Wilderness Regulations

Crimson Lake

All Wilderness areas have a number of regulations in place which are designed to protect the resource.  Mechanized and motorized equipment is not allowed in Wilderness, this includes bicycles, carts and boat motors.  Hangliders are prohibited in order to preserve the aesthetic value of wilderness.  Hunting and fishing are allowed under State regulations.  Commercial guides and outfitters authorized by special use permits are also allowed, as is access to private land, administrations and operations of valid mining claims.  Grazing of domestic livestock under permit is allowed.

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, they 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.


Unique to the Frank Church Wilderness, and authorized under the Central Idaho Wilderness Act of 1980 (PL96-312) are the following: 

  • Boating is allowed on the Salmon and Middle Fork of the Salmon and some tributaries, under a permit system.  Party sizes are controlled and Leave No Trace techniques are required.
  • General backcountry visitation is allowed with a maximum party size of 20 and a length of stay up to 14 days.
  • Stock use is allowed with a maximum party size of 20 and 20 head of stock.
  • Jet boats are allowed on the Salmon River.
  • Continued use of established airfields is allowed.


Guide for An Enjoyable Wilderness Visit

Fire and Human Waste Management in the River Corridor

User's Guide to the Frank Church--River of No Return Wilderness (2001)

Sleeping Deer Mountain 2004

Sleeping Deer Mountain 2004