Main Salmon River

5 or 6 Day "River of No Return" Wilderness

Main Salmon River Trip

A raft trip on the Main Salmon River has you surrounded by natural wonders, wildlife and history in the 2nd deepest canyon in North America, it truly lives up to it’s fame of being Idaho’s premier rafting trip. This 80+ mile journey down the Salmon River in the heart of the Frank Church “River Of No Return” Wilderness offers exceptional views, comfortable water temperatures and rich Idaho history retold by our knowledgeable guides. Some will find it hard to put the water gun down or stay out of the river when the temperature boasts a welcoming 70°! Many will opt to sit back, relax, and take in the beauty of the forested canyons and high granite walls. Our Main Salmon rafting trip will amaze you with white sand beaches and camping sites surrounded by towering Ponderosa Pines, flourishing wildflowers, and amazing wildlife viewing opportunities.

Fishing and Hiking: Opportunities abound, rainbow and cutthroat trout are the fish of choice whether you prefer casting spinner in the ripples or fly fishing in the crystal clear tributaries. If you prefer to view the canyon from the trail, the Main Salmon River offers exceptional hiking opportunities with short walks to pictographs and historic homesteads where the guide will share stories of the first river men, pioneers, miners, and Native Americans that once called this canyon their home.

Legendary White Water

White Water on the Main Salmon is defined by exhilarating, giant roller coaster rapids and wave trains punctuated by deep green pools and raging rapids coursing over large granite boulders. The Main Salmon offers a unique variety of options for the white water enthusiast of all skill and comfort levels, good for those seeking white knuckle, high adventure and excitement to those just looking for a little adventure while enjoying the wilderness, wildlife and history. We can create the perfect opportunity to relax in a raft or challenge the whitewater while paddling an inflatable kayak or stand up paddle board.

With its unforgettable views, pristine beauty, exhilarating whitewater and rich history, the Main Salmon River is one of the most prestigious Idaho family vacations North America has to offer. A raft tip that will create unforgettable memories for you and your family.

The "River Of No Return" Wilderness | Canyon

The Main Salmon River flows through not only the largest wilderness in the lower 48 but a Canyon that is five thousand feet deep and nearly two hundred miles long. Flowing freely with no dams it courses untamed through the largest wilderness in the lower 48 states. Draining the majestic mountains of Idaho, its water flows rival any other white water river as it cuts through a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon, untouched by civilization through pristine wilderness.

Trip Details

River Rating

Class III - IV

Depending on water levels.

Minimum Age

7 yrs.

Must be older during high water  periods (May – June).


90 Miles

On Water


With MRO your 1st day is full of adventure with either a thrilling Jet Boat Ride up through the wilderness or an air plane charter flight from McCall to Salmon, Idaho. You will be at the launch site at Corn Creek early enough to get a few miles on the river before lunch. Just around the corner from the boat ramp are exciting rapids such as Kill-um, Alder, Rainier, Black Canyon and Devil’s Teeth will get your blood pumping and get you ready for more whitewater rapids downstream.

Stop at Barth Hot Springs your 2nd day this is one of the best hot spring pools of any river trip. Watch as Big Horn Sheep frolic on the granite walls. Fish for cutthroat or rainbow trout, relax on the river and at camp and absorb the splendor of the surrounding mountain wilderness.  Through a mile deep, heavily-forested canyon, you’ll run Big Mallard, Elk Horn, Bailey, Split Rock, Growler,

Deep in the Idaho Wilderness sits China Bar Lodge, a destination exclusive to MRO guests. Freshen up with a shower and enjoy lunch on our deck overlooking the Salmon River at the mouth of Lemhi Creek. If you opted for the 6 day trip you will spend a night here enjoying the accommodations of indoor plumbing, a comfortable bed in one of our three guest cabins, and a fabulous meal provided by your guides and lodge staff to be served in our dining hall. What better way to experience the Idaho Wilderness!

Ludwig, Dried Meat and many more exciting rapids. Explore Campbell’s Ferry and tour Buckskin Bills at five mile bar, known as the last of the mountain men. Lower in the canyon, thick forest gives way to steep granite cliffs. Large sandy beaches and glass-like pools provide favorite play spots for swimming and beach volleyball. Top off your final day with three of the largest rapids on the trip – Chittam, Carey Falls and Vinegar Creek. After a full day on the river and another gourmet lunch you’ll enjoy a scenic 28 mile shuttle back to Riggins, Idaho.

MRO Exclusive Wilderness Lodge Stay

Lodge Stay at China Bar Lodge, freshen up with a shower and enjoy relaxing on the deck overlooking the Salmon River or playing games on our private beach at the mouth of Lemhi Creek. Enjoying the accommodations of indoor plumbing, a comfortable bed in one of our three guest cabins, and a fabulous meals provided by your guides and lodge staff to be served in our dining hall or on the deck overlooking the Salmon River. What better way to experience the Main Salmon River and the Idaho Wilderness!

What's Included

Prepare to be Pampered Every day after your journey down the River of No Return you will arrive at a new camp each day, our guides will immediately provide sun shade and have dinning area ready and chairs available for riverside lounging, playing games or relaxing in the shade. Shortly after your tent will be set up, sleeping pad inflated. Our kitchen and dinning area will be serving your favorite hot or cold drinks – What a life!

