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Salmon River Canyons

5 or 6 Day | 73 miles

Raft and relax on pristine sandy beaches during your 5 or 6-Day Salmon River Whitewater Rafting Trip!

There are so many ways to enjoy the sights. Our Salmon River trips are great for families or large groups. Even kids love coming out to spend time on the river!



• Class II, III, and IV whitewater rafting

• Freshly made river meals and camping on the beach

• Pristine white sandy beaches, beautiful Salmon River Canyon and wildlife

• Native American Indian pictograph and historic pioneer homestead site viewing

• Optional hiking, fishing and kayaking

• Located in gorgeous Idaho

• Appropriate for ages 7 and up

Trip Overview

Flowing unencumbered from high in the mountains of central Idaho to its confluence with the Snake River, the Salmon River offers a unique and exhilarating experience to adventurers. The Salmon is one of the last major North American rivers to not have been dammed, which means its pristine environment and ecosystems remain intact. Untouched wilderness is punctuated by huge sandy beaches refreshed each year by spring floods. Salmon, steelhead, trout, and small-mouth bass all thrive in these waters.

Quiet pools glisten between canyon walls only interrupted by the thunderous roar of powerful class III and IV rapids.  Each of the river’s three canyons (Green, Cougar and Blue) provide stunning scenery as we navigate rapids like Bodacious Bounce, Snowhole, Devil’s Tooth, Slide, Checkerboard and Eye of the Needle. After floating through Blue Canyon, the last of the Salmon River canyons, we’ll enter the powerful confluence of the Salmon and Snake Rivers.

Our Salmon River camp sites are set on beautiful white sandy beaches nestled among the massive canyon walls. Quiet river pools provide perfect swimming holes to cool off on a hot summer day. There’s plenty of time to enjoy a game of beach bocce ball or a hike among numerous ancient Indian petroglyphs while our guides prepare a delicious three course meal. Relaxing beneath the glistening Idaho sky and roasting marshmallows are the perfect ways to end a peaceful and exciting day on the Salmon River.

Difficulty Rating

Our Salmon River trips are rated EASY and considered appropriate for any physical ability, including children ages 7 and up. Most physical activities are optional. The trip may require walking on uneven terrain for short distances. From relaxing on the beaches to hiking steep terrain, the choice is yours on how to enjoy the Salmon River in a way that suits you best.

The Salmon River has Class II, III & IV whitewater rapids: mostly Class III’s with a few Class IV’s. It is a big volume, drop pool river. While most rapids are not technically difficult, they’re a lot of fun with a big ride and big waves.

During the spring run off (typically May & June), snow melt floods the Salmon River and the whitewater can be less predictable and considerably larger than in the summer. Spring high water is often only appropriate for older children and more adventurous adults. Call America’s Rafting Company for the most up to date river conditions at 208-347-3862.

Take a look at the types of boats to choose from on this trip.

Typical Itinerary

Evening before Departure: Enjoy a stay in the Cambridge, ID area and we will meet for a pre-trip meeting, provide dry bags for packing and answer any questions.

Day 1: Prepare for an early morning departure. We will drive north through Indian Valley, the quaint river town of Riggins, ID and arrive at Hammer Creek Boat Launch. The guides and boats will be ready to push off into a day filled with whitewater rapids, swimming, fishing and relaxation. Lunch will be served riverside followed by more floating and rapids. Arriving at a beautifully sandy camp in the afternoon, your tents will be ready and waiting. Feel free to spend the evening relaxing in camp, fishing, swimming, hiking and playing beach games. Each night a delicious gourmet meal will be prepared from our river kitchen: appetizers, delicious entrées, salads, fresh baked Dutch Oven breads and decadent desserts.

Days 2-3: After sleeping under a starry Idaho night sky, you will wake in the morning to the enticing aroma of hot coffee. After a scrumptious hot breakfast, phenomenal whitewater follows with calm swimming pools, great fishing holes, rich history, tasty food, and fun. This is when the magic of a river trip happens: no clocks, no cell phones, no computers; just you, the group and your beautiful surroundings. The evenings will be similar to the previous nights at a camp further down river.

