Water Activities

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Crew from National Geographic Magazine on a wooden boat on the Salmon River in 1935.For more than 150 years after the first white men came to this area, only one-way trips down the Salmon River were possible due to its whitewater. In recent years, with the advent of power boats, skilled operators have been able to travel upriver. Even today, however, this trip demands the best in skill, experience and equipment.

Since 1976, controlled permits have been required to float the river during the June 20 -September 7 period. Each summer, approximately 7,000 people go down the wild river from Corn Creek to Long Tom via float boat through class I to class IV whitewater. The Salmon's abundant sandy beaches provide campsites to float groups throughout the summer and fall. Hikers, horse packers and jet boaters also share in the Salmon River experience. The historical use of jet boats was recognized by Congress as an integral part of the transportation system on the Salmon River; therefore, provisions were made to continue powerboat use.

Permits are now required year-round for both float boats and jet boats on the wild section.  For the period June 20 - September 7, float permits are issued in a computer lottery in December and January of the previous year. Jet boat permits are issued on a phone-in, first-come/first-served basis. All floaters and boaters are required to carry fire pans, porta-potties, ash containers, shovel, bucket, and food strainer. Leave No Trace and minimum-impact camping techniques must be practiced when visiting the corridor.

View the current contact information for the   Outfitters and Guides on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Explore Idaho's official adventure travel site,    IOGA, with listings for over 250 outfitters and related services; something for everyone!

Motorized activities are prohibited on portions of the rivers that run through the wilderness. All motorized and non-motorized watercraft are required by Idaho State Law to purchase and display Idaho Invasive Species Fund (IISF) stickers in order to legally launch and operate in Idaho. Visit the State of Idaho Invasive Species web site  for more information.

Visit the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) web site. Daily flows, peak flows, and other information at a stream gage sites are available.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities