DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking trips on the Middle Fork Salmon River are run by Northwest Rafting Company, a legal operator and permit holder on the Scenic Middle Fork Salmon River.
June 25 - 30, 2019 1/2 Full
July 3 - 8, 2019
These are prime dates providing the best in water levels and weather.
6 day / 5 night camp
Price: kayakers: $2610 adult, $2460 youth / rafters: $2495 adult, $2345 youth
Distance: 100 miles
Average Gradient: 28 ft per mile, 50 ft per mile day one
Difficulty: technical and big water Class III - IV
Average Daily Flow: June 3,300 cfs; July 1,200 cfs
Raft Support: Northwest Rafting Company
You'll lose track of time on this 6-day Wild and Scenic river adventure while paddling through granite gorges and sheer cliffs alternating with rolling sage-covered hills sprinkled with natural hot springs. The abundance of play spots ensures a great night's sleep. The spaces for this trip fill up fast!
"The wonderful mixture of passion, ability, skill
and good humor you two weave into your river trips will always keep me
- Wade Hall, CA
Day 1 We begin our trip with a 2 hour bus drive from Stanley to Boundary Creek - the end of a dirt road and the beginning of the wilderness. The Middle Fork can be viewed as three distinct rivers, in three distinct canyons. When we begin the river is small and fast. There are few major rapids (but watch out for Velvet Falls), yet the countless minor ones demand our attention. The canyon is intimate, and we cruise past groves of lodgepole pine and Douglas fir. We stop at wonderful hotsprings and arrive in camp tired but with a satisfying sense of a good day's travel. The nights are cool, and we are drawn to the campfire for warmth as well as light and good company.
Day 2 - 5 For the next four days we set a routine of breakfast around 8 AM, followed by packing up and hitting the river. We play for about three hours then take an hour break for lunch, and then we play for another few hours before stopping for camp! While hors d'oeuvres and dinner are being prepared, there's always time for a hike or a chance to hook a trophy fish. And of course, as night falls, campfire stories abound and river tales get taller.
In the second section the canyon opens up. The nights are warmer, the vistas broader, and the campsites larger. Walking is easier, and a short hike uphill always reveals views worth several photographs. The lodgepole pine forest is replaced by grass, sagebrush and the occasional but majestic ponderosa pine. This is the winter home of the elk, who have headed for the highcountry by the time we arrive. The river is now a real river, broad and sometimes shallow, sometimes constricted into
narrow slots of rushing water, waves, and holes. We will be challenged by Marble Rapid, Grouse and the Tappans, and we'll wear ourselves out at the play spots!
"It is such a treat to spend time on the water with
you both. The two of you create an atmosphere of friendship, learning
and fun that makes each trip memorable. I can't wait for more trips next
- Sherri Miller, CA
As we pass Big Creek, we enter the Impassable Canyon, where the only way out is through the rapids. The river has cut its way through the Big Horn Crags, one of the most rugged mountain ranges in the nation. The dramatic beauty of the narrow canyon is incredible as the colors and shades of the spectacular sheer rock walls change in the evening light. Here, the canyon becomes so tight that, looking downstream, one sometimes doubts there will be room for the rafts. The camps become smaller too - because there is simply not much room down here. But the rapids become larger, more exciting and more frequent! Redside, Porcupine, Cliffside, and Weber come in quick succession, and are followed shortly by Rubber, the largest rapid on the river. And even after Rubber we can't relax, because House Rock, Hancock, Devil's Tooth (a real tricky one) and others follow in quick succession.
The last evening sometimes becomes a party, with make shift costumes and even skits. Other times it is a subdued occasion, as folks choose to talk quietly and reflectively about the trip and the place it will hold in their memories.
Day 6 on the river finishes with lunch after joining the Main Salmon, which is already larger than the Middle Fork. Then there's a two and one-half hour ride from the take-out to the town of Salmon.
The Middle Fork is without a doubt America's premier alpine whitewater river. Congress recognized the "outstandingly remarkable values" of the river in 1968, by including it with the first batch of rivers to be protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It hosts hot springs, pictographs by the 8,000 year old Sheepeater Indian culture, waterfalls, hikes with majestic vistas, and playful whitewater.
Near the Sawtooth Mountains of Central Idaho, Marsh Creek and Bear Valley Creek come together to form the Middle Fork. It takes shape at 5,700 feet above sea level as a small, swift creek, cavorting down a steep rocky bed cut through dense spruce forest. The stream quickly grows into a river as countless tributaries join it and the canyon widens. Its waters are crystal clear, and its canyons serve up views as stunning as they are varied. The campsites are beautiful and spacious, and the fishing is excellent. As one of the few native fisheries left in the U.S., it has never been stocked with hatchery fish! It is home to Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and rainbow trout, steelhead, and recently listed endangered Chinnook salmon. The fish are protected by a catch and release law and you can pick up a fishing license at almost any store in Stanley. Along the shores of the Middle Fork we've spotted deer, elk, bear, coyote, fox, river otter, big horn sheep, and mountain goat, and have seen eagles soaring overhead.