High Water Middle Fork-Main Salmon Trip Report


Each spring RMRT sets out for its annual Guide Training Trip.  The goal is to dust off winter’s cobwebs on a high water Middle Fork- Main Salmon Combo.  This year the water levels were perfect for a 4 day assault of 185 miles of Idaho’s best whitewater.

3 Oar Boats, 2 kayaks, 11 guides, 4 days, 187 miles

May 25 Indian Creek.

Due  to an insane amount of snow on Banner Summit we stuffed raft gear into airplanes and took the scenic route to the river. From the air we followed a super swollen Raft River as it joined a much larger Middle Fork.  The color of the Middle Fork had an Alaskan like green-grey tone as it freight-trained down river.  From the air Lake Creek rapid looked clean and fun, Pistol looked super swirly.   It started raining as the last plane departed. We were greeted with a full eddy of logs and driftwood at the bottom of the boat ramp. Thursday night ranger Dave gave us a gage reading of 8.2.  A solid rain continued through the night. Temps dropped.


May 26
River level: 7.6 and dropping
Weather: Cold and Wet, Snow up high
Miles: 48 miles

We woke to dropping river levels and a low snowline.  The surrounding peaks were dusted white. After playing a Hercules sized game of pick up stix with lodgepole and Pondy’s in the IC eddy we launched boats and departed downstream.  Stiff breeze and cold temps. Dropping levels. Majority of water was coming off the top.  Loon Creek and Camas Creek were running high and brown.  Big Creek did not have as much water as we expected.  Below Big Creek the tribs were running clear.  Rapids that stood out…. Ski Jump, Jackass, Cub Creek waves were building and swirly, Tappan Canyon was a washed out blur.  The 5 miles  from Haystack to Grassy Flat was the most fun of the trip.  Continuous huge waves and hole dodging.  Super fun. The weather broke as we arrived at camp.  Dry Suits were torn off and the sun at Grassy felt like July.  Great hike up the ridge behind camp. Ridiculous wild flowers and electric green views in all directions.


May 27
River Level:  Approximately 7.1 and evening out
Weather: Brilliant Blue Bird skies
Miles 67 ( PR for most of us)

The lower Canyon was action packed.  Weber felt like the largest rapid on the Middle Fork.  The waves in Hancock were the biggest so far. Lower Cliffside was the most difficult move to keep inside left.  Rubber was starting to wash out.  Clam Rock was a pour over.   It took us less than 1.5 hours to float 24 miles to the confluence.  Movin.  Cramer was washed out.  Kitchen Sink Rapid  between Cache and Corn had some huge waves.  Arrived at Corn Creek around noon ate lunch, swapped off at the oars between the MF crew and the MS crew,  picked up a permit and headed down the Main.  Approximately 18,000 at Corn Creek, 70,000 at Whitebird. The first waves in Killum were larger than any on the Middle Fork. Spent the afternoon staying on the inside and managing huge, inconsistent waves, massive boil lines and chaotic haystacks. The waves in Hancock stood out in size and stature.  Aside from an abbreviated soak at the hotsprings  we arrived at Magpie Creek Camp around 5:30 PM. 67 miles in a day.  A personal record for many of us.  That evening we tried our new recipe for our Bristol Bay wild Sockeye Salmon.

May 28
Gage: holding steady, approximately 17,000 at Shoup and 62,000 at Whitebird
Weather: Perfection.  Crazy Green.  HOT in the lower Canyon.
Miles:  39

Started the morning out with Bailey Rapid.  Huge, fun wave train.  The Sapp Creek through Little Stinker series was action packed.  Split Rock requiring a solid move to avoid. Magnetic.  Big Mallard was completely washed out and Elephant Rock in Elkhorn was an enormous breaking wave hole that looked clean and runnable…until it built and broke, easily swallowing an 18 foot boat.  We floated by in awe.  We scouted Whiplash. It was at a relatively friendly Class IV level.  A few folks took the left side of the tongue, while others took the high and dry sneak line on far river left. We stopped at Buckskin’s, said hello to Heinz, chatted with a group from Alaska.  Only people we saw on Memorial Day weekend.  The South Fork was running clear.  The float from the South Fork to Lower Bull Camp was absolutely beautiful, and having current through the Salmon Lakes made it fast and fun.


May 29
Gage; Water came up over night.  Approximately 69,000 at Whitebird
Weather: Perfect, warm morning

Floated the 9 miles from camp to Chittam rapid in no time.  Lots of big waves and boils.  Dried Meat Waves were huge.   Scouted Chittam, Arguably the biggest rapid on our trip.  The easy sneak was washed out requiring a hard pull to break some huge boil lines on the right side of the tongue.  Everyone had clean lines.  We passed Carey Creek Boat Ramp around 10:30 and continued downstream.  The boil lines and eddy fences from Carey Creek to Spring Bar were impressive and humbling.  Keeping down river momentum was a constant struggle in the big, swirly water.  We had some great boat flip “training” and arrived at Spring Bar on time at 1 pm.


The drive back to Stanley included a stop at KB’s for a burrito in McCall and a rapid, by rapid description of the North Fork by Max as we drove past.  A quick stop at Boundary Creek road to recon the road quickly turned into a snowball fight and we arrived in Stanley around 8 PM for de-rig.  All in all it was a great trip.  Essential for the Middle Fork crew to see the river at high flows before safely introducing guests to the fun next week.  

Stay tuned for pictures and video….



High Water Trips on the Middle Fork and River of No Return?


Idaho is known for its World-Class Whitewater…  June earns that reputation.

Like a kid on Christmas morning.  The excitement and anticipation is all consuming.    The Salmon River Drainage is currently sitting at approximately 140% of average snowpack.  The best snowpack central Idaho has seen in decades.  This is fabulous news for the upcoming season on the Middle Fork and River of No Return

What is June like on the Middle Fork?

A common question these days.  The Middle Fork is known for legendary whitewater, and June is responsible for that reputation.  High water on the Middle Fork is an awesome experience.  Fun, fast and continuous whitewater combined with mind-bending wild flowers, electric green foliage, and the canyon’s waterfalls (side canyons) in full glory.    But this time of year also demands respect, a different perspective than our July & August raft trips.  Rocky runs June trips  like a team expedition.  Safety is always first.  We will watch river access, water levels and weather closely making decisions based current conditions.  Like any expedition, as the trip approaches we will updates guests on equipment and logistic details.

