Rafting the Classic North American Rivers—The Middle Fork of the Salmon River

May is the start of the whitewater rafting season in North America, and since I’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries lately about the best multi-day rafting trips on the continent, I’m going to review the classics this week. First up, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. 

One of the original rivers in the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and a centerpiece of Idaho’s 2.2 million acre River of No Return Wilderness, the Salmon River deserves its reputation as one of the premier whitewater runs in North America. Especially the Middle Fork which boasts more than a hundred rapids in as many miles. What this means is a rip-roaring ride through narrow canyon walls, with glimpses of bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain elk on the shores and eagles and ospreys flying overhead. Once you reach land, you can hike up side canyons, soak in natural hot springs, fish to your heart’s content, or use the time to gather your thoughts.
Outfitters have gone overboard in the past five years attracting clientele to the Middle Fork, featuring wine dinners with a Sonoma County sommelier or learning about travel writing with two pros in the business, Tim Cahill or Michael Shapiro. One outfitter hired a clown to entertain the kids at night. So whatever your interest, there’s a specialty tour for you.