Salmon, S. Fork, Idaho, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|SF SALMON RIVER NR KRASSEL RANGER STATION ID|
|usgs-13310700||1.00 - 4.20 ft||IV-V||00h32m||3.53 ft (running)|
The South Fork of the Salmon is a great multi-day river trip in central Idaho. The put in is at the confluence of the South Fork and the Secesh River. The trip can be combined with runs on the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon, or on the Secesh. The last 20 miles of the trip are on the Wilderness section of the Main Salmon River. You must get a permit to run this river from the Krassel Ranger District of the USFS, but they are free and easy to get (there is no lottery).
The river changes dramatically with flow. At base flows it is an enjoyable Class III+ paddling trip with a few rapids that may be considered Class IV. Fall Creek Rapid, near the end of the run is a standout rapid harder than all the rest at low flows. During spring snowmelt the South Fork dishes out some of the biggest water around and is a committing Class V expedition. Expect huge waves and holes, many of which are unavoidable, stacked throughout the run. Medium flows provide an experience somewhere in the middle. Rafting descents of the South Fork are challenging and relatively rare. It is largely the domain of self-support kayakers.
The scenery is spectacular. While much of the river flows through a roadless area, there are several ranches and small developments scattered along the river corridor as well as one significant road crossing. Camping is great but sparse.
Boaters floating the South Fork Salmon River and exiting onto the Wild Section of the Main Salmon must obtain a tributary permit before floating. South Fork floaters will need to contact the Krassel Ranger District for permit information at 208-634-0616.