Traversing from east to west across nearly the entire state of Idaho, the Main Salmon River slices through one of America’s famed wilderness landscapes. The river’s reputation for deep canyons, rugged terrain, and challenging whitewater rapids originally gave the area the name “River of No Return Wilderness.” Today, modern-day adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts prize the river’s gentle, yet exciting, character as one of the most memorable multi-day rafting trips in the world.
In over 15 years of river guiding and international paddling trips, I had never floated the Main Salmon River. Until last summer. So many incredible multi-day river trips can be found throughout the Western United States. I asked, why should I spend a week on the Main Salmon River?
Here are just a few reasons that I discovered.
- Beaches. Big, white, sandy beaches for camping, playing games, and digging in one’s toes with a happy hour beverage in hand.
- Swimming. Hot Idaho summer days combine with perfectly cool (dare we say warm?) water that will entice you to literally immerse yourself in for play or relaxation.
- Big-water class III whitewater. The Main Salmon is a high-volume river with waves and features that induce roller coaster reactions from all boaters.
- Hot Tub hot springs. No ordinary riverside hot springs. This one is perched on a hillside, hand-constructed from rocks, and flows at the perfect temperature.
- Extra options for river play. The character of the class III whitewater and meandering river allow for many forms of river play. Enjoy riding in rafts, paddling an inflatable kayak or stand-up paddle board through rapids or just in calm pools around camp, or get personalized kayak instruction for your trip on the Main Salmon River.
That is just the beginning. The river’s historic role in river exploration and remote homesteading weaves stories into each day of your 6-day trip as you create your own wilderness stories. And while the rapids’ can be enjoyed by kids, they thrill and excite even the most seasoned river rafters.
With six days on the water, I found that I could really sink into the experience. My senses tuned to the slight movement of bighorn sheep on shore, or the faint smell of a hot springs vent. I swam and played every chance I got. And the whole time, I felt like I was simply scratching the surface.
Idaho’s Main Salmon River will remain at the top of my list, especially as my husband and I begin to take our daughter out on the rivers. I can’t wait to share this place with my family and continue to discover new secrets within those canyon walls.
I hope you can see what I mean for yourself. River trips really can’t be explained on your computer screens. They each have their own identities, their own surprises, their own value. I’m happy to have discovered the Main Salmon and begin to know it as one of my favorite multi-day river trips in the west.
Join Wet Planet on the Main Salmon River this summer to discover this incredible place with your friends and family!