(208) 806-1218

Late Season Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting

Overview

Dates

August 10, 18

September

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Duration

6 days/ 5 nights

Location

Salmon, ID

Class

III-IV

Min Age

8 years old

Price

From $3250

This is it! The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is widely regarded as one of the premier whitewater rafting trips in the world. Flowing 96 miles from Boundary Creek to the confluence of the Main Salmon, the Middle Fork includes nearly every aspect of a great river trip. With over 100 named rapids, riverside hot springs, beautiful camp sites, diverse canyon scenery, world class fishing, gin clear water, spectacular side hikes, and incredible wildlife, the Middle Fork truly has it all. If you asked someone to design the perfect river trip, you’d get a 6-day trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The Middle Fork has something for everyone!

Flowing through the heart of the largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48, the Middle Fork is a natural, free flowing river devoid of dams and human development. Due to its free flowing nature, the water levels of the Middle Fork are entirely dependent on the snow pack and air temperature in the surrounding mountains. This natural run off cycle allows the Middle Fork to undergo a seasonal transformation, providing different styles of river trips from June through September.

a beautiful view of the underwater canyon on the Middle Fork
Late Season on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Late Season Rafting Trips

As we reach mid-August, the river slows and becomes unbelievably clear, swirling through the canyon in hues of blue and green. It’s hard to decide which view is more enticing – the staggering cliffsides or the otherworldly depths of the river. Even though the river is low, the rapids are still wonderfully exciting and technical. You’ll be amazed by the puzzles the river sets up for our guides to weave their way through. You’ll slip between massive boulders shaped by thousands of years of Middle Fork flows, and slide over steep drops with nice splashes. This is a great time of year for anyone who wants their rafting trip to be invigorating and stimulating, but without the big waves and cool water of our spring season. In fact, you might find yourself out of the boat and in the water more often than not, and totally by choice! The waters of the Middle Fork usually warm to a comfortable and refreshing temperature at this time, perfect for floating on your back and relaxing through calm stretches of river or for swimming and playing in the eddys at camp.

The days grow shorter and offer us a glimpse of the beauty of autumn on the Middle Fork. You’ll still find warm days with ample sunshine, and cool nights with endless layers of stars spinning overhead. In mid-August, we are able to witness one of the best meteor showers of the year, the Perseids, under one of the darkest skies in the country. Because of the relaxed pace of August trips, we offer ample opportunities for exploring other amazing aspects of the river, such as taking regular hikes along the 75-mile riverside trail that winds along the Middle Fork. Hikes of varying distances allow the discovery of hidden gems like cool springs, majestic waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and impressive forests of Ponderosa pines. Mid to late August is wonderful because there tends to be fewer and fewer river users as the summer goes on, leaving us feeling even more secluded in the largest contigous wilderness area in the lower 48.

September Rafting Trips

September is a special time to experience the Middle Fork and the Frank Church Wilderness Area. As the air temps and water levels begin to drop with the first refreshing breaths of fall, the river corridor changes in several ways. There are much fewer river users in September so we often feel as though we have the entire wilderness to ourselves. We also start to see the colors of the canyon foliage turn bright yellows and reds. This is a great time for anyone who prefers activities such as photography, walking the trails, exploring, or simply relaxing, instead of the Middle Fork whitewater rafting experience of summer.

In September, we provide scenic float trips on the Middle Fork. Our September trips are primarily small fly fishing trips, although we do have limited seats available for non-fly fishing. You’ll be able to sit back and relax like you’ve never been able to before. The sights and smells of the river in the fall are intoxicating, and you’ll find a serenity that transcends senses.

The scenic float experience takes place on our “champagne boats”. We do not have paddle boats or ducky’s this time of year due to low water and cooling water temperatures. Instead, we focus on a comfortable ride and a variety of off-river activities such as scenic side hikes, exploring the geography and history of the canyon, hot springs, pictographs, and simply relaxing and disconnecting in the vast beauty of Idaho’s wilderness. The cooler weather this time of year provides a great opportunity to explore the 50 miles of riverside trail and countless side hikes.

Please inquire with any questions about this unique, scenic wilderness river experience.

late season Rafting on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Trip Itinerary

What’s Included

1 Day Before Your Trip

Meet in Salmon, ID. We will greet you at our orientation meeting at 6pm.