June 4-7
4-Day Trip $1195/$995  18+

June 13-17
5-Day Trip $1895/$1695 13+

June 22-27 only 2 remaining seats- CALL NOW
6-Day Trip $2095/$1895 13+

June on the Main Salmon River of No Return

The sweet-spot.   Perfect water levels collide with summer temps earlier on the RONR than the higher elevation Middle Fork.  If you ask the guides when is the best time on the RONR, they will unanimously agree…late June.

The RONR starts at 3,000 ft in elevation , ending at 2,000 ft providing warmer air temps and water temps .   The Salmon River canyon is huge , accommodating the runoff like it was built for it.  June trips offer huge, fast and fun rolling waves…think 85 mile long roller coaster.   The river is running fast, allowing us to fully explore the River of No Return’s rich history.  Learn about Lewis & Clark, homesteads, hermits, Indians, all while immersing yourself in the Gold Rush era history of the canyon.

June 18-22 
5 Day $1795/$1295 8+

June 27-July 1
5 Day $1795/$1295 8+

Price includes one way flight McCall > Salmon

Summer is on the horizon and trips are filling fast!

2017…Off To A Phenomenal Start!

Happy New Year to our river family!  This time of year we are watching the snow pile up in eager anticipation for the whitewater ahead.  Nothing is better for the Salmon River country than copious amounts of snow and so far old man winter is delivering (knock-on-wood)!

Photo Credit: Sawtooth Mountain Guides
Photo Credit: Sawtooth Mountain Guides

The natives love it.  All our river guides over at Sawtooth Mountain Guides are getting to slay, fresh un-tracked Sawtooth silk all winter long.  While our drought stricken forest are getting free refills and the Cutthroat are giddy in anticipation of all that clean, cold summer water.


We have officially embarked into the “Booking season”.  The first 3 months of the year are busy with daily phone and emails asking about trip availability and “Why Rocky?”   Due to the limited number of seats on each of our trips, and the limited number of trips, this time of year is equally as busy as the summer rafting season.

Middle Fork of the Salmon & River of No Return

Current availability on our Middle Fork of the Salmon and River of No Return trips is great.  While some of our Peak Season Dates are full,  others have great availability.   If the current snowpack is any indication 2017 is going to be a phenomenal rafting season.

5 Easy Steps to booking the ultimate adventure vacation…..

  1.  Take a look at our 2017 Trip Dates & Rates.  Give us a call or email and we will reply with a Trip Info PDF
  2. Place a complimentary  HOLD on seats for 7 days will you rally your group, explore travel options.
  3. We will send you and email link allowing you to view your invoice and place a credit card deposit to book.
  4. Purchase travel insurance within 30 days of deposit, we will pay 50% of your premium
  5. Stay tuned for more detailed trip information and Itinerary.  Your balance is due in the Spring

Tis the season for Family Traditions


Summer of 2008.  We were new to the multi-day rafting biz and looking for a niche to fill trips.  The original ‘Kids Trip’ on the River of No Return was originally created when Maya (Rocky’s heir apparent) turned 6 years old.  As a father, outfitter and owner, Jared wanted to create a family adventure that would draw fellow adventurous families to the river.  The concept took hold and 10 years later Rocky’s family adventures are some of the most popular, and definitely the most fun trips of the summer.  

cliffjump2017 will celebrate the 10th annual Kids Trip on the River of No Return and 5th Annual Teens Trip on the Middle Fork.   These trips are awesome, full of adventurous families from all over the world.    What used to consist of families from Cali, Oregon and Washington,  have recently been outnumbered 2:1 by families traveling from the East Coast and abroad.


In 2013 we added the Middle Fork’s Teen Trip to our trip offerings.  While all Rocky trips are family friendly, our signature family trips offer a unique program.  We bring along extra toys, extra staff and all the ingredients to make these trips the ultimate family adventure.  Guests experience Inflatable kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards, glow-in-the dark bocce ball,  intense baggo tournaments, River Olympics and loads of opportunity to make new friends.  All of this is in addition to Rocky’s legendary hospitality, creative river cuisine, signature glamp-ing (diva-approved camping) and the most impressive Wilderness in the US!

A great article in the Boston Globe about Rocky’s 2016 Teen Trip on the Middle Fork

Trip Details

10th Annual Kids Trip- Main Salmon River of No Return
July 21-26
Perfect for families with children 6+
Adults $1995 Children (6-24) $1295 Grandparents (65+) $1795

5th Annual Teens Trip- Middle Fork of the Salmon
August 10-15
Ages 10+
Adults $2295  Students (10-24) $1795  Grandparents (65+) $2095

Rocky’s 2017 trips are booking ahead of schedule.  Call Now!

Labor Day on the Middle Fork!

MFS_2015_1856 72dpi
Not sure of a better way to celebrate ‘labor day than by sitting on Idaho’s Middle Fork not working at all

Join Rocky on our ‘Annual Labor Day Trip’.  Early September is a special time of year on the Middle Fork.  Fall colors are starting to show, the fishing is amazing and you might not see one other person the entire week.   This 5 day trip is perfect for guests with mixed pursuits.  The serious fly fisherman will have the opportunity to fish all day, every day.  While everyone enjoys fun rapids, hotsprings, hikes, amazing Dutch oven food and exploring the largest road-less wilderness in the US.  Guests also get to experience a gorgeous  flight from Stanley Idaho directly to the Middle Fork

September 3-7

Adults $2050  Students & Seniors $1550

Includes Fly Fishing boats and professional fishing guides.

Space is limited.  Call Jared 208.345.2400 to explore options.


Rocky Guides are the best in the business, but don’t take our word for it

Rocky's River of No Return Guide Crew
Rocky’s River of No Return Guide Crew

I always claim our guides are the best in the business, though some might say I have a biased opinion.  This last week I have received a copious amount of great customer feedback.  This particular email I had too share.  The irony…this person did not go on  a Rocky Mountain River Tours Trip,  but felt she felt the need to send me a quick note…..

