The Lodge Accommodation trips offered by Salmon River Rafting Company are among the most unique wilderness adventures available in this country, primarily because one does not immediately think of lodges existing within a wilderness. However, the Salmon River Canyon has a long human history with early inhabitants homesteading several of the few flat areas adjacent to the river. When the River Of No Return Wilderness was established Congress recognized the property rights of the people who hold title to these inholdings, as well as several permitted fishing and hunting lodges which existed prior to their legislative action.
Accordingly, with appropriate planning we are able to arrange nightly stop-overs at several of these facilities. It should be noted these facilities are rustic in nature. Considering they exist within the largest wilderness area in the lower forty-eight states, and that access to these sites is by river, horse, or in some cases, by airplane, they are surprisingly comfortable, especially if the weather is cold or wet. At most of the facilities, same gender single guests may expect to share a room with multiple beds. Couples are provided private rooms. Each lodge is different but most have flush toilets and all provide hot showers. The hospitality is unmatched.
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River of No Return Lodge:
This is our first night's stay and is a permitted facility. Designed primarily as a fishing camp it has some rooms with a private bath but most of the sleeping cabins provide several bedrooms with a shared bath. Some rooms have bunk beds. Heat for the cabins is accomplished with either propane or wood burning stoves. There is no electricity but lighting is provided with propane fixtures. There is a spacious dining lodge and the site contains an old prospectors cabin which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This lodge is located at the mouth of Smith Gulch, nineteen miles downstream from our launch point, and can only be reached by the river. View Web Site.
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Located twenty-one miles downstream from River of No Return Lodge, Whitewater Ranch, on Little Mallard Creek, was homesteaded in the early 1900's by Eugene Churchill. The ranch has a turn of the century pelton wheel hydroelectric plant which generates power for the facility. In some very dry years Little Mallard Creek may not supply sufficient water to operate the plant, but we normally expect to have electricity when we stay here. There is a dining lodge with several rooms and a bath on the second level. Two modern cabins with two sleeping rooms and a shared bath in each cabin arepart of the accommodations. The original two story homestead cabin is also available for guests. Again, guests of the same gender can expect to share rooms in separate beds. The ranch has an airstrip and several trails offer an opportunity for hiking.
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China Bar Lodge:
China Bar Lodge, at the mouth of Lemhi Creek, eight miles downstream from Whitewater Ranch is perhaps the most rustic of the facilities we are likely to utilize for overnight accommodations. The lodge offers hot showers and electricity, but has outhouses instead of flush toilets. There is a main dining lodge and two sleeping cabins. The sleeping cabins have small partitioned rooms with two beds each, and a communal shower room for each cabin. Although rustic, the facility has one of the most attractive locations on the river, with a large deck overlooking the river, and the hospitality is first class. Some repeat clients find this the most pleasant of the lodges while others prefer the next lodge downstream for the third night's stay. Arrangements for overnight stays at this facility are made based upon several factors. One is the availability of the remaining two river lodges in the canyon. Sometimes we have to utilize this facility and sometimes we simply elect to stay here. View Web Site.
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Mackay Bar Lodge:
This lodge near the mouth of the South Fork of the Salmon has some of the most modern facilities in the canyon. It can be either our third or fourth night's stay. Electricity is provided by a propane generator. Couples can expect a private room with private bath. Large groups with single participants may expect to share a room with same gender companions. This facility also has an airstrip from which we arrange air taxi egress from the canyon during low water seasons. There is a main dining lodge and accommodation facilities range from motel type rooms with private baths to well appointed houses with multiple bedrooms and baths. Mackay Bar is ten miles downstream from China Bar. Thus, if this is our third night's lodging the length of the third day will be eighteen miles. If it is our fourth night's lodging the length of the fourth day will be ten miles. Additionally, if this is the forth night's lodging we will either jet back up river or fly out on the fifth river morning, depending on water level at the time of the trip. View Web Site.
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Shepp Ranch is the final facility on the Salmon River and will most often be our fourth night's accommodations. Located at the mouth of Crooked Creek, it is ten miles downstream from Mackay Bar. Couples can expect a private room with private bath. Single participants may expect to share a room with same gender trip companions. Electricity is provided with a diesel generator. There is a main dining lodge with cabins for guests accommodations, and a hot tub near the river. This also is a historic site, having been homesteaded at the turn of the century. The ranch has an airstrip from which we will fly out on the fifth river day or jet back if water levels permit. View Web Site.