Plunging 107 miles through the largest, most remote primitive area in the continental United States, Idaho's Middle Fork of the Salmon is the nation's premier wilderness river. Offering a spectacular journey of both adventure and solitude, the Middle Fork is a crystal clear, pristine mountain river that tumbles through the heart of Idaho's 2.3 million-acre River of No Return Wilderness Area. A rugged country of such awesome beauty, it captivated President Teddy Roosevelt, who established the first federal protection of this area in 1905. Today, its untamed beauty remains for us to experience, having changed little since the Tukedeka Shoshone Indians roamed the river canyon over a century ago.
A dynamic river dropping over 2700 feet in elevation, the Middle Fork begins high in the Sawtooth Mountains. Starting small and feisty, it winds through a heavily forested alpine canyon, thick with fir, pine and spruce. Surging rapids are interspersed with pools and riffles full of wild trout. As the Middle Fork drops in elevation, the terrain then becomes more arid to expose rugged canyons dotted with mountain mahogany, pockets of aspen, and towering ponderosa pines.
Along with sheer beauty, the Middle Fork canyon has many special features that create an amazing journey. Floating the river offers a chance to see a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. There are a number of hot springs bubbling up along the way to provide a refreshing soak. Native-American pictographs and pit-house depressions from traditional river camps are still visible for us to marvel. A short hike might reveal an old log cabin tucked away in the forest thicket, abandoned long ago but still standing to remind us of the few hearty folks who braved this rugged country. We will also see inspiring geological features, waterfalls, slick-rock granite cathedrals, and panoramic vistas that instill in us the incredible beauty of mother nature.