“I just got home from a private trip on the Main.  I have done this river privately 7 times but always have trouble describing the experience to friends who can’t even image a trek like this.  I have several friends here in Fort Collins, CO that I will be referring to your company, as I know they would love this experience, but do not have the gear or know-how to do a private trip.  Your guides on the river are a full cut above the rest.  When we crossed paths with your groups, the guides were always happy to offer help (even offering to help me at the put-in fill water and carry it to our raft), polite, courteous, and knowledgeable.  It seems they not only have river training, but are well-versed in hospitality practices, even beyond their groups.  Your company is without a doubt the best on the river.  Great work!”

-Emily from Colorado, July 20, 2016

Celebrate Spring with a Huge Sale on the River of No Return

Book Rocky’s July 13-18 River of No Return Family Adventure and receive 30% off!

Family Fun on the River of No Return
Family Fun on the River of No Return

The 1st day of Spring at Rocky Mountain River Tours  is a huge deal!  Spring means our river family is starting to get back together.  The guides check in and update us on their winter adventures, check in on trip dates and get an update on their favorite guests.   We order new equipment, choose guide uniforms and watch the Sawtooths snowpack like Wall street watches the S&P.

We start ordering our specialized menu items including wild Alaskan Salmon, grass fed Idaho beef, small batch handmade hot sauces and our famous signature roast coffee.  Things start to happen, and happen fast as our first trip, the Annual Guide Trip  quickly approaches.

To celebrate two of our favorite things, Springtime and Families, we are offering for the first time an opportunity for families to experience this amazing adventure  on the River of No Return at a fraction of the retail price*.


  • This is a 2-day sale.  Discount only available for reservations made  March 19 & 20.
  • Use Discount Code: SPRING2016
  • 5 night/6 Day All Inclusive Trip
  • Discount available for only Rocky’s July 13-18 River of No Return 
  • Youngest recommended age is 6 years old
  • Trip begins/ends in the quaint mountain town of Mccall, Idaho
  • Trip includes 1-way regional flight at the beginning or end of your trip
  • We require a $500 per person deposit to reserve, balance is due 90 days before your trip
  • Connect with or 801.891.5434 with any questions



Rocky’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you have joined Rocky Mountain River Tours recently you have tasted what we strongly believe is the  best chocolate chip cookie on the planet!

Jared’s sister, is the magician behind these divine morsels and takes her chocolate chip creations super- serious.   A few years back Nicole,  a former real estate maestro, chose to step away from a very successful career in real estate development  to stay at home with her special needs daughter.

Now days Nicole & Aspen spend countless hours each Spring & Summer creating more than 4000 of these amazing cookies. Each and every cookie  is made with love, joy and some carry-over tenacity from the real estate world.

Rocky’s Hydration Cookies*

1 cube (1/2 c) unsalted butterCookies
1/2 c butter-flavored crisco
2/3 c sugar
1 c brown sugar (minus 2 TBS for high altitude)
2 eggs
1 TBS Vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c All purpose flour (plus 1 TBS cool water for high altitude)
1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned NOT quick)
1 1/2 to 2 cups (12-16 oz pkg) chocolate chips (I use Nestle semi sweet)


Cream butter, BF crisco & sugars. Add eggs & vanilla & Mix…keep mix on low while adding salt & baking soda. Add flour (& 1 TBS water if high alt) & mix. Add old fashioned oatmeal & mix.  Slowly fold in chocolate chips.
Bake at 380 degrees 10-13:30 mins depending on cookie size or till lightly golden brown on top. Makes approx 3 dozen small cookies or 20 large cookies.

*warning these cookies are so rich and tasty, they force you to hydrate.  Perfect for the river world!

Middle Fork Snowpack

In the river business we watch the weather & snowpack like baby-boomers obsess over the Dow and S&P.    Luckily for us, we have our own in-house snow specialist.  Chris Lundy, owner of Sawtooth Mountain Guides by winter, Rocky Middle Fork guide by summer.  Chris spends his winter ski guiding on the same snow that feeds the Middle Fork.

“Despite warm temperatures and a lack of snow during the past month, the snowpack at higher elevations is still hanging in there. Thanks to substantial snowfall back in December and January, many mountain weather stations are still reporting near-average snow water equivalent. Not to say we couldn’t use more snow, but we’re in much better shape than many people realize.”

-Chris Lundy, Sawtooth Mountain Guides

Explore the Sawtooths with Sawtooth Mountain Guides
Explore the Sawtooths with Sawtooth Mountain Guides

We came for the river…we remember the food.

Rocky Mountain River Tours has a rich tradition of gourmet food, going back nearly 40 years. Sheila Mills, founder of Rocky Mountain River Tours and Dutch Oven Cookbook author, built an amazing culinary foundation.   Rocky’s style and systems continued to be refined year after year and evolve to match our clientele.  Our menus are full of fresh salads, creative entrees and amazing desserts that cover a large portion of today’s specialty diets.  Gluten Free, Vegan and more specific dietary preferences are accommodated for a small fee.

Check out Rocky’s New Video Gallery.  You will find a series of video-shorts that illustrate the different experiences you will find on our Idaho River Trips


Middle Fork Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing on the Middle Fork in August and September is a surreal experience.    It has all the ingredients…Gin-clear water, native trout and we use large, easy-to-see dry flys and Hoppers.  The combination is a phenomenal fishing experience for both the seasoned angler and the never-ever.

Westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi)  is a beautiful native fish, known for its bright colors and dark spots.  The Middle Fork Westy is not the largest brother in the trout family (10-18 inches)., but what they lack in size, they make up for in vigor.

Middle Fork Camp Life

Our guests dream of the Middle Fork’s rapids, rafting and whitewater.  What they learn…the rafting is a small piece of a much bigger experience.  Time off the river exploring history, relaxing in our comfortable camps, playing games, eating great food, enjoying good conversation and making new friends is the true story.

Middle Fork Hot Springs

No other river trip in America can offer the quantity and quality of natural hotsprings found along the shores of Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River.  While the River of No Return prefers quality over quantity, and boast arguably the best hot spring in the West.

