearby small towns, roads and commerce. Northwest of the rural mountain community of Salmon along the Continental Divide, the river veers west, abruptly leaving civilization behind. It is this 85 roadless stretch, from Corn Creek to Vinegar Creek that is known as the Main Salmon, the “River of No Return”. Here the Salmon churns through the second deepest canyon in America, sometimes dropping precipitously through famous rapids; sometimes peacefully meandering near historic places of early settlement. No river in America provides a glimpse of our past as stunningly as this section of the Salmon. We travel near reminders of Native American and early pioneer settlement. Abandoned homesteads, cabins and mines remain nearby. The Main is a big river with exceptional flows all summer. The water is warmer than most mountain rivers and there are plenty of rapids of varying difficulty from splashy Class II runs to adrenaline pumping Class III drops at Bailey, Split Rock, Bid Mallard, and Elkhorn. Camping is exquisite, often on big sandy beaches or at campsites tucked in groves of Ponderosa Pine or Douglas Fir. Outfitted trips on the Main Salmon are usually 5- 6 days although some shorter trips are available. Typically, a variety of boats are used, with most outfitters offering paddle and kayaking options. For people looking for a river rich in history with a variety of boating, hiking, and relaxation opportunities, the Main Salmon is a wonderful choice. It is a favorite for family rafting vacations and the perfect river for multigenerational reunions. In most years, the best time for families to visit the Main is mid-June through August, although spring and fall trips are spectacular as well. Abundant wildlife and breathtaking granite canyon vistas are yours to enjoy year round.