Salmon - Where Whitewater meets
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.
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.
112 South Church Street
A standard motel in town with rooms, kitchenette
facilities, large beds and a barbecue pit.
North Fork Motel
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
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
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
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
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
Williams Lake Resort
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
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.