Day 4: We arrive at the take-out in the early afternoon and head back to civilization. You can plan on arriving back to Cambridge, ID around 7:00 pm.  If you have any time constrictions, please let us know when you book the trip and we can adjust accordingly.

Note for booking departing flights after the trip: There’s a lot of travel time on the last day. We do not recommend flying out on the final day of a river trip. Please call us with questions about appropriate flight times and airport choices: 208-347-3862.

What to Bring Summer Rafting

Stay prepared during your 5 or 6-day Salmon River trip. It is usually hot and dry in the summer. Average highs are in the 90’s with some weeks exceeding 100F. The nights usually cool off with average lows in 60’s to 70’s. Bathing suits, quick dry shorts/pants, and long/short sleeve shirts are recommended for the day. Although cotton is not usually recommended on most river trips, it is appropriate and cooling during the hot days. A light rain jacket is useful for the off chance of rain or splashy rapids, especially in the early mornings or late afternoons. Protection from the sun is highly recommended. Sun hats, sun glasses, sunscreen, and long and light layers are excellent. While in the raft or kayak you should wear sturdy shoes that will stay on your feet and should be comfortable when wet. There are many appropriate varieties of boat shoes: Teva’s, Chaco’s, Keen’s, Aqua Socks, or even old tennis shoes (although they will get wet and stay wet for the whole trip) are a few options. Flip flops are not appropriate in the boats. Packing another pair of shoes specifically for camp is highly recommended. These could be flip flops, sneakers, hiking shoes/boots or galoshes. Pick shoes that will be comfortable and match your level of activity. A separate outfit for camp is also advisable.

Check out our packing list for more details!

How to Pack

A large waterproof overnight bag is supplied per guest for clothing, sleeping gear, toiletries, etc. It can easily fit one sleeping bag and the contents of a good-sized duffle bag. This bag will be packed away during the day and should contain only items that you will need at camp. A smaller waterproof day bag will also be provided and will stay with you on the boat. It is accessible throughout the day and can contain items such as sunscreen, a warm fleece or rain jacket, chap-stick, and/or a camera. If packed and sealed correctly, your bags will stay dry under most conditions. ARC guides will help to ensure that they are sealed properly. In order to protect important items (such as cameras, medications, etc.), it is a good idea to pack them in zip-lock bags inside your dry bag. If you are planning on bringing an expensive camera, please let us know and we should be able to provide a waterproof box that will be accessible throughout the trip. Call the office for more information about properly storing and packing important items. We are happy to help.

5 Day Salmon River Rafting Trip

Adult (ages 13+): $1475

Kid (ages 7-12): $1327

6 Day Salmon River Rafting Trip

Adult (ages 13+): $1725

Kid (ages 7-12): $1553

Check out the live calendar below for dates available this summer!


The Salmon River features excellent fishing. You’ll be able to fish from the boats throughout the day, from the bank during lunch, and in the evenings at camp. You will need to obtain a valid Idaho fishing license.

Fly fishing recommended gear: 

  • 5-6 weight fly rod
  • 5-6 weight floating line with medium to fast sinking tip. Bass flies: varies
  • Try purple, green, and white poppers.  Streamer patterns.
  • Trout flies: Caddis patterns, midges.

Spinning Gear recommended:

  • Average sized trout rod with light tackle, or an ultralight rod
  • 2-4 pound test line
  • Lures: spinners, meps, spoons, jigs
Recommended Reading List:

  • Indian Creek Chronicles Pete Fromm
  • River Tales of Idaho Darcy Williams
  • Water – The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource Marq De Villiers
  • Roadside Geology of Idaho David Alt
  • Myths of Idaho Indians Deward Walker Jr.

Salmon River:

  • River of No Return Johnny Carrey and Cort Conley
  • Spirits of the Salmon River Kathy Deinhart Hill
  • Last of the Mountain Men Harold Peterson and Sylvan Hart
  • The Lower Salmon Sourcebook: A Guide’s Guide Caroline Tan

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