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Starting at $2,295

Main Salmon River Idaho Kayak Trip



6 DAYS | 80 MILES August 17-22, 2024
  • all ages icon

    Ages: 12+

  • beginner rapid class icon

    Difficulty: Class III

  • meal provided icon
    Includes: All meals and group camping gear
Download Trip Guide

Includes trip overview, packing list, and travel logistics

Kayak Down Idaho’s River of No Return

This incredible wilderness stretch of river is a great place for intermediate kayakers to develop both river running and play-boating skills. Over the course of six days and 80 miles, Wet Planet instructors will work with you to improve your skills and provide constant support. Rafts will assist the trip by carrying all personal gear, food, and camping equipment, allowing you to focus on the incredible experience of an Idaho multi-day kayaking course.

We invite you to join us for a 6-day kayaking adventure on the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states. We like to think of it as a Full Immersion Kayak Instruction Vacation.”

Thrilling Whitewater, Hot Springs, and a Perfect Kayaking Adventure

Transport yourself into the mountains and true wilderness of Idaho’s Main Salmon River, where big water splashes, warm sandy beaches, and rugged scenery fill your multi-day kayaking expedition. The Main Salmon River weaves a story of early explorers, deep wilderness, and a free-flowing river for an amazing six days of paddling. Flowing through Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return wilderness area, the largest tract of protected wild landscape in the lower 48 states, the Main Salmon’s Class III big-water rapids and sandy beaches provide an escape for any kind of adventure seeker.

Protected as a Wild and Scenic River since 1980, the Salmon River watershed is one of the last great free-flowing rivers in the West. Even Lewis and Clark could not penetrate the deep canyon on their river expeditions to the Pacific Ocean. Today, our six-day kayaking trips will journey into this same canyon with luxuries that Lewis and Clark couldn’t have even imagined.

A multi-day kayaking trip on the Main Salmon River combines big and friendly whitewater rapids, warm water, rugged wilderness scenery, natural hot springs, and Wet Planet’s characteristic exceptional instructors and service.

Wildlife and Historical Tales on the Main Salmon River

The Main Salmon River multi-day river trip explores 80 miles of central Idaho’s rough and remote terrain. Bighorn sheep, black bears, moose, eagles, river otters, and more call these canyon walls their home.

This Eden has also lured intrepid explorers for centuries. Instructors and guides will tell tales of the travelers who sought fortune and solitude along the river. Hiking to the scattered historic cabins and ranches hints at the collection of characters who were determined to live out their days along this grand river corridor.

Difficulty Level

Class III; Intermediate – Please refer to our Skill Level Overview to determine if your skills meet the difficulty of the trip, and give us a call if you have any questions prior to signing up. This trip is specifically for hardshell whitewater kayakers. If you have never kayaked before, consider joining the 6-day rafting trip, where you can paddle an inflatable kayak!

Make your next vacation a multi-day kayaking trip on Idaho’s famed Main Salmon River for exciting whitewater rapids, six days of paddling instruction, white sandy beaches, delicious food, and plenty of stories to take home.
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Main Salmon River Kayaking: A Typical Day

Kayaking on Idaho’s Main Salmon River is all about maximizing paddling time in the warm river. Warm summer days combine with fantastic Class III whitewater rapids and stretches of meandering calm water, allowing your instructors plenty of opportunities to help fine-tune your technique. By building upon skills every day, students find this kayak course to increase comfort levels on the river astronomically. Whitewater rapids, such as Rainier, Black Creek, and Chittam, put on a big show with large waves and boulders, while calm pools between rapids provide plenty of time for recovery.

This kayak adventure is supported by rafts, allowing us to travel with all of the camp luxuries and food found on a typical rafting trip. A lunch buffet, prepared by your five-star guides, restores your energy for more river play and enjoyment in the afternoon. Ready for a moment out of your kayak? Grab a stand-up paddleboard for one of the gentle river meanders, or take some time to relax in a raft.

