Salmon Whitewater Canoeing

Salmon River, Idaho

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Take your spirit of adventure to a canoe expedition. On this course for adults, you’ll join a group of your peers to paddle the Salmon River through the heart of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Whether you’re a first-time camper or coming in with some experience, you’ll find plenty to learn and do on this course. Start your mornings loading your canoe and planning the day’s adventures. Challenge yourself to find a line to paddle through quick-moving rapids. Pause to rest on sandy beaches and natural riverside hot springs. As you progress, you’ll start with the basics of paddling a canoe, then develop skills like canoe rescue, risk management for running rapids, and Leave No Trace camping. This course will be about more than building your expedition skills—you’ll also focus on leadership. Assessing a rapid becomes an opportunity to learn decision-making skills. Living in a close-knit community is a chance to learn about communication and group dynamics. You’ll fill different leadership roles each day, learning about your own style and how you can use it to support your group. At the end of this trip, you’ll leave prepared to lead a canoe expedition and to bring your leadership skills to any team. *The Salmon River is one of the original rivers protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.


Duration: 9 Days
Starts in: Driggs, Idaho
Ends in: Boise, Idaho
Group Size: 8-15
Difficulty: 3/5

Operated by:


The leader in wilderness education since 1965. Learn more at

Additional Information

NOLS Prime: 

NOLS Prime Expeditions are immersive 1- to 3- week wilderness experiences designed exclusively for adults 23 and over. Our mission is to be educators, not guides. This means while learning how to climb, sail, backpack and more, you’re getting experience making decisions and mentorship from your instructors on managing risk with your group—with the goal that when your course is done you are ready to lead friends and family on your own wilderness trips! Vacations are great for a week or two away but wouldn’t you rather go beyond?

NOLS Teton Valley:

Nestled on the Idaho side of the Tetons, and near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, our campus is your gateway to some of the best skiing, backpacking, and paddling in the lower 48. NOLS Teton Valley operates year-round and depending on the season, you might hike along the Continental Divide, paddle whitewater rapids, or backcountry ski in the snow-covered Rockies. In the summer and early fall, backpacking courses travel through the meadows of wildflowers in the mountains of western Wyoming, southern Montana, and eastern Idaho. During the warmer months, you can paddle the Salmon River through one of the West’s largest wilderness areas—the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness—and develop your whitewater skills. When the snow starts to fall, you can take a backcountry ski or snowboarding course, skiing untouched powder and learning the art of winter camping. Before you set off into the backcountry, you’ll dive into avalanche education, snow science—and in some cases, ski lessons at a local resort. Leaving the crowds and lifts behind, you’ll enjoy the quiet, amazing snow, and sense of accomplishment from hard work well done. No matter what time of year you arrive, you can look forward to an unforgettable adventure in the beautiful, rugged landscapes of the West.

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