Salmon River, Idaho

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Salmon River


The headwaters of the Salmon River are in the mountains of central and eastern Idaho north of Sun Valley on the north side of Galena Summit.

  • Cities located along the Salmon River include Stanley, Clayton, Challis, Salmon, Riggins, and White Bird.
  • The Salmon River is noted for its many recreational activities including whitewater rafting, jet boating, camping, hiking and backpacking.
  • Only controlled permitted boaters are allowed to float the Salmon River between June 20 and September 7.

Overview

The Salmon River is also known as "The River of No Return". The Salmon River has no cities, roads, or phones only mountains, forest and streams. It is the longest free flowing river all lying within one state within the lower forty-eight states. Its total length is 425 miles and it is known for its wild and scenic nature.

Location & Information

The headwaters of the Salmon River are in the mountains of central and eastern Idaho. Its headwaters are located near Galena Summit above the Sawtooth Valley. Cities located along the Salmon River include Stanley, Clayton, Challis, Salmon, Riggins, and White Bird. Redfish Lake and Little Redfish Lake near Stanley flow into the river via Redfish Lake Creek.

  • Main Salmon River information - North Fork Ranger District (208) 865-2700
  • To apply for lottery permits to float the Salmon River call (877) 550-6777

Whitewater Float Trips/Jet Boat Trips

The Salmon River is noted for its many recreational activities. When the first white men came to the valley, only one-way trips were possible down the Salmon River due to the extreme whitewater. With the advent of power boats and skilled operators to man them, travel is now possible up the river. However, even today, 150 years after the river was first discovered trips up river require the most skilled operators, and the best equipment.

Because the Salmon River became so popular it was necessary in 1976 to establish only controlled permits to float the River between June 20 and September 7. Nearly 7000 people travel the river each year and enjoy the Class I to Class IV white water. The Salmon's abundant sandy beaches provide campsites to float groups throughout the summer and fall.

Great care is taken to maintain the pristine atmosphere on the Salmon River. All floaters are required to carry fire pans, porta-potties, ash containers, shovel, bucket, and food strainer. Leave No Trace and minimum-impact camping techniques are the required method of dealing with any overnight stay in the area.

Camping

Dispersed camping is popular in the Salmon National Forest, as it is free and private, but campers should plan to arrive early on the weekends to claim any undeveloped spots as they tend to fill up fast on Fridays.

CORN CREEK

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    In North Fork, ID, at "Shoup 17" sign, turn west onto Forest Rt. 030 (unmarked) and go 46.2 miles to "camping" sign. Turn left at
    sign into campground.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION:
    The campground, located on the north side of the Wild and Scenic Salmon River and west side of Corn Creek, is a large single loop
    in a stand of Ponderosa pines. The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is on two sides of the campground.
  • SEASONS
    Open All Year: Yes
  • FACILITIES
    Vault toilets: Yes
    Potable water: Yes
    Boat Ramp: Yes

COUGAR POINT

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    From Salmon, ID, take US Rt. 93 south 4.7 miles to "Williams Lk" sign. Turn right at sign and go 0.7 miles to another Williams
    Lake sign. Turn left after sign and go 1.6 miles to still another Williams Lake sign. At this sign, continue straight
    through the intersection and go 8 miles to campground sign. Turn right into campground.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION
    The camp sites vary from those tucked into a stand of Aspen to a couple on grassy flats surrounded by Douglas fir. Although the middle part is not particularly RV friendly, either end has widely spaced camp sites where good privacy is provided.
  • SEASONS
    Open Seasonal: Yes- Open weekend before Memorial Day through September 30.
  • FACILITIES
    Vaults toilets: Yes
    Potable water: Yes