Landing on a white sandy beach, your guides and instructors will provide camp comforts and exquisite meals while you relax by the river’s edge. There is always time for games of frisbee or bocce ball as you nibble on appetizers. Eagles soar in the skies while you enjoy your warm and tasty dinner prepared by your guides. The sun sets among the ponderosa pine tree groves and jagged mountain peaks as you sink deeper into the wilderness and the gentle lull of the river’s flow.

General Itinerary



Arrive in Salmon, Idaho, the day before your scheduled launch date and check in to your hotel. We will have a pre-trip meeting at 7:30 PM at the Stagecoach Inn the evening before your scheduled start date. See “Getting There” for detailed information on getting to Salmon. During the meeting, we will discuss the trip, check out gear, help with packing, cover any last-minute details, and answer any questions you may have.



Our shuttle vehicle will meet us in the morning at the Stagecoach Inn for our scenic drive to Corn Creek, our launch point on the Main Salmon River. From here, we’ll begin our journey into Idaho’s canyon landscape. We’ll hit exciting rapids our first afternoon, including Rainier Rapid and Alder Creek Rapid, washing away any weary travel vibes you may still be carrying. Pulling into the evening campsite, you’ll have the opportunity for short hikes, games, or just pure relaxation with a camp chair, a book, and your toes in the cool water. With beach games, a hearty dinner, stories by the fire, and a starry sky, we’ll all rest peacefully to await another great day on the water.



Each day will bring new sights and adventures, but our routine will be relaxed and predictable. Coffee and hot beverages will be served as you rise from the comfort of your tent, or from your sleeping spot beneath the stars. Rise and shine surrounded by pristine mountain scenery and the faint lull of the river’s flow. After a hot breakfast, the Wet Planet team will pack the rafts and prepare to launch for another day’s explorations. We’ll navigate through classic whitewater rapids, float and swim in serene stretches of meandering river, and even stop at hot springs. Days could include hikes through mountain meadows to see historic cabins from early settlers and rock drawings from ancient cultures. We’ll choose a cozy, shady spot for lunch to recharge our adventurous spirits. As the sun dips lower, we’ll pick our home for the night, balancing the need for shade during the hottest summer afternoons and more time playing in the river’s warmer water.



After a final tasty breakfast and a relaxing morning packing our bags at camp, we’ll push off for one more float through the Salmon River wilderness. Our final day brings the famous Chittam and Vinegar rapids — your last chance to demonstrate your improved paddling skills or take that front seat in the raft for a wet and wild ride. At the Spring Bar take-out, your guides and instructors will unload rafts while you change into dry clothes and prepare for your shuttle ride to McCall, Idaho. We’ll enjoy a final lunch together before saying goodbyes to each other and the magnificent Salmon River. A two-hour shuttle drive will take you out of the canyon to McCall, Idaho, where you will arrive in the late afternoon.

*Exact camp locations and daily river mileage will vary with water levels and river conditions

Make your next vacation a multi-day kayaking trip on Idaho’s famed Main Salmon River for exciting whitewater rapids, six days of paddling instruction, white sandy beaches, delicious food, and plenty of stories to take home.

Dates & Pricing

2024 Trip Dates

6-Day Main Salmon Kayak Trips: August 17-22

2025 Trip Dates

6-Day Main Salmon Trips: Please inquire

Please note: Some dates may be available as private charter launches for you and your family, friends, or work group. Please call the office to inquire! 


Standard: $2,295
With Kayak Rental: $2,495

Rafters (friends/family of kayakers)
Adult: $2,195
Youth (7-17): $1,895

What’s Provided

  • Transportation to the river from Salmon on the first morning of the trip
  • All meals on the river, from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day
  • Rafts, guides, and kayak instructors
  • River equipment for rafters: personal floatation devices (PFDs), helmets, paddles
  • All camping gear not listed in the personal packing list: group gear, kitchen equipment, tents, sleeping pads, camp chairs
  • Dry Bags for your clothes (1 large bag and 1 small bag)
  • Beverages including water, OJ, lemonade/Gatorade, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, hot cider (you can BYOB, too!)
  • Transportation from the river to McCall on the last day of the trip

What You’re Responsible For

  • Transportation to Salmon, ID, before the trip and from McCall, ID, after your trip
  • Lodging in Salmon the night before the trip and in McCall the night after your trip
  • Personal clothing and miscellaneous gear (see the Packing Guide for suggestions)
  • Personal beverages: Feel free to bring canned versions of your favorite drinks. No glass, please. If you would like to bring wine, please make sure it is in a box or bag. Liquor can be transferred into plastic or aluminum bottles for safe transport
  • Personal kayaking gear (helmet, PFD, skirt, paddle, kayak (unless renting), and outerwear appropriate for the weather).