Fly Into The Wilderness

Begin your journey into the largest contiguous wilderness in the lower 48 with an incredibly scenic backcountry flight into the wilderness. You may also choose to fly directly into the wilderness from Boise (more convenient). Please contact us for more info.

6 Days of Rafting Down Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Enjoy the most unforgettable wilderness vacation of your life.

Take Out at Cache Bar

Enjoy one last gourmet meal and say farewell to your wonderful guides.

Return to Salmon by Bus

Enjoy the ride back to Salmon in our luxurious private shuttle bus.

What’s Included

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Professional Guides

Our Middle Fork Salmon River guides are the most fun, knowledgeable, and talented guides in the business.

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Backcountry Comfort

Enjoy our deluxe four person tents, raised cots, plush sleeping pads, full sized pillows, and freshly laundered sheet and sleeping bags. Our specially designed river shower provides the opportunity to enjoy a warm, private shower in the evening.

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Wilderness Gourmet

Three fresh and delicious meals a day, carefully crafted by our talented backcountry guide chefs.

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Ground Transportation

We provide all ground transportation to the wilderness or airport at the beginning of your trip. Our luxurious private shuttle bus will transport you back to Salmon at the end of your trip. No need to shuttle your vehicle!

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Premium River Gear

All neccessary rafting gear inlcuding, life jacket, helmet, neoprene wetsuit (for spring trips), oar rafts, paddle boats, inflatable kayaks (water level dependent). We will also provide you with a complimentary insulated water bottle, coffee mug, and duffel bag for you to keep. 

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All Fees Included

Because nobody likes hidden fees, our trip prices include all fees associated with recreating on public land.

Not Included

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend purchasing CFAR travel insurance. Learn more by contacting our trusted partner Global Rescue.

Flights Into The Wilderness

Flights from Salmon, ID into the wilderness typically cost $195. You may also choose to fly directly into the wilderness from Boise (more convenient). Please contact us for more information. 

Gratuities For Your Spectacular Guides

Typically 15%-20% of the trip price.

watercolor painting of a cliff on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Dates and Prices

Prices are per person

2024 Late Season Rafting Trips

August 10  –  $3550

August 18  –  $3550

September 14  –  $3250

September 22  –  $3250

September 30  –  $3250

2025 Late Season Rafting Trips

August 10  –  $3550

August 18  –  $3550

September Dates TBD October 2nd, 2024  –   $3250

We require a 25% deposit to secure a reservation. Full payment is due 120 days prior to your trip date. 

We take bookings 2 years in advance, and often prime season trips fill 12 months in advance.  It’s never too early to make a reservation.

watercolor of a log on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a fly fishing & a rafting trip?

Both our fly fishing and rafting trips offer unforgettable experiences on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Our fishing trips and rafting trips depart together, stop for lunch together, and camp together each evening. The main difference between our fly fishing and rafting trips is the focus of the trip between those three times of day.

Our fly fishing guests ride in either a drift boat or one of our specially designed fishing rafts. There are only two anglers and one guide on these boats. The fishing boats will leave camp a little earlier each morning to take advantage of the best fishing conditions. The fishing trips are focused on catching fish.

Our rafting trips will focus more on exploring the wonders of the Middle Fork river canyon. One of the greatest aspects of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is all there is to see. Hikes to native american pictographs, exploring pioneer cabins, soaking in natural hot springs, strolling to beautiful vistas are all things you may experience on a typical day on the river. Rafting guests also have the option to ride in oar boats, paddle boats, and inflatable kayaks.

What if I want to do both fly fishing and rafting?

The best way to experience fly fishing and rafting on one trip is to reserve a fly fishing seat. With the fly fishing seat you will have the flexibility to hop in the paddle boat or inflatable kayak whenever there’s an open spot. Additionally you will be going through all of the same rapids in the fishing boat, so you will experience whitewater in the fishing boat regardless. Reserving the rafting seat does not give you the flexibility to be in a fishing boat, but you are of course able to fish from land anytime you are in camp, or when we stop at lunch.

Can our group reserve both fly fishing and rafting seats?

