Legendary whitewater, pristine scenery, abundant wildlife, sandy beaches and hot springs.
The Salmon River begins in the 8,000- foot peaks of Idaho's Sawtooth
Mountains before winding north and east to the Main Salmon starting point. Here, the river turns sharply to the
west and flows through America's largest designated wilderness areas outside Alaska, know as the Frank Church
Wilderness area. All this adds up to a wilderness river of legendary proportions.
Most rapids on the Main are "big-water" or "hydraulic" rapids. These
are characterized by big curling waves that offer a thrilling roller coaster ride for all skill levels. Bailey
Falls, Devil's Teeth and Dried Meat are examples of these rapids where the trick is to enter correctly and
paddle forward! The Main's legendary "technical" rapids, like Salmon Falls and Big Mallard, have narrow chutes
with exposed rocks on either side. These rapids require more precision and they offer a different kind of
thrill. Given the huge drainage of the Salmon it is not uncommon for the river to reach levels over 50,000
cubic feet per second in the spring or early summer.
The Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine forest of the Main Salmon is home
to spectacular wildlife. Bighorn sheep wander near camp. A lone moose is sometimes seen drinking from a side
creek. Bear are common along the river, though they avoid camps. Bald eagles are also common. The natives
called this river "Tom-Agit-Pah," which means Big Fish Water, because of its large Salmon and Steelhead trout.
Although significantly reduced in number over the last few decades, with a little patience you may still sight
salmon spawning in one of the Main's many side creeks.
Indian rock painting Human history in the Main Salmon area dates back
over 8,000 years and Native American pictographs can still be seen along the river. The earliest inhabitants
may have been ancestors of the Northern Shoshone and Nez Perce tribes encountered by the Lewis and Clark
expedition. In 1805, despite warnings from the Shoshone, Clark spent several days looking for a route through
the canyon on horseback. His attempt stopped about 25 miles short of our Corn Creek launch site.
Over the last century the Salmon has seen many visitors with a variety
of interests. Homesteaders and miners, mountain men and loners all passed through the canyon. Rafters still eat
fruit off the trees near Jim Moore's abandoned homestead. The old buildings left by Buckskin Bill still stand
as a monument to "the last of the Mountain Men." These days, though, it's mostly just us rafters who come
through here, and when you travel the Main Salmon you become a part of this history. Nowadays it's mostly
rafters who visit the places that make the Salmon River special.
"Thanks. It was a great trip. You, Terry and Mike have a great company."
JIm - Belvue Washington