Food Allergies

Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for medically necessary allergy-restricted diets for a supplemental menu fee of $100/person. However, we cannot always offer the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as our regular menu. Similarly, certain allergen-free snack foods are difficult or impossible to source in rural locations, so feel free to bring your favorite snacks to supplement our provisions. Due to the constraints of cooking for a large group in a wilderness setting, the availability of ingredients or specialty items in remote locations, and limited packing space, we are unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes). Please keep in mind that by selecting a restricted diet, you are committing to eating specially-made meals for the duration of the trip. We only bring enough of our standard meals for those without restricted diets, so changing diets mid-trip will not be accommodated.

We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep. If this is a consideration, please get in touch with us to discuss the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy.

Available to Rent

Sleeping Bag Synthetic and comfortable! $25
Rain Gear Rain jacket
Rain pants
Wet Planet Comfort Kit Sleeping bag
Rain jacket
Rain pants
Small camp pillow
Wet Planet Kayak Contact us for a list of available kayaks $200

Make your next vacation a multi-day kayaking trip on Idaho’s famed Main Salmon River for exciting whitewater rapids, six days of paddling instruction, white sandy beaches, delicious food, and plenty of stories to take home.


Where to Stay Before and After Your Trip

You will need to plan on reserving lodging in Salmon, ID, the night before your trip and in McCall, ID, the night after your trip.

Salmon Lodging

The Visit Salmon website is a great spot for information.

We recommend:

McCall Lodging

You will need to make reservations for a hotel in McCall the night after your trip.
You can find options for lodging in McCall at

We recommend:

Location and Directions

Getting to Salmon


  • Leg 1: Fly to Boise, ID
  • Leg 2: Reserve air-taxi to Salmon no later than 5:00pm

Air Taxi:
Gem Air: (208) 756-7382,


Drive times to Salmon, ID:
Portland: 11 hours
Seattle: 10 hours, 15 minutes
Missoula: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Boise: 5 hours
Idaho Falls: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Flying and Renting a Car

If you rent a vehicle at the airport and drive to Salmon, you will need to have your vehicle shuttled to McCall.

If you are renting a vehicle at the airport, make sure you request an “Additional Driver’s Form” from the rental agency. You will need to fax this to River Shuttles.

Vehicle Shuttle

Shuttle from Salmon to McCall:
River Shuttles: (208) 756-4188,

Getting Home from McCall


Reserve air-taxi to Boise from McCall (we recommend the morning after your trip)

Air Taxi:
Gem Air: (208) 756-7382,

Driving & Vehicle Shuttle

Drive Times from McCall, ID:

  • Portland – 7 hrs 30 mins
  • Seattle – 8 hrs
  • Missoula – 5 hrs 15 mins
  • Boise – 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Idaho Falls – 6 hrs 15 mins

*don’t forget to schedule your car shuttle
River Shuttles: (208) 756-4188,

Travel Insurance

Sometimes stuff happens. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to guard against life’s surprises (unexpected late cancellations, travel delays, medical emergencies, etc.).

Past Wet Planet guests have reported good experiences using Travel Guard and Travel Insurance Services (

Make your next vacation a multi-day kayaking trip on Idaho’s famed Main Salmon River for exciting whitewater rapids, six days of paddling instruction, white sandy beaches, delicious food, and plenty of stories to take home.

Packing Guide

What to Bring on Your Main Salmon Adventure

Weather on the Main Salmon River can vary from hot sun to cool evenings and occasional rain showers. Here’s your guide to come prepared for your multi-day outdoor adventure.

All river gear, group camping equipment, and meals are provided!

