Wild and Scenic Salmon River

The Salmon River and it’s Middle Fork are designated as Wild and Scenic.  “The Salmon flows through a vast wilderness in the second deepest gorge on the continent. Only the Snake River (Hells) Canyon is deeper. The Salmon’s granite-walled canyon is one-fifth of a mile deeper than the Grand Canyon. For approximately 180 miles, the Salmon Canyon is more than one mile deep.”  (This excerpt is from http://www.rivers.gov.) I’ve driven along the river many times while travelling on HWY 95 but I finally explored the short section east of Riggins along FS 1614.  I had thought the stretch along the main highway was impressive until I experienced the ruggedness of this stretch of river.  I can only image how fantastic the scenery is for those who raft the Main and the Middle Forks.

The canyon from Riggins to White Bird is deep and impressive.  Taking some backroads near Grangeville and Cottonwood I was able to access a great (unofficial) viewpoint of the river and canyon.  I spent both the morning and evening at this point with a nice clean view down stream of the ridges and canyons leading towards Hells Canyon.

Salmon River Morning


Salmon River Twilight

The main fork east of Riggins was more shear and rocky.  Vertical walls of granite were exposed and many low ridges were denticulated with spires of granite.  This particular time of year also displayed beautiful greens on the steep slopes.  I had hoped the forest service road from French Creek to Burgdorf would present nice views.  However, I was very limited in looking down or upstream along the canyon.  Nonetheless I stopped at many points and could have taken many days to enjoy the various views along the river.

Rocky Salmon River


Salmon River Cliff


Shoreline Detail


3 thoughts on “Wild and Scenic Salmon River

  1. Very nice, Aaron! I’ve dreamed of getting a shot like that first one; I always see the canyon form below. I really like “Rocky Salmon River” too (though it looks like it has a bit of a green cast).

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