The Salmon River is one of the longest free flowing rivers in North America and it is definitely one of the top Idaho summer season destinations. There are many sections of this river to experience and the Lower Salmon River is one of the most popular stretches, especially with the whitewater rafting crowd. The town of Riggins is located where the Lower Salmon River bends north toward the Snake River confluence and this is where several rafting excursion companies can be found. Some specialize in day trips, overnighters and sunset rafting events, which may even involve a big riverside cookout at the end of the day. Many rafting companies use support vehicles to setup a riverbank kitchen downstream, so the food is hot and ready for the hungry guests upon arrival. Oddly enough, the mobile rafting kitchens usually set up shop in the many roadside BLM dispersed camping areas next to the river, which are also a good option for those who are doing a paved road tour.
The roadside BLM dispersed camping areas along the Lower Salmon River can be found along Highway 95 and most are located near popular fishing spots or natural beach landings. Pack it in-pack it out rules apply and it is best to check fire restrictions before striking a match. Idaho is big bear country so cleaning the fish downstream and storing food properly is wise to do. Portable toilets are now required for camping on nearly all public lands that offer no facilities, so Rv campers will have an advantage. Car and tent campers need not fret, because portable toilets are not a costly investment and even a bare bones bucket with kitty litter and a lid will satisfy the statute. The main thing to keep in mind is one portable toilet has to be onsite if a ranger stops by to check out the camp.
Landing some fish for dinner is not as easy as it used to be on the Salmon River, but there is a strong push for removing the Snake River dams that impede the Chinook Salmon. Trout fly fishing is also popular along this river and having the option to camp at a favorite fishing spot is a real plus. The deep canyons and towering mountains of the Lower Salmon River are breathtaking to see, so be sure to keep the BLM riverside dispersed campsites in mind when planning a tour!
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