Absolutely! Many groups choose to do this. You may reserve as many fly fishing or rafting seats as we have available. Throughout the trip your group members are able to switch in and out of the fishing and rafting spots as you prefer. You will have a chance to switch around at lunch each day, so every day can have 2 sessions of either rafting or fly fishing.

What is the difference between a fishing raft and drift boat?

Check out our Fishing Boats and Gear Page to learn more!

What type rafting boats are available?

Our rafting experience includes 3 types of boats: Oar Boats, Paddle Boats, and Inflatable Kayaks.

The Paddle Boat is the most popular rafting boat and provides a lot of excitment. This boat has a guide in the back, with 6-8 guests paddling through the rapids.

The Oar Boat is a large raft rowed by a guide with comfortable seating in the front and back for anybody who wants to take a break from kayking or paddling. This is often a great way to sit back, relax, and experience the beauty of the river.

The inflatable kayak is the most intimate river experience you can have. We will instruct you on best practices and introduce you to kayaking in small rapids, and if you are eager to hone your river skills you can try more challenging rapids as your trip progresses.

Do I need a fishing licence?

If you plan to fish then YES! You will need an Idaho fishing license valid for all days of the trip. You will not need any additional permits or stamps. The easiest way to purchase your license is online

How many people are on the trip?

Per our USFS Special Use Permit, our maximun total group size is 30 people. This includes guests and guides. Our trips are usually between 20-23 guests and 7-10 guides. Our Fall Fly Fishing Trips tend to be a bit smaller, usually 14 guests and 9 guides. 

What if I want to charter a whole trip?

Booking a whole trip for yourself and your group is definitely possible. The minimum number needed to book an entire trip is 20 people. This can be a combination of fishing and rafting seats. Chartering a whole trip allows you to customize many aspects of your trip, including departure location. Please contact us for more information.

What is the camping like?

At Solitude River Trips we believe that just because you’re in the wilderness doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice comfort. We provide deluxe four person tents that make spacious double occupancy river side homes. Our comfortable combination of raised cot, plush sleeping pad, full sized pillow, and freshly laundered sheet and sleeping bag will ensure you are able to recharge between days of rafting, fishing and exploration. Our specially designed river shower provides the opportunity to enjoy a warm, private shower in the evening. Large, supportive chairs will allow you to enjoy your time around the dinner table and camp fire each evening. Find out more on our Accommodations page.

Can I shower?

Yes! Our specially designed river shower provides the opportunity to enjoy a warm, private shower in the evening.  

How does the toilet system work?

Our toilet is designed with your privacy and comfort in mind. It is located discreetly away from both camping and dining areas and covered by a privacy tent. These are robust, metal containers equipped with comfortable seats and tight-sealing lids for hygienic transport. At each camp, the guides will set up a fresh and clean toilet facility, complete with an adjacent hand-wash station to ensure cleanliness and convenience. 

How far do we go each day?

We usually travel between 10 and 16 miles a day. 

Can I bring a CPAP machine?

Yes. Since we do not have a generator or anyway to recharge or plug in a CPAP or any other electric device, you will need to bring a travel CPAP with enough battery power to last the duration of the trip. Please contact us if you need to bring a CPAP machine. 

What beverages are provided?

We bring enough alcoholic beverages for each person to have a couple cold beers , and/or a couple glasses of wine at camp each evening. We also provide coffee and tea in the morning, tea in the evenings, and non alcoholic beverages (soda and sparkling water) at any time. You are welcome to bring any additional alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages that you like. You may bring any quantity of beverages, we only ask that beer come in cans (wine and liquor in glass bottles is ok). We have a cooler and system to keep you beverages cold, accessible, and intact during your river trip. You can find a decent selection of beer, wine and liquor in Stanley or Salmon. This is a good thing to do on the afternoon before the trip when you arrive in town.

What is your cancelation policy?

Please review our Reservation and Cancelation Policy page. 

Our trips are small and personable so they fill fast.

Salmon River Rafting Trip Reviews

Contact Details

Solitude River Trips

P.O. Box 696 |  Salmon, ID 83467
+1 (208) 806-1218
solitude@rivertrips.com

           Orvis Endorsed since 2003

salmon river float trips