The rumors are true…Rocky food is simply amazing!

This video Rocky Food is part of a video series illustrating the magic found on a Wilderness River Trip.

“I am a Foodie. In my eyes, every vacation must have yummy wine and interesting food.  I heard all the hype prior to our trip from our friends, but I was a skeptic.    The quality of the ingredients, the flavors, the freshness.  It is hard to accomplish all of this in one’s home. The fact that they create these meals for 30 people,  in the wilderness,  in Dutch Ovens is mind boggling”

-Kris C. Seattle Washington.  2014 Middle Fork Guest

Glamping with Rocky Mountain River Tours by Nick Como

Join Nick Como, NY native and author of, as he recaps his Middle Fork Experience

“Putting on a neoprene wetsuit at 7 AM to step out in a 40 degree Stanley, Idaho morning can only mean one thing: Adventure! This is the coldest we’ll be all week, we are assured by Jared, head honcho at Rocky Mountain River Tours. The snow blanketing the Sawtooth range peaks, as well as several hillsides our bus zooms by on the way to Boundary Creek, leads to me to believe otherwise. This may be more camping than glamping (glamorous camping) after all.

Happy Guides & Great Wine
Happy Guides & Great Wine

Over the next six days, we’ll drop over 3,000 feet in elevation. Wetsuits give way to shorts and T-shirts as the river cuts its way to meet with the Main Salmon 100 miles away. We begin at 6,000 feet in an alpine forest of Lodgepole and Douglas Fir on a river that resembles more of a steam. Narrow, but fast-flowing with rapids in succession, I could tell right from the start our guides were on their A-game to navigate this stretch.

A few short hours and a few dozen rapids later, several of us are stipping our Scuba Steve outfits off on a sandy beach to swim in the crystal clear water of the Middle Fork of the Salmon on the trip’s first lunch break. I never needed the wetsuit again, just sunblock and some shades to “battle” the elements. The Middle Fork is relaxing yet wild, scenic, magical and remote. It is like no other place.

The 100 miles and six days would feature hot springs, bottles of wine paired with cheese and smoked salmon for happy hour, short walks and demanding hikes to

Fresh Flowers, Table Cloths and Home-made Brownies
Fresh Flowers, Table Cloths and Home-made Brownies

incredible views, impassable canyons and food. Lots of delicious food. Sleekly packed rubber rafts, when unloaded reveal a full kitchen, comfy tents with luxurious sleeping pads and pillows, full sized camp chairs and enough food to feed an army. Far from roughing it in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48. I don’t always camp, but when I do, I prefer to glamp.

-Nick Como, Author at, TV host Outta Here Utah.

Como and fiancé high above the Middle Fork
Como and fiancé high above the Middle Fork

Lodge & Raft trips on the Salmon River of No Return

The 2014 summer on the Salmon River of No Return (RoNR) aka…Main Salmon, aka…the best family vacation on the planet… is looking great!  This trip is perfect for families with little or no camp and rafting experience. The RoNR’s massive sand beaches make for very comfortable camping and ample room to get your play on.  Horseshoes, bago, bocce ball, and Koob are some of the evening activities.   The history found on the RoNR is world  We bring along SUP’s tandem Inflatable kayaks, and our PaddleCat to make sure everyone in the family gets their adventure fix.   Rocky’s River of No Return trips kick off with an overnight experience at the Salmon River Lodge .  A beautiful riverside property deep in the Frank Church Wilderness.  The first evening of the trip our guests and crew will celebrate the upcoming week over an Idaho-style feast.  Guests and guides will wake up to a home-style breakfast before pushing off downstream into the largest roadless wilderness in the US.


185 miles of rapids, wilderness & hotsprings
185 miles of rapids, wilderness & hotsprings

2014 River of No Return Availability

June 27- July 1: Sold Out!
July 4-9: 4 open seats
July 12-17: 6 open seats
July 20-25: Sold Out!
July 28-Aug 2: 9 open seats
August 5-10: Sold Out!

Adults $1895  Kids(5-18) $1050

Trip includes:

  • Ground transportation from Salmon to the Salmon River Lodge
  • Salmon River Lodge-1 night lodging, dinner & breakfast
  • All camp equipment and river gear
  • Amazing food, ample beverage, regional beer and local wine
  • Ground Transportation from river take-out to McCall Idaho
8th Annual Kids Trip on the River of No Return
8th Annual Kids Trip on the River of No Return
Idaho River Rafting
Family Fun on the Wild & Scenic Salmon
multi-generational trips
Inflatable Kayaking on the Wild & Scenic Salmon
Inflatable Kayaking on the Wild & Scenic Salmon


Same Great Trip… Less Money

Idaho rafting is like all other world class vacation destinations.  Savvy travelers seek out the shoulder season to receive the ‘Prime Season’ service at ‘Low Season ‘ rates.   The Middle Fork is no different.

Middle Fork of the Salmon
Frank Church- River of No Return Wilderness

Act fast!  We have limited availability on the following 2014 Shoulder Season Trips

June 13-17, Five Day Middle Fork  $1495/$1295 

June 22, Six Day Middle Fork $1995/$1795

August 10th & 18th , Six Day Middle Fork $1995/1795

In addition to a better price, Rocky’s shoulder season trips have their own unique draw.  Our June trips are all about the Middle Fork’s World Class Whitewater.   While our August trips offer amazing fly fishing.  In fact Rocky’s August, shoulder season trips sell out quickly because of the world -renowned dry fly fishing found on the Middle Fork in August

Middle Fork Motor Coach Service- New 2014!

Middle Fork Motor Coach
Rocky has upped the ante with luxury motor coach service

New for 2014!  In an effort to make Rocky trips even better and due to popular request, Rocky now offers luxury motor coach service from North Fork back to Stanley.  This offers an air conditioned, comfortable, 3 hour ride back to Stanley versus a long, hot, bumpy ride in a school bus.  What a perfect ending to a perfect trip!

