Floating the Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Updated February 6, 2015
MIDDLE FORK BOATERS:
Search for 2015 cancellations and pre/post season launch dates at www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777 to check availability.
The launch sites are not staffed, so spring boaters must contact the office AT LEAST 3 work days before the launch date to arrange to receive a float permit. The water systems are shut down, and the bottom boards of the Boundary Creek boat ramp have been stored for the winter.
Avoid Chinook Salmon redds. There were 9 redds identified in the mainstem of the river in 2014; 8 between Boundary and Indian Creek; 1 near Big Creek. Review these maps , to avoid grounding or trampling these redds. To see a picture of the redd at Ramshorn, click here.
Welcome to the remote and rugged mountains and rivers of central Idaho. Each year, 10,000 people float the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Located in the heart of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the Middle Fork is administered under a permit system to protect it from excessive human impacts. Part of that protection asks you, the user, to learn and practice Leave No Trace principles. Depending on water flow levels, the Middle Fork provides a relatively moderate to fast-paced whitewater floating experience, requiring moderate to high skill levels. In 1968, the Middle Fork was one of the original eight rivers designated in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System. It is classified as a Wild River and consists of a half-mile wide corridor running from its origin at the confluence of Marsh and Bear Valley creeks to its confluence with the main Salmon River.
A permit is required year-round to be on the waters of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The permitted stretch begins at Dagger Falls and ends at its confluence with the Salmon. Only seven permits a day are allowed. Only one permit per person per year is allowed during the lottery control season (May 28-Sept 3). For more information about permit allocations, read the Permits and Reservations section.
Reserving a Permit for a Launch Date
The National Recreation Reservation Service is processing all river lottery applications, reservations, cancellations and payments. To look for available dates, visit their website at www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.
Lottery applications must be submitted online at www.recreation.gov and are accepted annually Dec. 1-Jan.31 (midnight Eastern time). For information about submitting an application, launch date calendars, demand and lottery statistics, visit the Four Rivers Lottery page first.
Boater Information Topics for the Middle Fork
Check In, Boat Screening, River Camps and Permitting Procedures
Sharing the River with Chinook Salmon – Avoiding Impacts While Floating
New River Camps! Boater Info (RiverTracks)
Trip Requirements Preventing Illness Before It Starts
Required Equipment Details & Tips Equipment Restrictions
Description of Launch Sites River & Wilderness Ethics
Recreation Fee Guidelines River Safety & Gear
Cancellations and No-Shows General Information
Rapids and River Levels Storms, Debris & Fire Effects
Invasive Species and the Middle Fork Middle Fork Salmon River Use
2013 Gastroenteritis Outbreak Report
Look to the Right -->
Quick Links will contain information broken into topics about the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
Additional Information will typically contain links to other websites, such as the river gauge.
Helpful Information will contain PDF documents, such as map or season pass order forms, and brochures.
Help Protect the River Systems from Aquatic Invasive Species: clicking on the link under the picture will take you to information about helping prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) to our beloved river systems.
Archaeological Sites will connect you with information about how to Preserve Our Past.
Noxious Weeds: clicking on the link under the picture will take you to information about helping prevent the spread of Noxious Weeds.
Our website was converted to a new format in 2012, so we continue to look for old information, broken links, or missing pages. If you find a problem on the river pages, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggestions for content are also welcome.
Invasive Species Fund Stickers required
Idaho State Boating Law requires that all vessels display the Invasive Species Fund sticker to legally launch and operate on Idaho waters. Inflatable, non-motorized vessels less than 10 feet long are exempt. Go to www.invasivespecies.idaho.gov or call 1-800-247-6332 for more information and purchase options.
Maps and Season Passes
Maps and Season Passes need to be purchased ahead of time; these items are not sold at the launch sites. You can order maps online from the National Forest Store at http://nationalforeststore.com/ or use the order form links to the right.
Shuttle and Flight Services, Equipment Rentals, and other business information is available from the local Chambers of Commerce:
Middle Fork Ranger District
HC 63 Box 1669
311 N. US 93 Highway
Challis, ID 83226-9304
(208) 879-4101 Fax: (208) 879-4198
Monday - Friday 8:00 - 4:30
Closed Weekends and Holidays