Frequently Asked Questions
Is this trip right for me?
YES! Whether you are a first time adventure traveler, or a seasoned backcountry professional this trip is right for you. If you enjoy the serenity and excitement of backpacking combined with the comforts of home, this is the trip for you. Our guides take care of you better than your mother. . .well almost better.
Is this trip family friendly?
YES! We provide a safe and comforting environment for young children and an exciting and adventurous experience for adults young at heart. Give our knowledgeable staff a call with your specific questions and they will be able to advise you on the best trip for your group. Middle Fork Adventures can accommodate many different group dynamics.
What is the minimum/maximum age?
Middle Fork Adventures does not have rigid age requirements for participation on our Middle Fork of the Salmon river trips. That said, 6 or 7 years is a good lower limit at most lower flows, and 12 years is a good starting point for our higher water trips of early June. As far as a maximum age, all participants should be healthy, active adults. The only hiking that is required is from the boats to camp, which is typically no more than a hundred yards or so, and about a flight of stairs. As with anything, individual comfort levels and experience levels will guide minimum and maximum ages- call us and we can help you make the right decision!
What is there to do at camp?
Well there are no TVs, no WIFI, or no cell phones, so truly the options are limitless. You get to do what your heart truly desires the Middle Fork of the Salmon offers world class fishing, hiking, and scenery. This means you can hang out at camp while our guides prepare fresh appetizers. Hike up side creeks. Soak in hot springs. Play horseshoes, bocce ball, or other camp games. Attend short talks by the guides on history, ecology, geology, etc. Get to know your fellow travelers around a campfire. Star gaze. Practice your guitar skills.
Do phones work on the river?
Can I be contacted if there is an emergency off of the river?
Yes, in the case of an emergency situation a friend or family member can contact our office and our office will contact the trip leader via satellite phone or satellite texter. The trip leader checks in with the phone/texter every day while on the trip.
What if there is an emergency on the river?
In the event of a medical emergency, you can take comfort in knowing that all of our guides are trained in first aid and have many years of wilderness training- some are even EMTs or Wilderness First Responders. The guides will assess the specific situation and determine the best course of action, whether that is to treat and monitor or evacuate. Evacuation costs will be borne by the individual.
What about bathroom facilities?
Middle Fork Adventures practices “Leave No Trace” camping and “Pack in/Pack out” applies to everything - no need to dig any holes. At lunch and at camp each day, our guides will set up portable toilet facilities, lovingly referred to as “Groovers.” (Ask your guide about the namesake if you’re interested.) The groovers will be set up in a private location, with the best possible view of the canyon. At each groover there will be toilet paper, a hand-wash station, and a trash can for feminine products.
How do you keep clean?
On a Middle Fork Adventures trip you will quickly find that river camping is a far cry from “roughing-it”. We always have two hand-wash stations set up in camp to wash our hands - one near the groover and one near the kitchen. We have great strategies for bathing which your trip leader will discuss with you before the trip.
Do I need to bring a tent?
No, Middle Fork Adventures provides tents as well as your cot, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and pillow. We strive to have all tents set up before you get to camp so you have a place to change and relax at the end of the day. Our tents are 6-person tents, however we assign only two guests to each tent, which means you’ll have plenty of room and will be able to stand all the way up. Cots also make sleeping more comfortable and easier to sit up in the morning. While some companies charge extra for “deluxe” sleeping accommodation, this comes standard at Middle Fork Adventures as part of our Full Service Trip!
What gear should I bring, how should I dress?
The weather largely dictates how you dress, and your guides can help you with daily clothing selection based on the weather and the day’s activities. Most of the summer is warm and dry, so lightweight synthetic clothes that dry quickly are a favorite among guides. It does rain in the Frank Church Wilderness and it can get chilly at night and during early and late season trips, so we do recommend that you bring wool and fleece layers as well. Please see our packing list for more detail, and always feel free to call us for specific advice!
