It is hard to feel any stress on the Main Salmon; excitement for sure, but rarely stress. Once we launch, the whole place seems to stimulate relaxation. The water is warm, (except early in the season), the rapids are fun, (big waves, not a lot of rocks) and the scenery is vast and wonder-inducing, (grand mountains with giant pine trees and a clear side stream at almost every bend). Plus there is a one-of-a-kind, natural hotsprings that melts even the most uptight left-brainers. But it is far from boring: there are hills to climb, ranches to explore, pictographs to view, trails to hike, fish to catch, stories to hear and stars to see. The excitement comes from the small inflatable kayaks that we bring: the adventurous can run the rapids; the not-yet-adventurous can paddle themselves through the calm stretches and explore the river’s edge (and their own limits). Six days on Idaho’s Main Salmon are like a year of Chamomile tea and lavender candles.
More about the Main Salmon River
The Salmon River springs forth from the high lakes and snowfields of the spectacular Sawtooth Mountain Range in central Idaho. Descending steeply at first, the river heads in a northerly direction through the dry, bare rock “Upper Gorge” before entering the fertile Salmon River Valley. A few miles north of the town of Salmon, the river turns abruptly west and heads into the beautiful and remote Frank Church Wilderness Area and the section known as the River of No Return.
Our trips begin where the road ends at Corn Creek, and finish where the road ends at Carey Creek. Here the river alternates between stretches of lively whitewater and sections of peaceful current, providing a balance of excitement and relaxation. Each day is filled with fascinating things to see and interesting places to explore. Clear, cascading sidestreams, natural hotsprings, Native American artwork, abandoned mines, decaying homesteads, and plenty of wildlife are just a few of the attractions.
Our trips are designed to allow us ample time to explore the canyon’s many fascinating historical sites as well as to enjoy the on-river excitement that the river offers. Early season trips are scheduled for 5 days because the water is high and fast, allowing us to cover more miles each day without losing any off-river time for exploration. Later in the summer the river is a bit tamer, warmer, and slower, and 6 days are needed to enjoy the entire canyon. A late July or August Main Salmon trip is one of the greatest family vacation trips available.