5 Simple Steps to Booking the Ultimate Adventure

Idaho's Frank Church Wilderness

Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness

#1-  Check your Schedule– We get it…Summers are busy.    Keep in mind the larger your group, the earlier you should reserve.   You can compare your party’s schedule to our Trip Calendar.   2015 groups are already booking.  Our trips sell out every summer and the July trips fill  first.

fyi….The calendar on maintains our real-time availability for those who prefer to book online.

#2- Give Jared a call (208)345-2400 or send a note – We need to know your preferred date, number of people in your party and their ages. We will recommend a trip, discuss available dates, answer questions and make suggestions. We are happy to HOLD your seats for 7 days while we work through deposit and trip details.

#3- Everything you need to know- Following our initial conversation we will send a follow up email recapping our conversation and include Rocky’s Guest Information Packet.   It is loaded with a bunch of great info to help understand the itinerary and level of service you can expect on a Rocky trip.  We will also include a link to pay your deposit with an Amex, MC or Visa.

#4 Book & Confirm Travel:  Rocky’s guest guru, Krista is here to help with all your travel specifics.  She has a wealth of information  about Stanley lodging,  ground transportation, trip insurance, gear requirements, how the bathroom works and what’s for dinner.  For those flying from far, far away.  Krista will also help with arrival/departure details to make sure you are in the right place, at the right time.

Rocky loves trip insurance!  So much…we will pay 50% of your premium (avg premium $120 per person)

#5 Book the Trip of a Lifetime:  As soon as you are comfortable (or within 7 days) with your trip selection, travel details and all your questions have been answered.  Send us an email, give us a call or click on the link to reserve.  We will keep in touch with trip updates and be available for questions at any time.


So what’s stopping you?  Isn’t it time you unplug and reconnect with your family & friends on an Idaho Wilderness River?

Middle Fork-Main Salmon 6-Day Epic!

In Idaho we call it… turning the corner.  Outside of Idaho, they call it …the crown jewel of wilderness rafting.

185 miles of pure, untouched Idaho Wilderness

The Middle Fork
Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness

Trip Details

  • June 13-18
  • Includes 1 night at a riverside guest ranch
  • Stanley to Stanley round trip.  Trip costs includes Cessna flight from river’s edge back to Stanley.
  • Award winning cuisine, beer, wine and the best group of guides in the business
  • Reserved for ages 18+

A Note from Rocky Founders…

Dear Rocky’s Middle Fork Friends,

 Thank you to all our loyal river trip customers over the years. We spent most of the summer in Salmon transferring our knowledge and experience to Jared and his crew.  Jared and Roni’s first year was a big success and reservations are looking great for 2014.

Our world travels remind us of why the Rocky Middle Fork trips are special, personalized by enthusiastic, knowledgeable river guides who are also terrific Dutch oven cooks.  We think there is nothing like this experience in the world.  Please make plans to experience Idaho’s Middle Fork Canyon  and tell all of your best friends to join the Rocky Guides too.  We hope to cross paths with each of you in the future.  Please keep in touch.

Our best from Boise,

Dave & Sheila Mills

The next generation of Rocky Mountain River Tours

Hello from Idaho,

First, let me apologize for my lack of posts.  The combo effect of wrapping up the river season and having a new baby has been a whirlwind.   Roni, Maya and I welcomed little Jonathan Tyler (aka….JT) to the party on September 4th .  These last few months have been filled with lots of love, sleepless nights & chasing the new normal.  As the dust settles and we find our groove we are having a blast.  Maya digs being a big sis, Mom is in love, and Dad is thankful for it all.

The next generation of Rocky
Future Rocky Guide

It has been 12 years since diapers, 2 AM feedings and tummy time.  I’ll be honest Parenthood, the 2nd time,  intimidated me.  Oddly, the similarities between a new baby and a new business motivated me on both paths.  In the beginning it was about creating a solid bond and finding a groove. Accepting that things are changing and time is in hyper speed.  In a strange way I gained a clear perspective of what is important & what’s not. The constant change forced me to ‘not sweat the small stuff’ and good things happened.  Next thing I know,  I am looking in the rear-view mirror and amazed by my progress and stoked about the future.  We have a happy, thriving, inspiring little boy…and can hardly wait to see what the future holds.  I daydream of sharing the wilderness with him.  Watching as his love for wild places, family and adventure influences who he is,  and what’s important.

See ya on the rio,


Idaho Rafting- 2014 Signature Trip

Middle/Main Epic:   June 13-18, 2014   Adult: $2,195.00  Young Adult: $1,995.00

Rocky Mountain River Tours is stoked to offer America’s Premier Rafting Vacation.  Imagine 6-days and 185 miles of the best whitewater and alpine scenery in the world.  This trip includes 1-night at a riverside lodge and scenic flight back to Stanley.

Attention:  Tell us you heard about the Middle/Main Epic via this email and save $150 per person

8th Annual Kids Trip on the Wild & Scenic Salmon:   July 21-25 Adult: $1,895.00  Children: $1,050.00

Rocky’s most popular family adventure.  Rocky caters this trip to families with children aged 6-18, resulting in the ultimate family adventure.  We adjust menus, bring extra beach games, lots of sunscreen and break out all the toys for the trip.  Book Now…this trip sells out quickly!

Idaho River Rafting
Family Fun on the Wild & Scenic Salmon

1st Family Trip on the Middle Fork – Aug 2-7 . Adult: $2,295.00  Student: $2,095.00

Loyal clients have demanded that we start a family rafting tradition on the Middle Fork.  This Early August trip is catered to multi-generational families (age 10+) offering perfect water levels for paddle rafting, inflatable kayaking, fishing and shenanigans.  We keep the kids busy, allowing parents and grandparents ample time for relaxing, socializing, fly fishing and enjoying the largest wilderness in the United States. Reserve now!


The Middle Fork of the Salmon is the PERFECT multi-generational adventure!
The Middle Fork of the Salmon is the PERFECT multi-generational adventure!

SUP the Salmon -Aug 4-19 $1895

Join Rocky and experience the fastest growing watersport in the world, Stand Up Paddle Boarding.  The fun, safe, rolling rapids of the Wild & Scenic Salmon has been identified as the #1 SUP river in America.  Great for beginners and advanced paddlers.  Not all participants need to SUP, rafts and IK’s available.


