The Salmon River – America’s Quintessential River Experience

2 Min. Read
The Salmon River – America’s Quintessential River Experience

We are honored and humbled at the news that our six-day Main Salmon: River of No Return adventure in Idaho was selected as the “Best Guided Outdoor Trip” of 2015 in Sunset Magazine’s inaugural Travel Awards. OARS was chosen from a field of nearly 200 entrants who represent the West’s very best in lodging, dining, cultural tourism, outdoor adventure, environmental stewardship, and more.

Less than 2,000 outfitted guests experience this pristine forested river canyon (which surpasses even the Grand Canyon in depth) each year, making it one of the West’s best-kept secrets. Well the secret’s out! Of course, we’ve been saying it for years, but here’s why we think the River of No Return really is the best guided outdoor trip:



This river isn’t just for anglers and kiddos, the Main Salmon offers up some raucous whitewater. The 90-mile stretch offers great conditions for trying out a dory, paddle raft, inflatable kayak (IK) or even a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), which all come standard on a 6-day river trip. High-volume, big pool-drops like Salmon Falls and Big Mallard offer plenty of adrenaline, but with low consequences, perfect for honing your paddling skills.


Beach Life

No, this isn’t Malibu, but the Main Salmon boasts a comparable amount of sand and sun. Giant stretches of soft, sandy beaches are perfect for camping and ideal for nightly river games such as bocce ball, volleyball and horseshoes. Not only that, but the Main Salmon offers warmer clear waters for swimming and playing, which makes your private beach all the more inviting.



Hiking along the river yields stunning alpine scenery, abundant wildflowers and human history lessons. Idaho has been home to many cultures throughout its history; on multiple hikes from camp you can see Native American pictographs and historic sites like the homestead of infamous Buckskin Bill.


It isn’t called the “River of No Return” for nothing! Put down your worry beads, you will of course return home to your laptops and espresso machines, but you won’t be returning the same as you left. Meandering through Idaho’s 2.3-million-acre Frank Church Wilderness you’ll be free from the daily grind with only the hoots and howls of coyotes and your guides to disturb you.


Hot Springs

Ok, if none of the above has convinced you that you’ll love the Main Salmon we’ll leave you with this: a natural hot tub, under the stars. A quick hike from the river lands you at Barth Hot Springs. After a long day of paddling, hiking and swimming, it doesn’t get any better than slipping into a natural hot springs. Ah…

All that with the same great guides, top-quality gear and delicious wilderness cuisine that come standard on every OARS river trip.

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