Salmon is a hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation gateway on the edge of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho. It’s a town built by Western exploration and widely known as the birthplace of Sacajawea. History buffs and nature adventurers alike find Salmon a unique find in The Gem State and we’re pretty sure you will too. On your visit to Salmon, be sure to try out a few of these 10 things that make it such a special place.
Fact: No matter which way you enter Salmon, you followed a national scenic byway!
Learn some Western history traveling in the paths of settlers, and take in the endless landscapes of the Salmon & Lemhi Valley ranges on these smooth, postcard worthy routes. The Sacajawea Historic Byway, Lewis & Clark Back Country Byway and Salmon River Scenic Byway are all within a short drive from downtown Salmon and can explored as day trips. There’s plenty of picnic spots along the way too!
Cross country skiing, ice fishing, ice skating, alpine skiing & snowboarding & more can all be found in or nearby Salmon, Idaho. Lost Trail powder mountain offers the champaign powder and vertical drop of major resorts, with the forgotten atmosphere of a small-town, family hill. If you’re not into the speed of alpine skiing, perhaps a leisurely snowshoe loop around one of Salmon’s many family friendly trails is more the pace you’re looking for. Visit a hot spring for even more stories to bring home.
“The outdoors” is a 24/7 thing, and some folks don’t want to miss any of it! For those who like to bring their own bed, the Salmon area offers a surprisingly varied selection of camping options. Some have pools, trading posts and homemade pizza, others rest on the natural laurels of serenity and tranquility. Check out a list of local campgrounds here and be sure to look at USFS and Idaho BLM for more camping information and regulations.
Escaping the city bustle isn’t complete without a hike through some of the most history rich landscape of the West. The Salmon-Challis area has hundreds of miles of quiet trails just for day hikers, backpackers and maybe the occasional pack llama. From the smooth and level trails around Williams Lake or Fall Creek to multi-day treks into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, there are hiking adventures for any ability level.
One of the area’s best kept secrets has been the local mountain biking scene. Salmon has a long season (March to November) and a huge network of dirt trails that really do satisfy all skill levels. But here, Winter is actually welcomed by the 2 wheeled peddlers. When the trails start to turn white, Salmon becomes one of the country’s top spots for fat-bikes; mountain bikes designed to float over snow with 4-5 inch wide tires.
You can easily spend an afternoon visiting the shops, galleries and restaurants on Salmon’s quintessential, western-town main street. Although inspired by the city’s historical roots, the atmosphere definitely showcases a young & artsy vibe. From custom cowboy attire & jewelry makers to continental bistros, artisan bakeries and downtown bars, it boasts something for everyone.
The Sacajawea Center
Located just 2 miles from downtown, The Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center is dedicated to the history of the Salmon and Lemhi River Country and our connection to the unique place this area holds in our nation’s history. Learn the heroic truths about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Sacajawea, as well as her people, the Agai’dika Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Hint: When you’re there, take a little extra time and walk the two easy-access trails that wind through this beautiful and historic 71-acre park. It really is an enlightening experience for those who love history and nature.
Describing the Salmon Valley as “photogenic” would be an understatement. No matter what season, the town and it’s surrounding landscape always pops with color & interest. Old western architecture, colorful shops, and the ever changing clouds of the famous Big Sky are enough to make anyone an inspired shutterbug. This wilderness is meant to be photographed!
Salmon takes pride in sharing its wilderness with visitors from all over the world. The Salmon River and its tributaries combine to offer a range of river adventures to match every white water fantasy. River rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and jet boating allow people of all ages and abilities to explore the remote wilderness at their own pace. For the best experience, contact a river guide companies in the area and learn how & when to book a safe, affordable river expedition for the whole family.
It’s hard to ignore the namesake of this town anymore, so let’s just talk about Salmon, Idaho’s most popular claim to fame: fishing the mighty Salmon River. This little Idaho community really is world-known as a world-class fly fishing destination in the U.S.. Fishing is open virtually year round in Lemhi River Country. Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brook and Steelhead Trout are the most plentiful species found in nearby lakes and streams, although many other species are also found.
Hint: If you really want the best advantage here, you need to find a local guide and learn the region!