Difficulty III+
Length 16 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 04/22/2019 12:54 pm

River Description

Marsh Creek is the standard paddling route into the Middle Fork Salmon in May before the road to Boundary Creek opens, but it is so much more. Marsh Creek is an excellent all round Class III+ whitewater run that offers a full day on the water and some great informal campsites. Starting in a scenic high meadow outside of Stanley, Idaho, Marsh Creek meanders its way to a gap the mountain range. It picks up flow quickly and grows in size. 

Once you reach the mountain range Marsh Creek flows under a low bridge and picks up speed as it carves an open canyon through the high elevation rock, talus, and forest. Often in early season avalanche chutes packed with snow and dismembered trees descend to the creek creating large snow and ice banks in some bends. Great scenery abounds and the Creek continues to grow in size.

Expect a swift Class II/III cruise with the occasional Class III/IV sequence thrown in. Eddys are rare on Marsh Creek when you want them the most, and especially at higher flows. There are no drops on Marsh Creek, just wave trains and boulder rapids, so paddlers often take playboats on the run. There is even some good play at a couple spots.   

While pretty typical creek paddling for kayakers, rafters can get into trouble on Marsh Creek given the likelihood of strainers and the challenges with stopping a fully loaded raft. There have been fatalities from this scenario. Smart groups will check ahead with the Forest Service for a strainer report, and have skilled kayakers far out in front of the rafts to alert and help stop rafters in the case of a strainer. 

No permit is required for paddling or camping on Marsh Creek, even after it merges with Bear Valley Creek midway down the run and becomes the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The end of the "Marsh Creek" run is just upstream of the Dagger Falls and the Boundary Creek launch. Take out at the trail on river left when you see the signs / bridge / canyon walls announcing Dagger Falls, which is a Class V drop that marks the beginning of the permitted portion of the Middle Fork Salmon River. As a standalone run after the Boundary Creek Road opens for your takeout, or as your entry to the Middle Fork Salmon, its a great run.   

Lat / Longitude data are very approximate.

Note: Natl Atlas lists part of the Marsh Creek section of this as Middle Fork Salmon

Rapid Descriptions


No Gage

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Directions Description

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Date Flow Result Factor  
2006-05-21 n/a Fatality Cold Water Read More
2003-05-25 High Fatality One Boat Trip Read More
1993-06-03 Medium Fatality One Boat Trip Read More




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Idaho Proposes Registration Fee for Non-Motorized Boats

John Gangemi

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Idaho is proposing a $13 registration fee for non-motorized boats greater than 7 feet in length. Under this registration fee proposal all kayaks and rafts on Idaho waters would be required to have a registration sticker fixed to the bow of each boat greater than 7 feet in length. Stickers would not be transferable between boats. Out of state boaters would be required to comply as well.

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Can You Taste Victory?

American Whitewater

FERC revokes Preliminary Permit for
hydropower project on Boundary Creek in
Northern Idaho.

Matt Muir


Kevin Colburn


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190370 04/12/01 n/a n/a
1208876 02/06/18 Kevin Colburn description
1211995 04/22/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1208873 02/06/18 Kevin Colburn New Description
1208875 02/06/18 Kevin Colburn mileage
1209040 03/07/18 Kevin Colburn Photo