ARTA River Trips - Image Art

The Middle Fork of the Salmon

100 miles of heaven (plus hotsprings!)

For right-brained people

rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon river in IdahoThere is so much to do on a Middle Fork of the Salmon trip that you may need to go more than once, and a lot of people do; (and, because it is a free-flowing river with dramatic changes in flow between June and August, those who do return feel like it is a different place). Where do we begin? The whitewater is amazing, not just in difficulty but also in consistency: the whole river is like a continuous, frolicking riffle interrupted by a couple of noteworthy pulse-quickeners every day; an uncommon arrangement thanks to some unique geology, (the river flows due north). The water itself is stunning; “gin-clear” is the expression a lot of people use but it seems inadequate. Let’s just say you can see fish swimming around at the bottom of 20 foot deep pools. Lots of fish, in fact, which is why the Middle Fork is world-renowned for its fly-fishing; beginner or expert you will be spoiled. The scenery has something for everyone; dense forests to start, dramatic cliffs to end, photogenic views all along. Then there are enchanting side streams, fascinating Indian rock art, abandoned homesteads, easy trails and a spectacular waterfall on day 5 that almost tops all the other attractions. And hotsprings! In one day you can run a legitimate Class IV rapid, visit 800 year old pictographs, hike up a pristine side stream, soak in a hotsprings, see a bighorn sheep and catch an 18-inch cutthroat trout on a dry fly; (and some people have done the last three at the same time).

""My husband and I recently returned from an ARTA trip on the Middle Fork. We were with two children and five grandchildren. The trip was a 50th wedding anniversary present from our children. We had a wonderful time. It was perfectly organized. The guides were knowledgeable about the history, flora, fauna and geology of the area. They were aware of us at all times; life jackets buckled, helmets on properly, swimming safely. Their skill in navigating the river and rapids was extraordinary. I never felt a moment of fear. On top of all this, they were great cooks, always cheerful and entertaining. Their perfect organization was almost unbelievable. I will always recommend ARTA to anyone. Thanks for a marvelous experience. I obviously can't stop talking about it!"

Juliet Guerlin


For left-brained people:

  • The Middle Fork in one word:
  • Classic
  • In another word:
  • Everything
  • Best known for:
  • Hotsprings! (and fishing)
  • No other trip has:
  • So much
  • Expect to:
  • Become immersed
  • You can also:
  • Visit Yellowstone
  • Signature Rapid:
  • Impassable Canyon
  • Types of boats:
  • Oar, paddle & inflatable kayaks
  • Meeting Place:
  • Stanley, ID
  • Length in days: 6
  • Length in miles: 100
  • Overall difficulty: IV-
  • Highest difficulty (#): IV (6)
  • Rapids/day: ~ 20
  • Gradient: 27 feet/mile
  • Rapids:spacer4 1/2 stars
  • Scenery:spacer5 stars
  • Wilderness: 5 stars
  • Swimming:spacer4 stars
  • Hiking:spacer5 stars
  • Campsites:spacer4 1/2 stars
  • Wildlife:spacer4 1/2 stars
  • Fishing:spacer5+ stars
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    Sockeye Salmon

    Sockeye Salmon -
    (Oncorhynchus nerka) - "Sockeye" is a mispronunciation of “suk-kegh”, a Native American word for “red fish" and the wild sockeye of Idaho's Middle Fork Salmon swim over 900 miles from the ocean, through eight reservoirs and to over 6,500 feet above sea level in order to reach their home waters; farther, higher and past more dams than any other stock of fish in the world.