EBENEZER

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    In North Fork, ID, at "Shoup 17" sign, turn west onto Forest Rt. 030 (unmarked) and go 34.5 miles to campground (no sign). The
    campground is on both sides of Forest Rt. 030.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION:
    The campground, on the north side of the Wild and Scenic Salmon River is separated by Forest Rt. 030. The lower section of the campground can accommodate both RVs and tents.
  • SEASONS
    Open All Year: Yes
  • FACILITIES
    Vault Toilets: Yes
    Potable Water: Yes

TWIN CREEK

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    From North Fork, ID, take US Rt. 93 north 16.1 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign onto a gravel road and go 0.5
    miles to "camping" sign. Turn left into campground.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION
    The campground is located in a dense stand of mixed conifers above Twin Creek. Convenient to US Rt. 93 with easy in-out access, this is a very attractive campground for an overnight stay. Wallace Lake is 3 acres with a primitive boat ramp.

    SEASONS
    Open All Year: Yes
  • FACILITIES
    Vault toilets: Yes
    Potable Water: Yes

WALLACE LAKE

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    From Salmon, ID, take US Rt. 93 north 2.9 miles to Stormy Peak Rd and Wallace Lake sign. Turn left after sign, before bridge over
    Salmon River, and go 0.6 miles to a "Y" intersection (Forest Rt. 023). Bear left onto Rt. 023 (gravel) and go 11.6 miles to Wallace Lake sign just before an intersection. Turn left at intersection and go 3.9 miles to a "Wallace Lake Campground sign." Turn left at sign and go 1 mile to campground.
  • SEASONS
    Open Seasonal: Yes
  • FACILITIES
    Vault toilets: Yes
    Potable water: Yes

FISH CREEK

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    At the east end of Grangeville, ID, turn south at the Snowhaven Ski Area sign and go 0.7 miles to "Y" intersection. Continue straight onto Forest Rt. 221 and go 7 miles to campground sign. Turn right into campground.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION:
    Camp sites are nestled beneath mature pines that border meadows.
  • SEASONS
    Open All Year: Yes
  • FACILITIES
    Vault toilets: Yes
    Potable water: Yes

O’HARA BAR

  • RESERVATIONS: 1-877-444-6777
  • DIRECTIONS:
    In Lowell, ID, take Forest Rt. 223 south 6.9 miles to campground sign. Turn right at sign, crossing bridge, follow signs into campground.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION:
    The campground is adjacent to Selway Wild and Scenic River with some sites overlooking the river. Most sites are nestled among "near-tropical" vegetation and old magnificent Cedars.
  • SEASONS
    Open Seasonal: Yes Open May 12 through September 15
  • FACILITIES
    Vault toilets: Yes
    Potable water: Yes

RED RIVER

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    From Elk City, ID, take State Rt. 14 west 2.3 miles to Red River
    Ranger Station sign (Forest Rt. 222). Turn left onto Rt. 222 and
    go 14 miles to Red River Hot Springs sign at "Y" intersection.
    Bear left onto Forest Rt. 234 and go 5.6 miles to campground
    sign. The campground is on both sides of the road.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION:
    The campground is composed of upper and lower camping areas and is
    pack it in, pack it out. The Lower camping area is adjacent to
    the Red River with sites overlooking the river or a meadow.
    The upper area is on a heavily wooded hillside.
  • SEASONS
    Open Seasonal: Yes Open Memorial Day weekend through September 15.
  • FACILITIES
    Vault toilets: Yes

SPRING BAR

  • RESERVATIONS: No
  • DIRECTIONS:
    In Riggins, ID on US Rt. 95 at National Forest Access sign, take Big Salmon Rd. east and go 6.5 miles to bridge. Bear left across bridge onto Forest Route 1614 and go 3.9 miles to campground sign. Bear left at sign into campground.
  • CAMPGROUND DESCRIPTION:
    The campground is adjacent to a "quiet" part of the Salmon River; some sites overlook the river. Ponderosa pine is the dominant tree with some apple trees scattered around the campground.
  • SEASONS
    Open All Year: Yes
  • FACILITIES
    Vaults: Yes
    Potable water: Yes

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