Salmon Backpacking and Rafting

Salmon Backpacking and Rafting


  • Hiking route is 60-80 miles, on elevations of 5,000-11,000 feet
  • Possible peak ascents
  • Fly fishing
  • Raft 80+ miles on class I-III rapids
  • Plant and animal identification, bread or cinnamon roll-baking, and environmental studies classes
Explore the sculpted peaks of the craggy Lemhis and raft the Main Salmon River, an exceptional blend of whitewater, wildlife, and American frontier history. Your 28-day expedition starts with an 18-day wilderness hiking section.

You'll climb peaks and fish for trout as you learn to travel through rugged mountain terrain. Group management in steep terrain and map reading are two of the skills you'll learn on your way to becoming a competent backcountry traveler.

Then you'll swap backpacks for boats. For 10 days you will navigate the Salmons whitewater in paddle rafts and oar rigs, learning strokes, commands, guiding basics, and advanced maneuvering. The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is home to abundant wildlife, including gray wolves, peregrine falcons, black bears, and bald eagles.

It is also full of human history and you will have the chance to stop at one or more of the old homesteads along the river. Following in the footsteps of mountain men like Buckskin Bill, you too will see great sights and learn skills for future exploration in the wilderness.


Location NOLS Teton Valley
Tuition $6,005 Learn about Financial Aid
Equipment Deposit $250
Minimum Age 16
Duration 28 Days
Type Classic
Start/End Driggs, Idaho / Boise, Idaho
Fly in/out Idaho Falls, ID or Jackson, WY/Boise, ID
College Credit
  • 6 Credit Hours
  • 2 Hours Environmental Ethics
  • 2 Hours Leadership Techniques
  • 2 Hours Skills Practicum
Learn about College Credit
High School Credit
  • 1.5 Carnegie Units
  • 0.5 CUs Physical Education
  • 1 CU Leadership
Learn about High School Credit

“I was completely amazed with how much fun I had. It was great to get up every day, take care of group gear, and take care of group tasks like packing and cooking. One of my most important lessons was learning how to get along with people on the spot and to be given the chance to trust them, learn from them, and help each other get stronger while hiking and rafting. ”

-Kenneth K.

NOLS Teton Valley Grad