he Main Salmon river canyon is a place rich not only in natural beauty but also in human and geological history. Human habitation in the canyon dates back over 8500 years, with evidence of Nez Peace and Northern Shoshone tribes manifest throughout its length. It has appeared in more recent history in the saga of Lewis and Clark, who came to it in 1805 in their search for a northwest passage but were ultimately deterred by its rugged nature. But not so of the homesteaders, miners, explores, trappers and fugitives who arrived not long thereafter, who would not be so readily dissuaded, and whose memory resonates through the richly recorded history of their lives and efforts . This indelible record of both the ancestral native inhabitants and subsequent settlers is revisited in as much as any other form by following along the myriad trails running throughout the canyon’s length, vestiges of a time when travel by foot was the safest and often most expedient way to access its remote interior and when our interaction with the world around us often came one step at a time.
Today you can experience this rich history and beautiful canyon firsthand. We are now hosting a hiking and trail-running oriented itinerary, which enables you to hike these same trails used by native inhabitants and stalwart settlers since time immemorial . Some of the trails are well maintained to this day; some less so. Others still continue to be used by those spare ‘modern pioneers’ who call the canyon home, choosing a life deep within America’s largest and, in many ways, most remote wilderness area.
During our six-day excursion into the canyon, you will have the opportunity to follow trails far up and over ridges, high above the canyon, trekking to remote homesteads and journeying up side streams, taking in the totality of the place more fully than is generally possible on a standard river trip. This is all especially enjoyable in the beautiful fall conditions, which is why we run these trail oriented trips at that time of the year. Extended sections of the trail parallel the river, and it is in these sections that you can really put some trail-miles under your belt. However, there are some sections of the canyon that are without parallel, or nearby-adjacent trails, and so require riding on the raft, which in itself provides a great opportunity to see the canyon from another, water-level perspective.
Each night you will stay in a new riverside camp set up by your experienced guides. Once at camp, you’ll have three-course dinners enjoyed against the scenic backdrop of your camp to nourish and strengthen your body. The relaxing ambiance of the campfire in the dusk light of the canyon against the soothing murmurations of the river will restore your mind and spirit for each next day.
So, if you, like those intrepid explorers of old, feel the call of the wild and would like to truly explore America’s largest wilderness area, then this is your trip! Sign up today for a fall adventure on the “River of No Return.”
Note 1: These are great trips for couples where one is a big hiker or runner and one just wants to ride the raft.
Note 2: Due to the time of year and general nature of these trips, we offer them as adult-only adventures
- un-matched scenery
- Option to ride the raft or travel the trail
- Comfortable camping with cots and sleeping pads.
- Adult only trips
- See the canyon with fewer people and more active wildlife
- Trail-runners, numerous side trail additions to add miles with incredible views
- Explore America's largest wilderness while traveling on the longest un-dammed river in the country.