Where To Meet

With MRO you will only need to find yourself in Riggins at the the night before your launch date before 8:00 PM Mountain Time for a pre trip orientation. You will receive your complimentary MRO duffel and trip mug that you will keep as a souvenir at the end of your adventure. A personal dry bag and large camp bag with sleeping bag and pillow will be provided for you for the trip. There will be plenty of time to ask the guide any questions or purchase last minute items you may need for your trip. The next morning you will be transported to the launch site where your rafts and guides will be waiting.

MRO All-Inclusive Logistic Packages

We include lodging before your trip along with all transportation to and from your Riggins Idaho accommodations. You will either experience the exhilaration of a Jet Boat ride up the river or when the water flows drop you will fly over the wilderness to Salmon and then shuttled to the launch site at corn creek.*

*An additional $100 per person for air charter if flows don’t allow jet up.

Main Salmon River Map

main salmon wilderness river map

Trip Packages and Rates

5 Day Main Salmon Raft Trip
Adults ...$2,249.00 | Youth ...$1795.00 (7-14)
Main Salmon "River of No Return" Wilderness Whitewater Adventure! (June - July)
6 Day Main Salmon Raft Trip
Adults ...$2,495.00 | Youth ...$1,895.00 (7-14)
Main Salmon "River of No Return" Wilderness Whitewater Adventure! (August - September)
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For Questions or Package Options
Call: (888)547-4837

Print or Download a Summary of this trip

Chris K
Chris K
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Five Day Main Salmon is a Must-Do!
We had a wonderful memorable five day trip on the main Salmon with an outstanding crew of professional, attentive and friendly guides. We camped on beautiful sand beaches where the guides planned fun for the kids, relaxation for the grown-ups and three delicious meals every day. A one-night stay at China Bar lodge was perfect. The white water was super fun...
Idaho's Premier Adventure Travel Outfitter

The MRO Difference

No other outfitter on the Main Salmon River offers our quality, professionalism and methods for ensuring exceptional service and attention to detail. We know what makes the perfect river vacation, and we are committed to providing this for every trip. We have the lowest guide to guest ratio to ensure personalized attention, uncrowded boats and comfort.

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Most Asked Questions

Fun and Professional Guides
Our knowledgeable guides share the river canyon’s history, fun whitewater and incredible riverside camping. 
More than Just Rafting
Itinerary is designed to visit many different points of interest, taking advantage of pictograph sites, pioneer homesteads, old mining sites, and natural wonders in the river canyon.
We Set Up Camp & Kitchen
A gear boat and guide travels ahead to set up camp, including your tent and a complete dinning area with tables and chairs. Few outfitters do this and it allows you more time to spend with your family on the river or at camp, we take care of it all!
MRO is an award-winning, Idaho outfitter family owned and operated on the Salmon River for over 20 years.
5 Star Safety record
Knowledgeable support staff from Beginning to End
Let us customize the perfect experience pre and post trip.
Personal Attention
Guide-to-Guest ratio is 1:3,4. Meaning one guide for every 3-4 guests.
Attention to detail
Highly evolved systems to ensure the highest quality experiences, safety and comfort. 
Sharing the Passion creating friendships
Guides join you at all meals, sharing conversation and laughter at meal times and around the campfire.
Deluxe camping
River glamping where all camping gear, tents, sleeping bags and thick mattresses pads are provided.  The highest quality of food and Award winning meals prepared for you and your dietary needs.
Complimentary wine, juice and assorted flavored sparkling waters, soda, all in moderate quantities, is provided.  We always have plenty of ice!

Absolutely! You will want to capture the stunning scenery. A waterproof camera with extra batteries and a memory card is highly recommended. While many guests use their smartphones, please realize you will not have cell service or power source for charging and we highly recommend a waterproof case. Portable power banks are a great source for recharging.

What should I do if I fall out of the boat? Before you go on any trip you’ll be given a riverside orientation that explains all swift water instructions on what to do if you fall in and rescue scenarios along with how to float in the river. Most new river runners after a few days on the water enjoy jumping out of the raft or falling out of the boat, it’s exciting. The only way to minimize your risk of falling out is to hold on and listen to your guides instructions.  Many people have taken multiple trips and never fallen in.  Follow your guide’s instructions and your “swim” could be the most exciting part of your trip!

Yes, fishing is always available for those who have Idaho licenses and have requested fishing gear and tackle. The side streams and fishing around camp can be quite good when river conditions are good.  You are always welcome to bring your own tackle (fly rods) but there is no guarantees for loss or safety. We do have specific fishing trips available, ask our staff for details.

On all Mountain River Outfitters trips, no matter what time of year, gives you time to kick back and relax while a guide takes care of the rest. The wilderness is always keeping us on our toes, so no matter when you come be ready for anything.

Spring and early summer  rafting April through June has it’s wildflowers and higher water flows for exciting whitewater and more time for hiking. Although temperatures during the day are warm the nights can be chilly and the water temperatures cool. MRO provides wetsuits and splash gear for all early trips.

July and August are the most predictable with hot sunny days with little humidity or bugs. The whitewater is good and the water temperatures are warm. On the Salmon River the beaches just get bigger as the water flows fall.

September is uncrowded and offers some of the mildest weather, although water temps can start to fall and the nights will be a bit cooler. Lower water flows usually make for better fishing, mild whitewater and a slower paced trip.