Floating the Wild Main Salmon River

The Central Idaho Wilderness Act of 1980, in addition to establishing the River of No Return Wilderness (renamed the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness in 1984), amended the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to include the 79-mile section of the Salmon River from Corn Creek Campground to Long Tom Bar as a Wild River. The Wild segment of the Salmon River is located in Central Idaho and originates at Corn Creek Campground, 46 miles west of North Fork, Idaho. It flows 79 miles west to Long Tom Bar, which is 28 miles east of Riggins, Idaho. The upper section passes through the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness. The lower section forms the southern boundary of the Gospel Hump Wilderness.

Each year, approximately 10,000 people float the Wild section of the Main Salmon River. Depending on water flow levels, the Wild section of the Main Salmon provides a moderate to fast-paced whitewater floating experience.

The Wild section of the Main Salmon flows through the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness. The Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness Management Plan provides program management direction for activities that occur in the Wilderness, including floating the Wild section of the Main Salmon River. Specific guidance for management of activities on this section of river is provided in Chapter 2 of the Plan, starting on pg. 2-63.

A permit is required to float the Wild stretch of the Main Salmon.

Jetboaters – click here for more information about how to get a permit to run the Main Salmon.

For information about how to reserve a float permit and what you need to know once you have a reservation, use the links below. Each link takes you to another webpage that provides information about the bulleted items. For simplicity, these webpages refer to the Wild stretch of the Main Salmon as just the Main Salmon.

Obtaining a Permit to Float the Main Salmon River

  • Permits Required
  • # Launches Allowed/Day
  • How do I get a Permit?
  • Reservation Allocations
  • Picking up Cancelled Reservations
  • Recreation.gov
  • Commercial Allocations

Fees, Pass Discounts, and Refunds

  • What are the fees for floating Main Salmon?
  • What are the fees used for?
  • How do I pay my fees?
  • Interagency Passes
  • Salmon River Season Passes
  • Refund and Change Policy

Information for Reservation/Permit Holders

  • Reservation vs. Permit
  • I have a Reservation. How do I get my Permit?
  • What do I do with my Permit?
  • Permit Holder Must be Present at All Times
  • Reservations are Not Transferable
  • Minimum Age
  • Number of Reservations/Permits Allowed per Person
  • Group Size and Trip Length
  • Limit on # of Watercraft
  • Passenger List
  • Definition of a Private Float Trip

Modifying and Updating the Details of a Reservation

Cancellation and No-Show Policies

Required Equipment

  • List of Required Equipment
  • Considerations for Kayakers
  • PFD Requirements

Shuttles and Equipment Companies

Materials for All Group Members to Review

  • Checking in and Boat Inspection
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention
  • Floating with Jetboats
  • Drinking Water
  • Gray Water and Food/Kitchen Waste
  • Soap and Toothpaste
  • Garbage and Recycling
  • Human Waste (and Dogs too)
  • Camping
  • Use of Firepan and Fire Blanket
  • Dogs
  • Cultural Resources
  • Wildlife
  • Fishing and Hunting
  • Use of Drones is Prohibited
  • Above All – Be Courteous

Campsite Selection

Corn Creek Information

  • Overview
  • Campground
  • No Garbage Service
  • Drinking Water