We employ a variety of self bailing boats on the Middle Salmon that you will have the opportunity to enjoy as you travel down the river. Your choice will depend on the level of activity that you are interested in and the logistics of the trip. We find that most guests tend to rotate among the different boats.
Paddle boat are fourteen to fifteen foot boats that are powered by strokes of the paddle crew. The guide typically sits in the back and gives paddle commands to a team of paddlers. Paddle boats are a very popular option on the Middle Fork due to the continuous natural flow of the river. Active participation is required by the crew of a paddle boat in order to negotiate the rapids. Please let us know how much time you would like to be in the paddle boat so that we bring the correct number of boats.
Helmets and wetsuits are usually not necessary for paddlers on the paddle boat, but they may be required during cold weather or high water trips in the early season.
Oar boats are sixteen to eighteen feet long and carry gear and supplies, as well as one to four passengers. Two or three passengers on an oar boat is typical. A ride on an oar boat is an opportunity to relax, enjoy the scenery, or chat with friends and family. Fishermen typically choose the oar boat so they can enjoy the excellent fishing offered on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.
The oar boat is the least active option for guests and typically provides the lowest probability of a "swim." It is also a great option for passengers looking for a day of rest in between active days in a paddle boat or inflatable kayak.
Inflatable Kayak (Duckie)
Duckies are the ultimate vessel for the active river runner. This is an opportunity to run the rapids of the Middle Fork under your own power and direction. The guides will give instruction for the duckies before the trip and direction for the rapids while on the water.
Helmets are always required while paddling the duckies and at times a wetsuit may be required. We only allow duckies down the lower 80 miles of the Middle Fork. This means that for trips starting at Boundary Creek there will be a day and a half when the duckies are not available.
Duckies are usually shared and we make a big effort to bring the right number for each trip. Paddling duckies is very addictive for independent and active people. If you feel that you would like to paddle a duckie for the entire length of the trip, please ask about a "duckie guarantee."
Note: Duckie guarantees are available to those with prior kayak experience.
The cost of a guarantee is $90/trip.
The sweep boat is unique to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and at twenty-two feet is the largest boat on the river. It is different from an oar boat because it has "sweeps" at the bow and stern of the boat that the "sweep driver" uses to direct the boats path. The sweep boat needs current in order to navigate the river since it doesn't have typical oars to power it.
The sweep boat does not carry guests. Each morning of a Middle Salmon trip the guides load the sweep boat with most of the camp supplies and guest dry bags. Then the sweep boat guide floats ahead to the next campsite to set up camp.