SUP the Salmon
SUP the Salmon



2014 Annual Kids Trip on Idaho’s Wild & Scenic Salmon Salmon

As you know Sawtooth Adventure Company and Rocky Mountain River Tours joined forces in 2013 to offer the best wilderness river trips available.   This past July Rocky Mountain River Tours inherited SAC’s most popular trip, The Annual Kids Trip on the Wild & Scenic Main Salmon.  This trip is catered to families with kids between 5-18 years old. We pull out all the stops and celebrate the kids!  We bring along a photographer, all the river toys , the best beach games, adapt the menu and invite our most kid-fun guides.   All of this not only insures your kids have the time of their lives, but also guarantees an unforgettable week for the parents.

2014 8th Annual Kids Trip
July 20-25, 2014

Adults $1895   Children (5-18) $1050

Trip includes 1st night lodging at a riverside guest ranch, food, beverage, river equipment, camp gear and ground transportation.  Seriously… all you need is your toothbrush, personal clothing and sense of adventure.

This trip has a maximum size of 23 guests and sells out quickly!  Call Jared to reserve the ultimate family adventure!


Additional Images from the 2013 Annual Kids Trip

2013 Annual Kids Trip


Family Raft Trips in Idaho
Kids LOVE the Salmon’s amazing beaches
Idaho River Rafting
Family Fun on the Main Salmon
Stand Up Paddle on the Salmon River
SUP the Salmon
Idaho River Trips
A beautiful evening on an Idaho Wilderness River

Idaho Fly Fishing on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

This September Salmon River Anglers and Rocky Mountain River Tours are combining forces to offer the best fly fishing experience available in the United States.

World Class Guides & Award Winning Food on our Fall Fly Fishing Trip
Join Rocky Mtn River Tours & Salmon River Anglers on an all-inclusive fly fishing trip on Idaho’s premier blue ribbon trout stream. 12 anglers, 6 guides and a week on the Middle Fork of the Salmon with nothing to do but fish…pinch me now.

$2695 includes round trip charter air service from Boise, food, beer, wine and local flies.  Only 5 seats remain…call now!

Native Westslope Cutthroat Trout found on the Middle Fork
Native Westslope Cutthroat Trout found on the Middle Fork

Imagine…Gin-clear freestone river, zero angler pressure, optimum dry fly conditions and native cutthroat trout all to yourself as you explore the largest wilderness in the US.



Its simple really…..Food & Guides

Rocky Mountain River Tours maintains an enviable reputation on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.  A common question from potential guests…“why choose Rocky?”  Its true, all of the outfits on the Middle fork benefit from the amazing beauty of the Frank Church, the pristine waters of the Middle Fork and the magic that occurs from spending 6 days away from civilization with a small group of new friends.   In the end its simple,  three factors are at play.

Guides, Gear & Food

Middle Fork Guides for Rocky
The Rocky Guides


The Guides

Middle Fork guides belong to an upper echelon in the guiding community.  They have been tested by the high waters of Spring, the technical boating of August and all the variables that pop up while leading 24 experienced guests through the largest Wilderness in the US.  The one thing that sets the Rocky crew apart from the competition is tenure.  The current crew of Rocky guides has been working together for 10 seasons.  They are well oiled machine when it comes to camp duties and on the on-water program.  But the most distinguishing factor is their chemistry, like characters in a movie.  Each with unique strengths & personalities that combine to result  in the best crew on the Middle Fork.

The Gear

Rocky pulls out all the stops when it comes to gear.  New sleeping bags and pillows are purchased annually while large river mattresses, spacious new Mountain Hardware tents and comfortable chairs are the norm.  Rocky provides a sanitary and private bathroom system with running water hand wash, solar showers and purified water.

The Food

Excuse us while we brag.  Rocky offers the best food on the river, period.  This is not a new thing, its a tradition. Sheila Mills, Rocky founder is the genius behind the menu design while Rachel B. is the culinary artists that puts all the pieces together.  The result is the most divers, fresh and healthy menu on the river.  Sheila has made a career at designing dutch oven entrees and amazing deserts.  She has published three Dutch-Oven cookbooks and continues to push the limits of what can be created in a riverside kitchen.    The Rocky menu is so diverse and impressive that it has its own fan club.  In an effort to keep the groupies happy we will be posting our 2013 recipe’s over the next few weeks.


1 pkg.(1#)                 SMOKED TROUT, arranged on parsley
2 boxes                     Breton crackers
2 boxes                     Blue Diamond crackers (gluten free)
1 container             Smokehouse Almonds
1 wedge                     English Cotswold cheese
1 bag                       Red Grapes (displayed around or next to the cheese)


1 bag                       Mixed Baby Greens
1 zip (3 cups)             Toasted pecans, in Ziploc
1 container                 Bleu cheese, crumbled
2 bottles                   Earth & Vine Honey Pear Vinaigrette
5                           Green Apples, chopped at the last minute & tossed in.
(toss salad with dressing & serve immediately)


1 pkg.(3#)                 Jody Maroni Yucatan chicken & duck bulk sausage
1-container                Pesto
18-20 lg..                 Tomatoes, sliced
3 pkg                      Sfoglia
1-32 oz.+2 cups           Plain yogurt
1 ziplock(3#)              Jack cheese, grated-use all
1 zip                      Parmesan cheese, grated (4 C.)

Arrange pasta sheets in bottom of 3 DO’s.
Spread each sheet with pesto.
Break up sausage thinly & evenly on pesto.
Put on layer of tomato slices.
Spread with yogurt.
Sprinkle with Jack cheese & Parmesan
Put on another sheet of sfoglia.
Repeat all of above.
Top with sheet of pasta covered with sliced tomatoes and small amount of Parmesan.
Bake till golden & bubbly.


1 ziplock              Dry ingredients, mix well
3 Pkg.                 Yeast
3 cups                 Warm water
½ cup                  Olive oil
1 zip                  Parmesan, grated
Mix well.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead dough until soft and sticky about 5 minutes.  Divide in half and roll out & punch into rounds the size of DO bottom. Let rise about 20 minutes and sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper.  With lightly oiled fingertips make indentations, about ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart all over dough.  Bake with the lid covered with hot coals for about 20 minutes until golden.

