Salmon Family Rafting - Alumni


8 days


10+ yrs



See Dates

Join NOLS Alumni to raft Idaho’s Salmon River. Nestled in the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness, the Salmon River is a dynamic river with the captivating backdrop of rugged mountains and dense pine forests. This rafting trip is designed for anyone 10 and older to spend 8 days adventuring through granite canyons, camping on sandy beaches, and floating down an iconic river.

This trip starts in Missoula, MT. Participants can either drive or fly in to meet instructors for an afternoon pick-up. Instructors will drive the group to our put-in on the main fork of the Salmon River. Our first evening will be at the put-in, we will do an orientation, set participants up with their rafting gear, cook dinner together, and camp at the river.

The next morning we will pack up camp and do a raft orientation before launching downstream. On the river, instructors will work with all participants on rafting skills in high water. You might learn to guide paddle rafts and row oar rigs, to recognize and avoid river hazards and obstacles, how to find good lines through rapids, work together with your fellow rafters to navigate rapids, and the basics of river rescue. With NOLS, this isn’t just a guided river trip, we want you to develop the skills to manage the river on your own! Whether you are an experienced rafter or new to rafting, there will be an appropriate challenge for everyone.

Evenings in camp will be relaxed and casual. We will cook group dinners making a variety of backcountry favorites. River travel allows us a few more comforts than other backcountry expeditions, but participants will still practice camping skills such as cooking and sanitation in river environments, Black Bear camping, and Leave No Trace skills.

Participants should come prepared for a range of weather conditions. In the mountain west, temperatures can be pleasantly cool or fluctuate from below freezing to sweltering over the course of a day. Afternoon thunderstorms are common, as are long stretches of clear blue sky.

Rafting rapids in high water means getting splashed or even soaked. The Salmon River is fed by mountain snow melt meaning the river can be refreshingly chilly. We will set participants up with the proper gear to make running rapids as comfortable as it is exhilarating.

The Salmon River corridor is a diverse environment immersed in the beauty of a larger ecosystem. Moose, golden eagles, gray wolves, osprey, black bears, and all share this territory. For those that are interested in fishing, there are plenty of opportunities. Trout, mountain whitefish, sockeye and chinook salmon, steelhead, and smallmouth bass all populate the river. There will also be the potential for day hikes to visit historic sites (like Buckskin Bill’s Homestead pictured above) and learn about the surrounding ecosystem.

On our last day of the trip, we will arrive at our take out, and instructors will shuttle participants back to Missoula. We will conclude our time together with a celebratory dinner before parting ways for home or other adventures.

Overall Difficulty*:

*Great for kids as young as 10. 

Course Dates

1 course

Jul 10 - 17, 2025