The Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Welcome to the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 States! The Middle Fork of the Salmon River freely flows for over 100 miles through the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
Known for its scenic beauty, numerous hot-springs, crystal clear whitewater, and world class fishing, the Middle Fork is internationally recognized as one of the premier multi-day floats in the U.S. Tumbling from alpine forest to high mountain desert before rushing through the aptly named Impassable Canyon, the Middle Fork astounds each day with changing climate zones, geology, and vistas.
A designated Wild and Scenic River, The Middle Fork is preserved as a free-flowing, non-motorized floating experience with catch-and-release fishing regulations. On the whitewater front, a consistent supply of technical class III and IV rapids offer boating excitement for families and experienced boaters alike.
Off the water, history abounds with Native American pictographs scattered throughout the corridor and legacy left from turn-of-the-century homesteaders and miners. Amazing day hikes, waterfalls, and catered camp life round out the experience!
5-6 Day Premier, Wilderness Float Trips
Boundary Expeditions offers premier, whitewater wilderness float trips on the incredible Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Fully catered journeys welcome you in camp each evening to spacious tents, comfortable cots topped with river mattress, gourmet dutch oven cooking, and a fully stocked river bar.
Active days on the water tackle thrilling whitewater from a variety of river craft. From our fondly dubbed “Princess Boats” to charging hard in a nimble paddle boat, there’s something for everyone. On select trips, our custom-built fishing rafts deliver an outstanding fly-fishing experience.
Day hikes, Native American pictographs, natural hot-springs, waterfalls, abandoned homesteads, and every changing dramatic scenery fill each day with land-based adventures as well.
Professionally and safely guiding you through it all is our incredible guide crew. Truly professional and personable individuals, our guides bring a wealth of river, guiding, and outdoor industry experience to Boundary Expeditions. All BE guides are Wilderness First Responder and Swift Water Rescue trained. Many of our guides are EMTs and work in a variety of off-season medical capacities from emergency rooms to ski patrol. Ready smiles, a passion for wilderness rivers, and a love of sharing this place with our guests are all prerequisites for guiding at Boundary Expeditions.
Charter trip options allow for custom personalization of the trip to include amenities such as a masseuse, yoga/wellness instructor, live band, or themed trips to include focus on wellness, fly-fishing, hiking & fitness, or ladies-only trips.
No matter the trip, our ethos of sustainability, education, and a deep respect for the wilderness lands we operate in shines strong!
Your Journey and How to Get There
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River flows south to north through the middle of Idaho. The incredibly scenic mountain town of Stanley (pop. 70) is the nearest town to the headwaters of the river. Stanley sits at the base of the jagged Sawtooth Mountains and Wilderness Area.
At the tail-end of your journey, you’ll arrive in the ranching and fishing town of Salmon (pop. 3000) where Boundary Expeditions’ boathouse and base of operations are located.
The starting point of your trip and launch point on the Middle Fork are largely dictated by water levels, road conditions, and weather. These are variables that change year by year and are difficult to predict. As you plan for your Middle Fork trip, we will let you know where your trip will start.
- Early season trips typically start in Stanley, ID, followed by a bus ride to the launch point – Boundary Creek.
- Later season trips typically start in Salmon, ID, followed by a short flight to a backcountry airstrip and launch point – Indian Creek.
- All trips take off the water at Cache Bar, followed by a bus ride back to the Boundary Expeditions boathouse in Salmon.
A DAY ON THE RIVER
Mastering the Art of 3 MPH
Our motto, “Mastering the art of 3 MPH,” sums up our river philosophy: Slow down and move at the pace of nature! This time on the river is a gift, an opportunity to unplug, slow down, and soak up every moment.
That being said, we do adhere to a general schedule that keeps us arriving at our camp on time each day.
A typical day on the river looks a lot like this:
- 6 am – hot coffee, tea, cocoa, and light morning continental bar available
- 8 am – hot breakfast served from the griddle
- 8-10 am – camp pack, morning hike, yoga, free time
- 10 am – on the water
- 10-Noon – river time
- Noon – lunch on the riverbank
- Afternoon – back on the water, side attractions, short hikes, etc.
- 4-5 pm – arrive in camp
- Evening free for fishing, hiking, campfire time, games, etc.
- 7 pm – gourmet dinner served from a dutch oven
- Campfire and river bar open till late
While the daily schedule remains fairly consistent, every day is different depending on miles floated, side attractions available, rapids, and weather. Some days we might have hot-spring soaks, and other days we might embark on a scramble to one of the Middle Fork’s “Magical Moments.” The sure consistency through it all is we are going to have an amazing time!
How to Pack for Success
Seasoned outdoors persons in Idaho know that weather in the mountainous regions can be inherently unpredictable and can change in an instant. While we provide quality tents, sleeping bags, and cots to keep you warm and dry at night, we strongly encourage you to pack carefully to ensure you have the essentials to keep yourself comfortable through a variety of weather conditions from cool and wet, to hot and dry.
Weather in June is typically the most volatile, often bringing a smattering of rain showers. Temps can range from nearly freezing to dive-in-the-river-hot. We strongly suggest bringing a dry-suit for all June trips. Dry suit rental information below.
July is when summer comes into its own. Great for jumping into the river, but afternoon thundershowers could happen at any time, often dropping several degrees in temperature.
August days are typically hot with nights getting longer and cooler toward the end of the month. September trips can be such a delight as fall colors settle in and the canyon is still and quiet. Expect cool nights.
Below are our suggested packing lists for early season and main season trips. Keep in mind that synthetics and quick dry materials are your friend. Cottons are comfortable for camp in dry conditions.