1 ½                    Caramel Fudge Pecan Tortes-slice into 30 wedges

The Middle Fork’s Rocky Crew…Wow!


As the new owner of Rocky Mtn River Tours my first summer has been an education, a baptism by fire if you will.  I have learned an amazing amount about operating on the Middle Fork  from Dave & Sheila’s 35+years of experience.  But the true education is coming from the guides. Dave & Sheila, like a broken record, touted why the Rocky Crew is the best on the Middle Fork.  I knew they would be good, but I had no idea how good.  This 6 person crew has been working together for years.  It is obvious in their chemistry and orchestrated ability to get the job done in style.  They do an amazing job,  but the one thing that constantly exceeds my expectations is their connection with our loyal clients and new guests.  We have a number guests that return year after year solely to spend a week in the wilderness with their river friends.   The Rocky crew’s genuine connection and personal friendships with our guests is truly impressive and something as the new owner I am very humbled by and thankful for.  Thank you!

See you downriver,

Jared H.

How Do You Win Grandpa of the Year?….Take the Kids on an Idaho Raft Trip.

Sawtooth Adventure Company hosted Grandpa Berney on our 2010 Annual Kids Trip.  He had such a great experience he has become one of our guest bloggers.  Check out what Grandpa Berney is thinking for 2013…

“The Sawtooth Adventure Company and Rocky Mountain River Tours merger sounds great. I haven’t been down the Middle Fork with Rocky, but have a friend that boasts their guides, food, wine and overall experience as A+ .  My wife and I are thinking an August trip with  a few of our grandchildren would be the perfect choice. We  went down the Main  Salmon with two of our grandchildren (9 and 11) on SAC’s kids trip in 2010.  That was the year I was crowned Grandpa of the Year.

grandpaLast fall we spent five days at Disneyland with our grandchildren.  It was a great experience, but it didn’t compare to our experience on the river.   The grandkids were always busy riding in a raft with kids their age, inflatable kayaking with me, stand-up paddle boarding beside the raft, or kayaking with the guides.  At camp they played beach games, built sand-castles for their tiny pet fish and learned a number of card games from the guides.  I think it had something to do with guides specifically assigned to entertain the kids (Kid Gurus). The amazing part to me was that the I could have an adult  conversation on the raft, enjoy a quiet drink at camp, or take in the wilderness experience, but still had an amazing bonding experience with the kids. No crowds, no screaming kids, no discussion about where to eat, no looking for a parking spot, and no long lines.  We saw bears, bald eagles and mountain sheep on nearly a daily basis.  One evening,  two large male mountain sheep hung around camp so long, I thought they were going to join us for dinner.


IK-dad-and-son I am thinking about the Middle Fork in August.   I get all of the above, plus a Blue Ribbon trout fishery. Think about it, I get credit for showing the grandkids a wonderful time, while I relax and catch some trout.  Hopefully their parents don’t read this… I might lose my title as Grandpa of the Year.”

-Grandpa Berney





Fly Fishing on the Middle Fork with Salmon River Anglers

Native Westslope Cutthroat Trout found on the Middle Fork
Native Westslope Cutthroat Trout found on the Middle Fork

Middle Fork of the Salmon River review By Justin Pond:

Typical day on the Middle Fork:

“After fishing all day in a 12 ft raft to rising Cutthroats, we ate a gourmet meal of salmon and garlic potatoes. We then made the 1 mile trek to soak ourselves in a perfectly heated natural hot pot with an equally warm waterfall acting as a shower up Loon Creek. The rest of the night consisted of a little Texas Hold Em and good conversation. As I retired to bed, I realized that we were witnessing a perfectly formed utopia where white water rafting met fantastic fishing; an outdoor paradise they call the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.”dwn-river-shot

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River flows 106 miles through some of the wildest country left in the lower 48 states, directly through the heart of Idaho’s 2.4 million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Consequently there are no roads into the area; access is either gained by a hike, a horse ride, flight in by bush plane or by floating all or part of its 106 miles. However the effort exerted will be well worth it as the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is one of the premier fly fishing rivers in the Continental U.S. for native Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout. In order to float this wild & scenic river, one either has to obtain a permit via the Idaho 4 River lottery system or go as a member of a commercially guided trip with any of many licensed outfitters. The Middle Fork Outfitters Association web page is a great reference tool to find an outfitter. Many of the outfitters offer fishing specific trips.

For those that wish to drive directly to the river, the Boundary Creek boat launch area and campground are approximately 50 miles from the town of Stanley. To get there from Stanley take SR 21 Northwest 20 miles to Bear Valley Rd (between mile post 109 and 110) then 26 miles on dirt road until you reach Boundary Creek. From Boundary Creek you can fish either up or down stream. (Dagger Falls is located just upstream. There is also another campground located at Dagger Falls.)



Fly Fishing on the Middle Fork is best from early July through September. (During an average water year, there will simply be too much water to fish effectively before mid July.) I prefer to float the river at water levels between 2 and 2.5 feet. These levels are typically found in late July/early August. Fish will range in size from 10-21 inches with the average fish being in the 12 to 15 inch range. If you float the river, the fish will get bigger as the river increases its flow beneath Big Creek (Big Creek itself is a fantastic fishery). Assuming that the fish cooperate a little, it is not uncommon for the skilled angler to frequently catch more than 50 trout in a day. On this river, even a less than ideal cast can bring a vigorous rise and the crystal clear water allows the angler to watch the underwater action. The fish are willing to take flies on top of water whether there is a hatch on or not. Consequently, the Middle Fork Salmon River is an excellent place to introduce the young or novice angler to the sport of fly fishing.

Give us a call to join Salmon River Anglers (SRA) on our All Inclusive Fly Fishing Trips on the Middle Fork.   Our SRA guides flock from around the world to fish the Middle Fork in September.   Trips will  enjoy the Rocky tradition of  world class guides, amazing food, great wine and the West’s best multi-day guided Fly Fishing Experience.

