Getting on the Salmon River

Raft on Salmon River The Salmon River is the longest river contained within a single state, outside of Alaska. Along many parts of its 425 mile length, there are no restrictions pertaining to its use. If you have a raft, canoe or kayak, just jump in and begin your journey.

However, there is a section of the river -- the part most white-water enthusiasts prefer -- where usage is restricted, and permits are required.

One of these is the Main Salmon, in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The other is the Middle Fork of the Salmon. If you wish to float these during the main season (June 1 through September 10) you have two options: you can sign up with an outfitter, or you can enter the Forest Service permit lottery, held each December and January. But the odds of getting a permit on the Middle Fork are now 29 to 1.

So if you have your heart set on floating a river this year, an outfitted trip is your best bet. They'll brew the coffee for you, fix your meals, and get you down the river safely.

To find a reputable outfitter, check with the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association.
To try your luck at a lottery, check with the U.S. Forest Service.

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