Salmon Backpacking and Rafting

Credit: Casey Kanode

Salmon Backpacking and Rafting

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.

*The Salmon River is one of the original rivers protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.



2019 Dates

July 1 – July 28, 2019

Tuition: $6,300
4 spaces remain Apply now


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28 days

Minimum Age

16 yrs.

Academic Credit

5 College Credits
  • 3 Environmental Ethics
  • 2 Skills Practicum

1.50 High School Credits

  • 1.00 Leadership
  • 0.50 Physical Education
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Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics


Driggs, Idaho / Boise, Idaho

Fly in/out

Idaho Falls, ID or Jackson, WY/Boise, ID

Skills learned



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What Our Grads Say

“And so we paddled downstream, our cheerful energy giving us the strength to make it to camp. It was times like that that reminded and continue to remind me of how much a group of determined, positive people can achieve. At times it may seem like something is impossible or too hard, but when you’re surrounded by people who support and believe in you, anything’s possible and everything’s alright.” 

— Isabelle M., NOLS Salmon River Adventure grad

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