All-Inclusive Middle Fork Fly Fishing Dates, Rates & Details

September 10, 18 & 26th



Middle Fork & Main Salmon Trip Availability

Spring is in the air and the Rocky Crew is busy organizing gear, stocking food, and getting ready for our first trip of the season. As summer approaches, the frequency of calls and emails increase as the last minute travel planners are scouring the web for the ultimate family adventure. Here is a quick update for our potential guests and all our friends and past customers that continue to recommend our small group river trips through Idaho’s Wilderness.

Idaho Rafting

Middle Fork of the Salmon

Thanks to our loyal guests, great guides and amazing food, our trips consistently sell out year after year.  Due to Rocky’s reputation for great guides and amazing trips, our Middle Fork trips are sold out through July 30th.   Act quickly… Rocky’s Peak Season Middle Fork Trip on August 2-7th only has a few seats remaining.

6 Day Trip…Rocky’s most popular

August 10-15: 6 Seats Available
August 18-23: 4 Seats 

5 Day Trip

August 26-30 : 9 Seats
September 3-7:  10 Seats

Middle Fork Fly Fishing- 12 person max

Sept 10-15 : Only a few seats left, call now!
September 18-23
September 26- October 1


Wild & Scenic Salmon

The combination of Sawtooth Adventure Company’s reputation for offering the best family adventure available mixed with Rocky’s tradition of  great guides and amazing food has our Wild & Scenic Salmon trips in high demand.  This trip is perfect for families looking to escape  and  reconnect with their family & friends as they retrace Lewis & Clark’s footsteps on Idaho’s famous Wild & Scenic Salmon River of No Return.

5 Day Trips

July 5-9:  12 seats available
July 13 -17:  6 seats
July 21-2: Annual Kids Trip-Sold Out
July 29- Aug 2:  8 seats

6 Day Trips

August 6-11:  9 seats available

Private Small Group Trips are available before July 5th and after August 11th.  We offer private trips for groups of 6 or more.  Give us a call or  Contact us for details.


The Middle Fork of the Salmon…Earth Day is Every Day!

It is an exciting time in the Rocky home office as the Idaho Rafting season is quickly approaching.  The phone is ringing with excited guests as they plan and prepare for their magical journey down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon.

Idaho Rafting

As I talk with guests  about our world-class rafting trips and I find myself constantly being poised against our desert counterpart, the majestic Grand Canyon.  This comes as no surprise as It is common knowledge that the Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Grand Canyon are America’s (and the world’s) “must-do” river trips.  Both have world-renowned whitewater, amazing scenery and great history…but in our humble opinion, it’s not even a contest.


The obvious reason…the Middle Fork is untouched by mankind.  In a world where mankind’s fingerprints have touched nearly everything, it is refreshing to find a place that is the same today as when the Shoshone and Sheepeater Indians called it there home. This fact seems especially poignant with the timing of Earth Day and America’s one day reminder to take their shoes off, walk barefoot in the grass, take a deep breath of fresh air, listen to the birds, and appreciate our natural world.   On the Middle Fork, Earth Day is every day.  This amazing free-flowing river runs the same course as it did when the dinosaurs roamed.   You won’t find National Parks, dams and man-made floods.  The Middle Fork has very few endangered species ad even fewer invasive species.   What you will find is towering Yellow Pines, cascading crystal clear creeks, native West-Slope cutthroat, returning spawning Salmon and hardly the fingerprint of man. Simply put….like no other place on earth.sac_midmain_2010

Lovers (and future lovers) of the Middle Fork owe this ageless gift to the former US senator from Idaho, Frank Forrester Church III.    Senator Church was extremely influential securing protection for the unparalleled wilds of central Idaho.  Frank Church lead the charge for the Wilderness Act of 1968, The Wild & Scenic River Act, and the Frank Church –River of No Return Wilderness.  The result of these three historic pieces of legislature created the majestic Middle Fork of the Salmon.  Nowhere else can one find a designated Wild & Scenic River that slices through the largest protected Wilderness Area in the lower 48.

The Middle Fork remains one of the last places in the United States where young generations can visit and experience wilderness in its pure form.  It is no surprise Rocky Mountain River Tours has such a large number of returning clients each summer.  Once you experience the magic of the Middle Fork you will swear to return, and share it with your closest family and friends.  As a steward of the Frank Church Wilderness and and partner with the US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain River Tours is committed to continuing the legacy of the amazing Frank Church Wilderness and the wild Middle Fork of the Salmon for future generations to visit and enjoy.

Our 2013 trips are filling fast.  Give us a call to reserve your week in the wilderness and to learn more about our world-class Idaho river trips.


Jared H.


Why Raft Idaho
Idaho the Whitewater State

Who are Rocky’s New Partners?

Jared, Roni & Maya Hopkinson

Jared & Roni Hopkinson
Join us on the ultimate family adventure.
Jared, Maya & Roni Hopkinson

Jared, Roni & Maya Hopkinson founded Sawtooth Adventure Company in 2001.  SAC’s safety record, great guides and excellent service has set the standard for 1-day family raft trips on the Upper Salmon River and Wild & Scenic Main Salmon.  Jared & Roni met at the University of Utah while pursuing a degree in Commercial Recreation Management & Marketing.  Jared has recently returned to the U teaching Electronic Marketing & Management in the Outdoor Industry while obtaining a graduate degree in Adventure & Outdoor Planning.    Jared’s heart is in Idaho and served as the President of the Stanley Chamber of Commerce from 06’ to 12’ .  See more about Jared’s experience on LinkedIn

Jared, Roni & Maya are proud to announce the receipt of’s 2012 Certificate of Excellence for their family rafting trips with Sawtooth Adventure Company, the highest service award available by the web’s leading travel resource.  Jared and Roni will bring their experience offering the nation’s best family rafting adventures to maintain and build on Rocky’s tradition and exceptional service on the magical Middle Fork.

Sawtooth Adventure Company ranked #1 on

Good things seem to all happen at once.  In addition to Jared & Roni’s expansion to the Middle Fork they are excited to expand their family with the arrival of a jr Middle Fork guide this August.  Ironically,  Maya was born the same year Sawtooth Adventure Company was founded and has been the motivating factor behind creating the Ultimate Family Adventure ever since.  Wonder what the next jr guide will bring?