Lower Salmon River

Quick Facts

Lower Salmon River


(208) 962-3245

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Lower Salmon River is a "pool and drop" river, with the more difficult rapids in the narrow canyons. Numerous white and sandy beaches on both sides of the river offer camping. The 20-mile stretch of the Snake River, from the confluence with the Salmon River to the Heller Bar take-out near the confluence with the Grande Ronde River, contains slower moving water with some rapids and is often characterized by stiff up-canyon winds.

The 425-mile waterway is the longest in the lower 48 states and one of the few in the nation that contain no dams. The river begins at not much more than a trickle at an elevation of about 8,000 feet in the Sawtooth and Whitecloud Mountains of central Idaho. It gathers force as it makes its way northeast and then west, fed by snows from the Sawtooth and Salmon River Mountains in the south and the Clearwater and Bitterroot Mountains in the north.

About 150 miles further on its westward course, the Salmon River has carved the second deepest canyon in North America, which effectively splits Idaho in half. The section known as the Lower Salmon River begins at Vinegar Creek, 25 miles above the town of Riggins. At Riggins, the river swings north and then west for 87 miles where it then meets the Snake River. The Salmon and Snake combine to flow into the Columbia River and eventually into the ocean. The drainage area of the Salmon River, which lies entirely within Idaho's borders, encompasses approximately 13,550 square miles.

The river and its canyon are truly remarkable. The numerous and unusual white sand beaches are a reminder that this river is still free flowing. Respect the river, listen to it, learn from it, cooperate with it and care for it.

Map of Lower Salmon River

Latitude, Longitude: 44.217515, -114.929183



  • Boating

    The area offers great boating opportunities. The Lower Salmon River is well known for its kayaking, canoeing and rafting.

  • Camping

    There are numerous large sandy beaches for camping. Very few of the camps have shade.

  • Fishing

    There is great fishing. Salmon and Steelhead are in the river in the fall, winter and spring. Rainbow trout, small mouth bass and sturgeon are in the river year around.

  • Hunting

    There is great hunting in designated areas.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Use of off-highway vehicles is allowed in designated areas. Check with park officials for more information.

  • Picnicking

    There are lots of wonderful places for a picnic along the river.

  • Water Sports

    Boating and fishing.



Access is via U.S. Highway 95 through Riggins and White Bird, Idaho.

Phone Numbers


(208) 962-3245