Rocky Mtn River Tour’s Blog…River Signals

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!