Middle Fork Salmon River

Middle of Nowhere: Hiking Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon Trail

By Michael Lanza

I pause on a trail 300 feet above one of the West’s wildest rivers, deep in the second-largest wilderness area in the contiguous United States. Below me, Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River bends like an elbow between steep mountainsides of ponderosa pines in a canyon nearly 4,000 feet deep. I notice people and rafts on a beach campsite—the first people I’ve seen since I started hiking from Boundary Creek seven miles upstream almost three hours ago, planning to reach Indian Creek, another 20 miles downstream, by this evening.

Suddenly, a nasal shriek startles me. I spin around to see an elk crossing the trail I’d walked minutes ago. And I think: Welcome to the Idaho wilderness.

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10 Really Cool Outdoor Adventures With Kids

By Michael Lanza

Want to guarantee that your kids are always excited about getting outdoors as a family? Find adventures that excite them. We adults tend to look for nice scenery, but that, by itself, isn’t always going to fire up a school-age child or teenager. No matter what their age, kids want to engage with the outdoors—to get dirty and wet and climb around. By thinking a little more about trip planning, parents can find places and activities that inspire everyone scenically and experientially.

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Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho.

Video: Rafting Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River

By Michael Lanza

On a six-day rafting and kayaking trip on one of the world’s premier wilderness rivers, Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon, my family and 21 friends and relatives enjoyed beautiful canyon scenery, great side hikes to waterfalls and overlooks hundreds of feet above the river, and big whitewater: The roughly 100-mile-long Middle Fork has some 300 ratable rapids, many of them class III and IV.

This video captures the unique beauty, thrills, and magic of rafting and kayaking the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

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A raft filled with children running Cliffside Rapid on Idaho's Middle Fork Salmon River.

Big Water, Big Wilderness: Rafting Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River

By Michael Lanza

Standing on the rocky bank of Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River, deep within the second-largest U.S. wilderness outside Alaska, my 14-year-old son, Nate, and I look down at the foaming, frothing, spitting energy of Marble Rapid—the first big whitewater of our six-day rafting and kayaking trip down one of the world’s premier wilderness rivers. One of our guides, Matt Leidecker, points to the rapid’s entrance, where the river makes a hard, 90-degree right turn at a “hole,” a depression where the roaring current recirculates powerfully enough to toss a person in a kayak around like a bathtub toy. “I’ve seen that hole keep kayaks,” he warns us.

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