Salmon River

Overview

Introduction

The Salmon River bisects Idaho from east to west and empties into the Snake River just south of Lewiston. The Salmon—one of the longest undammed rivers in the U.S.—is also called the "River of No Return" because treacherous rapids allowed early explorers and traders to go down the river, but not back up it.

If you're up to the challenge, the Salmon River can provide an exciting river trip by canoe, raft or kayak. After the day's excitement, you can unwind in one of nine natural hot springs that are found along the river. (The warm waterfalls at Sunflower Springs are heavenly.) The river excursions are popular, so be sure to make reservations months in advance.

For some of its course, the Salmon flows through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. It's an enormous preserve—some 2,300,000 acres/931,500 hectares. Backpackers who want to get away from it all find it a great place for multiday excursions. On the tawny slopes above the trees, you'll find the paths of deer, elk and bighorn sheep. There are also mountain lions, mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, lynx, mountain goats, moose and black bears. Bird-watchers will marvel at the abundance of bald and golden eagles, osprey and Canada geese. Anglers will find salmon, whitefish and trout in the fast-moving water.

Don't miss the spectacular Salmon River Gorge—it's actually deeper than the Grand Canyon (though not as deep as Idaho's Hells Canyon).

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