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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for a DIY 4 to 5 day raft trip in 2022 for a Dads, daughters (15 year olds) trip. 6 of us total. The more wilderness, or away from roads and towns, the better. We would be camping along the River and looking to keep the white water rating at class III or less. I have explored the possibilities of the Smith River, San Juan, Green, and Salmon but it looks like they all require tough to pull lottery permits, unless you hire a guide. We will put in for permits but looking for an alternative in case we don’t draw. I have done some research on the Yellowstone River, Jefferson, Big Hole, Flathead, Clark Fork, as well as the non permit area of the Salmon. Looking for GREAT mountain scenery, canyons a plus! Probably looking for 50 to 70 miles worth of River. Anybody have a River they would suggest or a particular section of one of the rivers I’ve mentioned that would meet our requirements?
 

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Since you researched mt...yellowstone is roadside so scratch that. Big hole not a great candidate either. Flathead has a couple options for sure. M.f. would and is awesome but has a few logistical problems and would be a mission with solid class 3/4 skills. At least to run through bear wilderness. If it was me and I was doing montana I think I'd do north fork flathead. Even though it's not a whitewater trip it's a pretty trip with good camping and since your coming so far you could plan a two week trip and do a n.f. camp trip and m.f. day trips and do the park and do ice cream and bumper boats and tourist stuff. Be aware the n.f. gets boney up near Canada earlier and that's the prettiest part. So early July is better than late at least for water. If you wanted a strictly whitewater trip I'd think the lower salmon non permit section was best. I've unfortunately never done it though but it sounds fun. Me and my 15 yr old daughter did a 4 day n.f and did tandem ducky m f. Runs and Summitted a peak in the park and it's a highlight of my life. Beware though that montana is completely over run with tourists now and expect all that goes along with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for responses guys! We are locked into summer months as all our kids are athletes and have track in the spring, Volleyball in the late summer and fall And basketball of some sort year around. The North Fork of the Flathead sounds like a great option. I’ve paddled enough River I could probably get down a 3/4 but we have one family with very little paddling under their belt so Bear Wilderness is not an option. When they agreed to go, I promised we’d all come home. My family did a Glacier trip 3 years ago and did the touristy stuff, did a few hikes and did a half day white water trip. Kinda what made my daughter want to do this trip. That trip also made me aware of how over run that area gets with tourists and made me appreciate the need of these permits nobody Likes to have to try to draw. Do either of you have any experience with the Salmon above Corn Creek, where no permit is required? Pichecharlie, It’s awesome your daughter wants to do those things with you! Both blessed. In that area! My daughter asked ME to do this trip. Her words were, ”Dad could we do a trip like the movie, River Wild, without the gauntlet or Kevin Bacon?” She talked 2 friends and their dads into going and I said I’d find the place.
 

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Lots of info on the salmon online and here. I think it would be ideal. Warm and pool drop and free. I've heard it can be crowded and camps become harder but I've never heard anyone i actually know say anything other than it's really fun and a great big group camp float. Hopefully the guys who do it will chime in with real world advice. I want to but have been waiting on my little daughter to get a bit older . She's 7 and doesn't swim that well yet lol. I'd say that's your go ! I think there two rapids in there that are serious enough to scout or maybe have a little kid walk or help a new rower maybe shuttle their boat. Others will tell us I hope. My neighbors do it every summer and hoot and holler about it but their kids are older and they have a giant group. They love playing volleyball and doing big camp stuff. They have had swimmers but they also sent there 17 year old down on a s u.p. so can't be to terrifying? As allways do your due diligence and as allways over prepare for safety and I think they will love it. I have three daughters and they are kinda girlie but they allways wax nostalgia over our river trips and scary dad stuff. Gotta love em !!
 

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John Day, Grande Ronde, Deschutes permits are easy to get although it can be really crowded, Lower Main Salmon, Flathead.

Even though they're generally class II-III rivers it's still important to have swiftwater and first aid training, especially if you're going to be TL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
John Day and Grande Ronde are 2 Rivers I had not looked at. They look beautiful and seem to be just what we’re looking for. Long ways from home, but like I said, we would consider anything in the lower 48. Probably once in a lifetime trip, at least for our particular group all going together, so we want to do it right! The suggestion of the North Fork of the Flathead looks like a great option as well.
 

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Hopefully some one with detail knowledge will post more on the Salmon River above the Middle Fork and Main Salmon junction.

I have driven 93 Hwy from Challis down to North Fork store and then down to Corn Creek Access. Looks like a lot of good options for day floats or possible multi days. All look like easy class 1 or 2 floats. All my scouting was from the road. May well be some hidden rapids not viewable from the road.

Any one out there done floats on these sections?
 

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I wouldn’t give up on Deso as it’s a great family trip. If you pick a launch range of a few days, there is a very high chance of a late cancellation. You can always do the Green down lower in Labyrinth/ Stillwater if the permit doesn’t materialize.
 

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The Salmon from Salmon to Corn Creek is pretty awesome. We launched at Red Bluff I think about seven miles from Salmon. I nearly died of heatstroke with 108 temps in June. Good thing there's a river. I spent an hour in it one evening. But I don't do heat well.
Of course cows ran thru the river in the first mile doing the pooping and pissing while they run gig. Big chunks of private property along both sides in places. One stretch has very little camping, but there are some islands too. We got lucky and had some great camps including one roadside. There are very few places where you away from the road but for the most part it wasn't a bother. With everyone and their dog thinking they need to camp who knows what the use scene there is. This trip was a few years ago.

 

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After I posted the album I thought about and I did whole thread on it. A little more info and pics in order here.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Carvedog! Looks like an awesome trip!! Is it normal to have that warm of daytime temps in the summer along the Salmon River, or did you hit an unusually hot week? I’m not a big fan of heat either. This was one of the sections I was specifically looking at as an option. Is there anything above Red Rock to squeeze an extra day out of the trip? Thanks for sharing the photos!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'll throw out the New River from Bluestone Dam to Cunard where the Gorge starts. After that you can do a guided trip in the gorge or on the Gauley.
That looks like a fun trip! What do you recommend for time of the year? Do flows remain consistent?
 
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