Why you need to experience the Salmon River

The Salmon River received the special designation of a "Wild and Scenic" river in 1980. With a length of 425 miles, it is also the longest undamned river in the lower 48 states. For rafting and kayaking, that means huge swells in the spring and water features that are constantly evolving. The Main Salmon, as it's known colloquially, is on a lot of bucket lists, but you don't have to receive a permit and be a skilled river runner to experience its majesty.

Rafting the Salmon River without a permit

If you're planning to raft or kayak the Main Salmon from Corn Creek to Riggins, you'll need a permit. That's a life-changing weeklong trip, and many rafters stay with us at River's Fork Lodge the night before putting in at Corn Creek. However, if you're not quite ready to commit to a week on the river, we can recommend several day trips for all skill levels.

The Salmon River for beginners

Never rafted or kayaked or paddle boarded or been on a river? No problem. The ten miles of river that precedes North Fork doesn't have any rapids and is similar to a lazy river that you'd see at a water park... except it's not wall to wall traffic of other peoples' feet rubbing up against your head and kids getting stuck underneath your tube. Instead, you'll be spoiled with the soothing sounds of the river and sightings of bighorn sheep, eagles, and ospreys. For most, the hardest part is getting off the river, but we make that easy because the take-out is conveniently located on our property. This stretch is popular for families and big groups that are looking to cool off on a hot summer day by renting our sit-on-top kayaks or stand up paddle boards (SUPs).

The Salmon River for intermediates

If you have some river experience and you're looking for a combination of chill vibes and fun waves, the ten miles starting at our beach and ending at the boat ramp just beyond the Indianola Ranger Station will provide a combination of thrills and smiles. The first few miles are very slow and feature some great spots to jump in and swim, but the last six miles have some fun wave trains, drops, and bends that speed up the journey. If you're planning to take the kids on this stretch, we'd recommend renting a raft or a tandem inflatable kayak.

Some bigger rapids

For the seasoned river runners that are looking for more action, we'd recommend the 29 miles between Spring Creek and Corn Creek. This is traditionally an overnight trip that offers a lot of nice beach camping between big rapids like Pine Creek Rapids (mile 3.6), Dutch Oven Rapids (mile 7.7), Ebenezer Rapids (aka Kitchen Sink, mile 17.1), and Long Tom Rapids (mile 20.8). For most, this is a guided trip, and we'd be happy to recommend a good outfitter who will help take your trip to the next level.

Float and stay at River's Fork Lodge

When you stay three or more nights at River's Fork Lodge, we'll provide you with free access to our kayaks, tubes, and paddle boards. If you want to experience the best of the Salmon River followed by a peaceful night's rest next to it, look no further.