Sylke Laine: Wayfinder Coach and Forest Therapy Guide and I wanted to share some info about the Salmon River and this area of the country where we’re offering our river rafting retreat.
It’s remote, rugged, and achingly beautiful.
Let’s start here: the Salmon River originates in the Sawtooth and Lemhi Valleys of central and eastern Idaho. Snows from the Sawtooth and Salmon River Mountains in the south and the Clearwater and Bitterroot Mountains in the north feed this wild river. It is 425 miles long and drains 14,000 square miles. From elevations above 8,000 feet, the Salmon cascades to an elevation of 905 feet before it joins the Snake River.
Flowing through a vast wilderness in the second deepest gorge on the continent, only the Snake River Canyon is deeper. The Salmon’s granite-walled canyon is one-fifth of a mile deeper than the Grand Canyon. For approximately 180 miles, the Salmon Canyon is more than one mile deep.
In the 151 miles from North Fork To Riggins, the Salmon drops a total of 1,910 feet; over 12 feet per mile. Peak flows occur from the middle of May to early July. The river is at it’s lowest in January and February, but highs and lows are subject to seasonal changes. River crossings 100 years ago in the “No Return” stretch were made by raft, swimming, cable crossing, bridge or ferry. Today, you will find pack bridges at Stoddard Trailhead, Campbell’s Ferry, Mackay Bar and Wind River.
The wild (roadless) section of the river, from Corn Creek to Long Tom Bar is bordered by the Frank Church – River of No Return and Gospel Hump Wildernesses. Normally, the more restrictive requirements of the Wilderness Act of 1964 would apply in managing this portion. However, with the Central Idaho Wilderness Act of 1980, Congress specifically directed that the requirements of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act would take precedence.
The river is historically known as “The River of No Return.” For more than 150 years after the first white men came to this valley, only one-way trips down the Salmon River were possible. In the recent years, with the advent of power boats, skilled operators have been able to travel up river. Even today, however, this trip demands the best in skill, experience and equipment.
The historic use of jet boats was recognized by Congress as an integral part of the transportation system on the Salmon River; therefore, provisions were made to continue their use. Outfitters usually give jet boats the right of way before committing to a rapid and they are usually give Outfitters the same courtesy. Jet boats & drivers have been helpful in transporting guides & clients if needed.
Ready to join us?
Almost ready but want to join our Q&A on Saturday, 2/10, at 5 pm EST?