Are there bears?
Yes, but don't worry- they are unlikely to come into camp. The Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness is the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States, and the bears have many other places they’d rather be than in our camp. It is very important that we keep our campsites clean and orderly though, since our food scraps most often attract small animals which in turn attract larger animals.
Are there bugs? What do I do about them?
The climate on the Middle Fork is mostly hot and dry, and prevents a vast majority of bugs. That said, there can be some bugs. Simply wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants will keep them at bay for the most part, or you can always bring spray to help keep the little rascals away. If you have allergies you should talk to your doctor about bringing an EpiPen or Epinephrine on the trip. You should inform Middle Fork Adventures staff of any allergies or other health concerns prior to your trip so that we can plan accordingly. We want to make your adventure as safe and comfortable as possible.
What about my dietary concerns or restrictions?
We are more than happy to make accommodations for any food allergy, sensitivity, or dietary restriction. Please communicate any concerns or questions you might have to us prior to your trip launching.
Can we fish on our trip?
Yes, absolutely!! The Middle Fork of the Salmon is a fabulous fishery for anglers of all skill levels. We love teaching basics to beginners and have equipment on our trips for beginners to use. We also love fishing with experienced anglers and sharing our local knowledge.
How do I get a fishing licenses?
To cut down on last-minute errands while you’re on vacation, we recommend that you buy your license online from Idaho Fish & Game.
Can I tip the guides?
While not required, gratuities are happily accepted and always greatly appreciated. Your guides work extremely hard to give you the trip of a lifetime. You can give gratuities to the Trip Leader at the end of the trip, as all tips are shared equally between the guides. Please tip in cash or check made out to the trip leader not to MFA. It is customary to tip 15%-20%, but how much you tip is up to you and depends on your satisfaction with your guides and your trip.
What about my car, and other personal belongings not on the river?
If we picked you up in Boise we will take care of your personal belongings that you do not wish to bring on the river. They will be secured in a private storage locker at the Mountain Village Resort. If you have driven your own vehicle to Stanley you may either make arrangements with your hotel to leave your vehicle there for the duration of the trip, or we can help you make arrangements to have your vehicle shuttled to the takeout.
How is the weather on the Middle Fork?
How many people on the trip?
The maximum number of people the U.S. Forest Service allows on Middle Fork trips is 30, including all guides and staff. The maximum number of guests we allow on a trip is 24. Please contact us if you have interest in a private, chartered trip.
Do I have to paddle?
You’re on vacation, so you don’t have to paddle if you don’t want to! If that’s the case you should ride on one of our oar rafts. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and want to paddle, you can take a spin in our paddle rafts- they are a blast and you’ll be part of the team getting down river! If you’re really feeling playful, try out one of our inflatable kayaks for a solo excursion!
Is there a weight limit for our drybags?
Because of space and weight limitations on our rafts, we ask that you please limit your personal gear to 30 pounds. If this proves difficult, or causes hardship, please give us a call and we can talk with you about your gear selection and other options.
What training do MFA guides have?
Can I bring my camera/video camera?
We highly recommend taking lots of pictures so you can remember this journey and share it with others who couldn’t make it on this trip. Most guests are content with the image quality provided by a waterproof point-and-shoot style digital camera, but if you prefer you may bring fancier equipment. That said, bringing expensive equipment that is not waterproof can be risky. We recommend Pelican boxes and/or Watershed drybags to keep camera equipment dry, and MFA is not responsible for damage or loss
Can I bring music?
If I plan to fish on the trip, what do I need?
Everyone over age 14 or older who wishes to fish must have an Idaho Fishing License. We will bring a small selection of fly fishing equipment for beginners, but if you are an avid fly-fisher we recommend you bring your rod and tackle.
Should I bring my wedding ring?
While we inderstand the hesitation about taking off your wedding ring, we would hate to have your adventure tarnished by the loss of such a valuable item.