Everyone will receive dry bags for their belongings to keep them dry while on the river. What you put in your dry bags is all you will have for your trip, so here are our tips:


Mornings and evenings can be cool and are hot during the day (until the sun hides behind a cloud, and you’ll want to reach for a layer to throw on to keep warm). Whether on a raft or a beach, be prepared for changes in weather by always thinking in “layers.”

Synthetic and Wool Fibers

Your warm layers should be made from wool or synthetic fibers like Capilene or polypropylene. These will dry fast and keep you warmer when you get wet. Cotton is not recommended as it’s a negative insulator.

PFD & Helmets

Rafters will be provided with gear for on the water. This gear will include a helmet and PFD (personal flotation device).

Essential Gear
  • Sleeping bag (available for rent for $25)
  • Rain jacket and pants (available for rent for $25)
  • One pair of shorts for camp and hiking
  • One or two T-shirts
  • One set of comfortable long-sleeved light clothes (for sun and camp)
  • Pants for camp (can be same as above)
  • Synthetic thermal underwear layers (top and bottom)
  • Fleece or pile top for camp (top can be pullover or jacket)
  • Swimsuit
  • River shoes: sandals with a heel strap (Chaco, Teva, etc.) or old running shoes. No flip-flops or slip-ons
  • One pair of lightweight hiking shoes (for off-river in good weather)
  • Toilet articles (soap must be biodegradable)
  • Wool or polypro/Capilene/fleece socks (stay away from cotton)
  • Shade hat/visor (baseball cap)
  • Warm hat and gloves for camp
  • Plastic bags for wet/dirty clothing
  • Sunblock/moisturizing lotion
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses with securing strap
  • Water bottle with securing strap (1 liter minimum, more if hiking)
  • Flashlight/small headlamp & extra batteries
  • Personal medications
  • Toiletries/small towel, etc.
Optional Items:
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Diary or sketchbook
  • A good paperback book
  • Small daypack or fanny pack for hikes
  • Paddling jacket & pants
  • Small travel pillow
  • Musical instrument
  • Liquor, beer, and/or wine: you will need to provide your own alcoholic beverages!

Optional Rental – Wet Planet Comfort Kit: Sleeping bag, rain jacket, rain pants, small camp pillow, and groundsheet ($40)


Wet Planet will have coffee and tea ready for you every morning. Water and lemonade/punch/Gatorade will be available throughout the day. At dinner, hot drinks will be available (hot cocoa, hot cider, tea), and a bottle of wine for the group.

If you would like additional personal beverages at camp, such as soda, beer, wine, liquor, etc., you’re welcome to bring your own. We will have a cooler with us to put beverages in. No glass bottles; broken glass and rafts don’t mix! Wine should be in bags/boxes, and other adult beverages can be transferred from glass bottles to plastic or aluminum containers before taking them on the river. Personal drinks can be purchased in Salmon before the trip if needed.


Your guide team will work hard to ensure your river experience exceeds your expectations. If you had a fantastic trip and feel your guides did an incredible job, post-trip gratuities are an appreciated way of saying “thank you.” Tips commonly range from 5 to 15 percent of the trip cost but should always be based on your satisfaction, financial comfort, and personal attitudes about gratuities. It is common to leave gratuities with the lead guide at the end of the trip, and they will distribute them among the team.

Make your next vacation a multi-day kayaking trip on Idaho’s famed Main Salmon River for exciting whitewater rapids, six days of paddling instruction, white sandy beaches, delicious food, and plenty of stories to take home.


A kayaker runs a rapid on the Main Salmon River kayak trip in Idaho.

“We had a fantastic time on the 6 day/5 night Main Salmon River trip. I can’t say enough good things about our guides: Todd, Deanna, Britt, Jake and Nicole. Each brought energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism. They worked incredibly hard to ensure that we all had a good experience. Safety was always at the forefront. The food was wonderful. I loved that fresh fruit and vegetables were incorporated into every meal. Every day included interesting side trips that focused on local homesteading history. I liked that we had opportunities to raft, kayak and paddle board. The trip definitely exceeded my expectations.”

- Sandy H. - Westwood, MA

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