Floating the Salmon River

Updated May 11, 2021

Permits Required for the Wild Main Salmon River

All boaters floating the wild section of the Salmon River are required to obtain a trip permit before launching at any time of the year. The section of river covered by this system extends from Corn Creek to Long Tom Bar.

During the lottery control season, June 20 through September 7, no more than eight float boat parties (commercial and non-commercial) are allowed to launch each day the wild section of the main Salmon. During the lottery season, a 21-day cancellation is required. Also during the lottery season, the size of the group determines the maximum length of stay. 

Outside the lottery season, the number of launches is unlimited, but a trip permit is required before launching. Before June 20 and after Sept. 7, there are unlimited permits, but the computer lists 99; please note how many reservations have already been made before booking your pre/post season date.

Boaters floating the South Fork of the Salmon River and exiting onto the wild section of the Salmon must obtain a tributary permit before floating. South Fork floaters: contact the Payette NF for tributary permit information.


2021 Float Season on the Main Salmon

As we work through an unpredictable and ever-changing situation, health and safety is our priority.  We are committed to continuing support of our communities and fulfilling our mission as we work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19. 

We ask that float boat users reserve their permits on Recreation.gov at least 7 days prior to the launch date, in order to allow for processing time. If this is not possible, please email corncreeksalmonriver@gmail.com after reserving your permit.

If you have questions, you can contact the North Fork District at 208-865-2700, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm MT.

Main Salmon Reflection Corn Creek is staffed for the 2021 season. The Forest will be using a "hybrid" approach to assign camps and issue float permits. Camps for June 15-Sept. 7 launches will be assigned by email a week prior to the control season launch date. Float permits will be printed and issued at the launch sites after gear inspections are completed.

Instructions regarding how to request your reserved float permit are included in the reservation confirmation email from Recreation.gov. Reservation holders can also see the latest information by logging into their Recreation.gov account, looking at My Reservations, then looking at the Reservation Details. This will display the information from the notifications at the top and the contents of the confirmation email at the bottom. This is also where you can modify or cancel a reservation.

Reminder: the confirmation email is not a float permit; a hard-copy permit must be issued and signed by a Forest employee.

As the 2021 float season progresses, updates will be posted here and as notifications at the top of the river's Recreation.gov page. The permit issuing process, status of recreation sites, etc. may evolve as conditions change. 


Water is available in the Corn Creek Campground.

The SCAT machine at Riggins is open for the 2021 season. It is located south of Riggins on Hwy. 95 at the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area office.


 Learn more about floating the Salmon River.

Group size affects trip length. During the Lottery Control Season (June 20-Sept. 7):

  • People (21-30) - Up to 6 Days (5 nights)

  • People (11-20) - Up to 7 Days (6 nights)

  • People (1-10) - Up to 8 Days (7 nights)

Outside the Control Season and five days prior (Sept. 8 – June 14), camps are 1st-come, 1st-serve, max group size is 30, and max trip length is 10 days.  

An outline of the Wilderness Ethics Talk for the Salmon will be posted for all trip participants to review.

Cancellation Policy: If you are unable to use your permit, you must cancel 21 days before your launch date. Reservations are not transferable.

No-Show Policy 


All reservations, lottery applications, cancellations and payments are handled by Recreation.gov. To look for available dates, visit their website at www.recreation.gov and search for the Salmon River (4 Rivers) or call 1-877-444-6777.

For more information about each of the Four Rivers (Selway, Middle Fork Salmon, Salmon and Snake), visit Whitewater Rafting Four Western Rivers.

For information about lottery results, statistics and more, visit the Four Rivers Lottery page first.


The use of Drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) is not allowed within wilderness. Drones (UAS) are considered to be aircraft, and are both “motorized equipment” and “mechanical transport”. As such, these aircraft cannot take off from, land in, or be operated from congressionally designated wilderness areas. To learn more, see the USDA Forest Service’s Recreational Drone Tips and visit Unmanned Aircraft Systems on the FAA’s site.


Enjoy your National Forest!

Know Before You Go!  Use of mothballs is a violation of 36CFR §261.9 (f) (Using any pesticide except for personal use as an insect repellent or as provided by special-use authorization for other minor uses). 

Please do not use mothballs to deter pests from your vehicles while parked at Corn Creek.  Corn Creek is seeing a increasing problem with visitors leaving moth balls spread out under their vehicles.  The thought is that the moth balls will deter marmots and mice from causing damage to their vehicles while they are unattended.  This use of mothballs harms visitors, employees, and wildlife.


Salmon River Use for 2011-2017

2020 Wild Salmon River Float Use

2019 Wild Salmon River Float Use


Corn Creek boat ramp renovations completed October 2017

Ramp extensions 


New Slab on upper ramp