General Idaho Salmon River Rafting Info? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
 
No. Ogden, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2014
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General Idaho Salmon River Rafting Info?

Hi folks,


I hate making posts in true newb fashion asking a question that has probably been answered a hundred times, but there are countless very specific threads about this or that and enough searching is enough. If you know the exact posts that have this info please link me to it below. Sorry.


The questions:


I have 2 multi day trips on the Gates of Lodore, and one lap day through the Snake River above Alpine WY. That's the extent of my experience running my own oar boat (both Lodore trips class V's), and riding along on the Snake. I'm a novice with some much needed improvements to my raft/new raft before I take on anything more serious or lengthy... that said...


There's this river system that I've heard about, up in Idaho, called the Salmon River. Not sure if anyone here has heard of it (heavy sarcasm), but the few folks I've asked about it have given basically no info on it. Hopefully you can help.


Things I know about it:

1. I've traveled through Stanley and seen the headwaters, it's beautiful.
2. It has a Middle Fork, a South Fork (and possibly other forks?).
3. You need a permit and they're "harder to get" than the Green River.
4. There is a good guide book for the river, as any river would have.
5. It's dangerous and remote, like many rivers.

That's it!


What I'm asking is:
In one generalized post, here, could someone give an overall general synopsis of where the rafting starts, common put ins, takeouts, suggestions, permit acquisition difficulty/ratio, high water, low water, distances, numbers of days needed for x stretches, if there are any areas you can raft sans permit, designated camps vs. open to camp wherever, etc... Just a place to start from really. The things you'd tell a guy who said "I've got a boat, with some friends who have boats, a sense of adventure and want to raft the Salmon River of Idaho, where should I start?"


Thanks a bunch!


Jeremy A.
Ogden UT

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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
 
No. Ogden, Utah
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Naturally I'll be starting with a book. But anything that real people could offer up in a conversation would definitely help a lot!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
Never enough free time
 
Red Lodge, Montana
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https://www.recreation.gov/permits/234623
https://www.recreation.gov/permits/234622

There are trips to be done both above and below (google "lower salmon") the permitted section of the Main.

Start there and come back with specific questions. Not trying to be snarky but you are asking more than you even realize right now. Good luck!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
 
No. Ogden, Utah
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That was actually way helpful!



I've never entered the lottery, been meaning to, but other family members have been taking care of it til now. Looks like there is tons of info on there. I'll get into it and come back if there's any other questions.



Thanks for helping out!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy A View Post
The things you'd tell a guy who said "I've got a boat, with some friends who have boats, a sense of adventure and want to raft the Salmon River of Idaho, where should I start?"
Probably put in at Yankee Fork and float to Torreys. 13 miles. Access easily marked. Good warm up float for someone new to Idaho. Then go on down to the Spring Bar section and float down to Corn Creek. That could be two days if you want. Not sure the mileage. Definitely bumps up a level.

Just a start.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Bellevue, Idaho
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This might help too.

https://raftingthewest.com/

Go to the Main Salmon

https://raftingthewest.com/rp-Salmon-River.htm

If you click on the google map insert look to the top right and you can get full screen and start seeing access. Mostly to permitted rivers.

The Lower Salmon ( has a couple of 4s ) is a self issue permit maybe. And could be fun though hot.

Good luck.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
 
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salmon, Idaho
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there are about 150 miles of floatable main salmon river above corn creek "put in for permitted section. There are endless options for put ins and take outs. there are around 30 boat ramps between just challis and corn creek. as the river drops the upper stretch is less of an option. You can customize any of this to be a class 2 booze cruise to a big splashy stretch with some class 4 stuff. This is all roadside for the most part and no assigned camping with nice non designated campsites. along with a bunch of campgrounds.

There are probably at least another 100 miles of salmon river below the permitted section "vinegar creek ramp" kind of the same story except there is a multi day lower salmon that is not road side and you are committed until Heller bar or eagle Creek "Eagle creek not recommended".
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
 
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
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General Overview

Its a huge river with many, many boating opportunities. There are three popular multi-day runs. Starting with the Middle Fork, which is super difficult permit to draw. It has the overall best combination of whitewater, scenery and Wilderness.



The Middle Fork runs into the Main Salmon, which also requires a permit (that is slightly easier to come by). The Main has a lot less whitewater, and also has a much less wild character as there is heavy jet boat traffic on much of the river, and lots of private land with houses, vehicles, etc. The scenery is still nice, but not as dramatic as the Middle Fork.



The other multi-day section is the Lower. No permit is required, but it has even less whitewater than the Main. It also has completely unrestricted jet boat use and super long sections of flat water. While it is fairly scenic, you'll also be floating through lots of cow pastures.



The South Fork is another multi-day section, but it is for expert boaters only. At high flows it is class V, at low flows it is super technical and difficult. It also has complicated logistics.



There is a class III day stretch around the town of Riggins on the West side of central Idaho (below the Main, but above the Lower), and there are several roadside day streatches above the Main, between Corn Creek and Challis on the East side of central Idaho. You really need an Idaho guidebook to get into more detail on these day stretches.


Since the river is so long, and so much of it is surrounded by Wilderness, it is a super long drive to get from the lower reaches of the river to the upper reaches. For day trips, its probably best to either focus on the area around the town of Salmon, or around the town of Riggins. The area around Salmon has a shorter season. The Riggins section can be run year round.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
 
No. Ogden, Utah
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This is all FANTASTIC info! Exactly what I was hoping to find out. Thanks for being willing to share.



In a couple of weeks we're going to do our first Sawtooth Mountain camp and exploration up near Stanley somewhere. Hope to hike around some alpine lakes and such. Maybe we'll venture NE of Stanley and recon a little bit of the river for a ways.



It might be a bit before I get serious about rafting any of the Salmon, but it feels like it's a bit more like something I could get myself into now that the mystery is beginning to fade.


Got to love Idaho!


Thanks again gang. Keep it coming! And any pictures are always appreciated too!


Jeremy
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
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If I can pull a mini hijack...

I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find information about those sections on the upper salmon that hold white water/rapids/splashy fun. I’ve fished those waters a lot when I was younger, but using a boat to chase fall/winter/spring (lowest water of the year) steelhead is different from intentionally running the rapids in late spring/summer.

I’m thinking there must be two main rapid section on the upper river; between Stanley and challis (sunbeam/yankee fork), and from about shoup to panther creek (pine creek bridge). Is that correct, or am I offbase? Could someone chime in on those sections and any need to know information? I realize all of this can be road scouted. But that’s a long drive to do with out a decent plan.

Thanks and my apologies if the information is already available (but it eluded me). Also apologies for the thread hi-jacking.
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