Salmon - Idaho

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 Where to Stay

Salmon - Where Whitewater meets the Rockies

Salmon calls itself the "Whitewater Capital of the World." Lying just south of the River of No Return Wilderness Area, which contains 2.5 million acres of mountain wonder, Salmon has more outfitters than any other town or city in the Rockies.

It's also in a prime wild-river fishing region, at the confluence of the Lemhi and Salmon rivers. The salmon run is memorable, and is a major attractions for anglers who come here during the main spawning season which runs from June to September. Aside from salmon, the rivers have good stocks of rainbow trout and steelhead (season from October through March).

 What to See & Do

The Salmon River is one of the few undammed rivers left in North America, and is a target of activism by environmental groups to keep it that way. Dubbed the "River of No Return" by Lewis & Clark, the Salmon flows rapidly through the eponymous wilderness area, which is the largest such area in the lower 48 states. Chinook salmon spawn in the gravel beds of the river in tremendous numbers, although in recent years the salmon returns have been off their regular rate. Along the river are prehistoric cave paintings and rock drawings which are estimated to be more than 8,000 years old. The wildlife in the wilderness area, and in the Salmon and Challis National Forests, include deer, elk, black bear, mountain goats and more!

Pack trips are available to take you into the back country with mountain lakes and streams attracting trout anglers from around the world.

Winter visitors find Salmon to be a snowmobile heaven with forest trails everywhere around town. The Lost Trail Ski Area is 42 miles north of town, with three chair lifts and Lost Trail Hot Springs nearby for winter (or summer) soaking. Float tripping is an extremely popular vacation activity with the local outfitters offering raft trips rahging from one to eight days down the River of No Return. These days, returning to Salmon is guaranteed. Fishing for trout and steelhead is also a feature of the float trips.

The town has a half-dozen motels, two bed and breakfast homes, and several guest ranches at which to stay, with more accommodations in nearby North Fork. There are two private campgrounds in Salmon, and another in North Fork. You'll find plenty of public campsites in the national forests.

Salmon River Days -- held over the July 4th holiday -- offers free breakfasts, a rodeo, auction and other events including a staged bank robbery, re-living the Wild West days of this early frontier town. Salmon is only 60 miles northwest of Challis, where a hot springs resort (with RV park), provides two hot (one very hot) pools.

Hotels & Lodges

Most of the places to stay in Salmon can't be reserved on-line. Here is a selective list of places to stay and camp.

Motel Deluxe
112 South Church Street
(208) 756-2231
A standard motel in town with rooms, kitchenette facilities, large beds and a barbecue pit.

North Fork Motel
(208) 865-2412
A small, fairly new 2-story motel in a scenic setting beside the river and next to a decent restaurant, a few miles north of Salmon in the village of North Fork.

Smith House Bed and Breakfast
49 Salmon River Road, Shoup
(208) 394-2121
Located in Shoup Idaho, near Salmon, this B and B is in a superb setting on the Salmon River. There's a hot tub, and restaurants are nearby. A "country inn" that's in the country.

Heritage Inn Bed and Breakfast
510 Lena Street (208) 756-3174
Located in Salmon, this B and B home evokes the aura of the late 1800s.

Lost Trail Hot Springs Resort, Lost Trail Pass
(406) 821-3574
In the historic area explored by Lewis & Clark, this inn is just north of the Idaho/Montana border on Highway 93. It's not far from the Big Hole National Battlefield. Hot Springs pool, Mexican restaurant, RV hookups and campsites, hot springs pool & sauna. Write: Box 37, Sula MT 59871.

Twin Peaks Guest Ranch
(208) 894-2290
In the mountains with a large rustic lodge and offering trail rides, evening barbecues and fishing adventures. Cabins, pool and whiripool. Write: P.O. Box 951, Salmon ID 83467.

Williams Lake Resort
(208) 756-2007
A rainbow trout fishing paradise, this resort has cabins, motel units, RV sites with hookups, motor boats, and a store, as well as a restaurant and the Red Dog Saloon. It's located 17 miles southwest of town off Hwy. 93., on the lake and is open from Memorial Day Labor Day. Write: P.O. Box 1150, Salmon ID 83467.


Salmon Meadows Campground
(208) 756-2640
With 70 sites, full hookups, tent sites and dump station. On St. Charles St., 2 blocks north of the junction of Hwy. 93 & St. Charles, There are campgrounds with RV hookups at both the Williams Lake Resort and the North Fork Motel (see above). There are several forest campgrounds within a few miles of Salmon.


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