Carved by Water
The Salmon River, Forever the Wild Soul of this Great State of Idaho
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On the Water
Idaho is a whitewater Mecca, with rivers that range from gentle floats along flat water with amazing fishing to some of the rowdiest rapids in the entire world.
The Grand Daddy of all Idaho river trips is the Middle Fork of the Salmon. World famous for its enticing mixture of wildlife, scenic beauty, remoteness, and exciting whitewater, it lives up to the hype whether you’re a novice in the world of rivers and rafting or a seasoned veteran who loves to kayak. If you want do the 4 to 7 day trip on your own, however, you’ll have to get pretty lucky and win one of the few permits in the annual lottery. If you don’t win the lottery, you can always book a trip down the Middle Fork with one of the many established outfitters operating out of Stanley, Idaho, a beautiful one-hour drive north of Ketchum. They offer everything from bare-bones trips to white-tablecloth extravagance. -Kitt Doucette
Echo River Trips
Established in 1972, ECHO prides itself on its professional and personable river guides who know what it takes to make a good trip a legendary adventure. This family-oriented company emphasizes quality on every trip and seeks to enrich the lives of their guests with an ecologically sound, meaningful and memorable vacation. Selected by National Geographic as one of 2009’s Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth, ECHO offers rafting trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Rogue River and numerous other trips from Alaska to Nepal.
Far and Away Adventures
Launch an adventure of a lifetime and embark on one of the West’s most storied rivers, the Middle Fork, with the crew at Far and Away Adventures. Revel in out-of-the-ordinary offerings like private massages, chalet tents and organic, seasonal fare while around every rapid and river bend you will find a spontaneous dose of magic beauty. Customize a week-long trip to suit your group’s tastes and desires. From a fly fishing getaway to a fun family vacation, you envision the experience and we elevate it with five-star service. This summer, Far and Away is offering 2-and 3-night getaways.
Idaho River Journeys
The team at Idaho River Journeys has been floating, fly fishing, exploring, star-gazing, hot springs-soaking, hiking and having fun on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon since 1978. Family-friendly, knowledgeable guides, top-notch equipment, delicious and widely-acclaimed camp meals featuring locally sourced ingredients, and very careful attention to the details make for a great vacation. Idaho River Journeys also hosts the Middle Fork Writing Workshop. This year’s workshop, scheduled from August 17-21, will feature travel writers Tim Cahill and Michael Shapiro.
Mackay Wilderness Trips
Guiding whitewater rafting trips on Idaho rivers for over 30 years has taught the crew at Mackay Wilderness Trips what it takes to run comfortable, safe and fun trips. The guides are knowledgeable in history, geology, plants and wildlife and, when not paddling, teaching or setting up comfortable campsite, they’re cooking up some of the best Dutch-oven meals you’ll ever experience. Trips on the Main Salmon offer a Kid Wrangler program, where trained professionals do fun, educational events with the kids while the parents relax.
Payette River Company
Specializing in rafting trips on the raucous South Fork of the Payette River, about an hour north of Boise, the Payette River Company (PRC) covers some of the rowdiest whitewater in the Gem State. Providing anything from half-day family trips to three-day adventures, PRC’s lead guide is kayaking legend Sean Glaccum (see story, page 72). Besides offering four different runs on the Payette, from nice mellow Class II rapids to 15 miles of the wildest Class IV rapids in the state, PRC also offers multi-day trips on the Owyhee River.
Sawtooth Adventure Company
Since 2001, Sawtooth Adventure Company (SAC) has experienced phenomenal growth on Idaho’s Salmon River, which is a direct result of the charming guides and the superior quality of their trips. Offering world-class adventure vacations on Idaho’s Salmon River and in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), SAC trips include guided rafting, kayaking, mountain biking and fly fishing trips throughout the summer season. All day trips begin at the Sawtooth Adventure Company Headquarters in Lower Stanley on Highway 75 in the heart of the SNRA.
The folks at White Otter love what they do—and it shows. Specializing in guided day and half-day trips for families and groups of all sizes and ages, White Otter offers a little something for everyone. Experienced guides offer outstanding service and exceptional knowledge of the local area. A day on the Salmon River with White Otter is sure to be one of your most memorable days of the summer. White Otter also offers float fishing trips and rents boats and equipment from their location in Sunbeam, just downriver from Stanley.