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Visit Salmon, Idaho and Find Adventure

Salmon, Idaho is the home of Solitude River Trips, and is the base for our Middle Fork Salmon River rafting and fly fishing operations. We have grown to love this bustling small town and all of its quirks, and are excited to introduce visitors to the wide range of activities they can find here. We’ve compiled a list of things to do and see when you visit Salmon, Idaho. There is always more to do than meets the eye!

Walk the historic and picturesque Main Street and do some shopping at local stores. When you visit Salmon, Idaho make sure and check out Jaxonbilt for the perfect river hat, Arfman’s for stylish outdoor apparel, Mountain Harvest for local foods and gear, and the Salmon River Fly Box for all your fly fishing needs.

Take a hike – visit nearby Discovery Hill, offering 32 miles of trails for hikers and bikers. You’ll have amazing views of town below and the Beaverhead Mountains overhead. Visitors to the area can also walk portions of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and experience a landscape largely unchanged since the Corps of Discovery passed through the area in 1805.

A thing to do in Salmon, Idaho is to witness spring in the Beaverhead Mountains.

The majestic Beaverhead Mountains.

Visit the Lemhi County Museum on Main Street and learn the history of Salmon and stories from generations of river users and explorers alike. They also have a large collection of Shoshone artifacts, educating visitors about the people who came before us. There is a lot learn when you visit Salmon, Idaho!

Salmon is known as the birthplace of Sacajawea. After being kidnapped at age 12 by an enemy tribe and forced to leave her home, she was finally able to travel back through her birthplace with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805. You can visit the Sacajawea Center in Salmon to learn more about her incredible resiliency and her immense historical importance. There are usually special events including indoor and outdoor concerts, annual historical events, dutch-oven cookouts, festivals, kids summer camps, and family historical programs throughout the months of summer and early autumn. Visitors can also enjoy the scenic walking trails of the beautiful 71-acre park.

Visit Salmon, Idaho and learn about the birthplace of Sacajawea.

Sacajawea and her son, Jean Baptiste, who both made the journey to the Pacific Ocean and back.

The town of Salmon recently invested in a man-made surf wave located in the center of town where the Salmon River flows under the bridge of highway 93. Head out to Island Park in the middle of the river and enjoy the scenery and tranquility. You might be able to watch kayakers or surfers playing in the wave as well.  

If you’re lucky and your time in Salmon happens to coincide with a show at the Sweet Water Hollow music venue, make sure you get tickets and check it out! Sweet Water is one of the most scenic music venues ever, nestled right along the Salmon River, with an eclectic bar, a variety of food trucks, and comfortable riverside areas to take in the music and the beauty. 

If you’re hoping for some A/C and a comfortable place to relax back into modern life after your trip, you can see what movies are playing at The River Cinemas on Main Street. Prices are cheap and the popcorn is buttery!

Idaho is known for its abundance of wonderful natural hot springs, and Salmon definitely lives up to this reputation. Check out Sharkey Hot Springs, just 25 miles south of town. Man-made pools are filled with natural mineral hot springs in this modest but well-designed establishment. If you’re looking for something even more rustic, visit Gold Bug Hot Springs located 23 miles south of Salmon on highway 93. From the trailhead, it’s a two mile hike to the rock pool hot spring. The trail starts off relatively mellow, but definitely gets steep, totaling 1,325 feet in elevation gain. But of course, it’s all worth it once you’re soaking in some of the most fantastic natural hot springs in the state!

Visiting Goldbug hot springs is one of the most rewarding things to do in Salmon, Idaho.

The crystalline waters of Goldbug Hot Springs.

The Salmon Valley Golf Course offers reasonably priced golf and rentals on an incredibly enjoyable 9 hole course. It’s a real treat for golf enthusiasts accustomed to high prices and busy tee-times. The course is simple yet engaging and features stunning views of the Beaverhead Mountains. There is also a pro-shop, bar and restaurant.

The Pins and Tips Bowling Alley offers four lanes of classic amusement along with a delicious restaurant and bar. Head there the evening after your trip with all of your new river friends for some good-old-fashioned fun. 

If you want to get out of town and into the mountains by car, you can head to either Williams or Wallace Lake, both just outside of Salmon. To get to Williams Lake, drive 15 miles south on Hwy 93 and Forest Road 028. You’ll find a small and quaint resort, and also a picnic area and campground run by the forest service. Here, you’ll be amazed by the fantastic rainbow trout fishing in the lake as well as the inlet, with a backdrop of mountain vistas. There is also a trailhead for the Thunder Mountain National Historic Trail at the end of FR 028. Wallace Lake is more remote and slightly more difficult to access, but also offers amazing fly fishing and camping or picnicking opportunities. From Salmon, go 3 miles north on US 93, 14 miles northwest on Forest Road 023, and 4 miles south on FR 020. The forest roads are unpaved and rough. The drive on Salmon River Mountain Road offers fantastic views of the Salmon River Range and of deep pine forests. The lake itself is crystal clear and full of a variety of native trout. 

visit Wallace lake to do some fly fishing

Fly fishing at Wallace Lake.

As you’ll learn on your trip with Solitude, Idaho is chock full of mining history. If your interest in this rough and remote past-time continues off the river, you can visit some of the historic mining ghost towns in the area. The town of Gilmore is located a little over 60 miles south of Salmon. Silver miners in the 1880s settled in Gilmore. At its peak, there were 600 people in the town, but by the 1930s it had essentially been abandoned. Today, the town is a popular destination for those interested in exploring abandoned buildings and ghost towns. Leesburg is another remote ghost town located about 30 miles west of Salmon in the Salmon National Forest. Estimates of the value of gold removed from its mines are as high as $40 million. By the end of World War II, the last remaining residents of the town moved to more comfortable surroundings turning Leesburg into a real ghost town. Not much remains except a few decaying cabins and piles of boulders.

If you have ample time to explore the area before or after your trip, you and your group could embark on a backpacking trip into the Bighorn Crags in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area located 60 miles west of Salmon. The drive is a little over 2 hours on dirt roads that take you deep into the mountains. The crags are a unique area of high alpine lakes existing at or around 8,000 feet, with surrounding spires as tall as 10,000 feet. The main trailhead at Crags Campground offers access to dozens of miles of trails taking users to pristine lakes full of native trout. It is an anglers paradise, but anyone and everyone will enjoy the beauty of the relatively untouched wilderness. You might recognize the names of several of the lakes and creeks from your trip down the Middle Fork, such as Ship Island, Wilson and Waterfall. These waterways are all tributaries to the Middle Fork and flow straight into the canyon.

visit the lakes of the big horn crags

Birdbill Lake, one of the many high alpine lakes you can hike to in the Bog Horn Crags.

We are proud to call Salmon, Idaho home, and hope to support our community by bringing interested visitors through the many engaging activities here. We look forward to seeing you next time you visit Salmon, Idaho!