Salmon River Trail In Oregon

Here is everything you need to know about the Salmon River Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Oregon
  • Length: 14.6 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website: Info not available.

The Salmon River Trail, located in the state of Idaho, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The area surrounding the Salmon River has been inhabited by Native American tribes for thousands of years. The Nez Perce people, in particular, have a deep connection to this region, using the river as a vital resource for fishing and transportation. They established a network of trails along the river, including what is now known as the Salmon River Trail.

In the early 19th century, European explorers and fur traders began to venture into the area. The Lewis and Clark Expedition, which passed through the region in 1805, played a significant role in opening up the Salmon River Trail to further exploration and settlement. The expedition’s journals provide valuable insights into the landscape and the encounters they had with Native American tribes along the way.

As the United States expanded westward, the Salmon River Trail became an important route for pioneers and gold prospectors during the mid-1800s. The discovery of gold in the nearby Boise Basin in 1862 led to a significant influx of settlers, who used the trail to access the mining areas. The trail served as a lifeline for supplies and transportation, connecting remote communities and mining camps.

Over time, the Salmon River Trail evolved from a Native American trade route to a vital link for early explorers, settlers, and miners. Today, it stands as a testament to the historical significance of the region and offers hikers and outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the natural beauty and rich heritage of the Salmon River area.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Salmon River Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Salmon River Trail and is located near Welches, Oregon. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

2. Green Canyon Campground: This campground is located along the Salmon River Trail and serves as a popular access point for hikers. It offers camping facilities and access to the trail.

3. Salmon River West Trailhead: Located near Rhododendron, Oregon, this trailhead provides access to the western portion of the Salmon River Trail. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

4. Salmon River East Trailhead: Situated near Zigzag, Oregon, this trailhead serves as an access point for the eastern section of the Salmon River Trail. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

5. Old Salmon River Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Brightwood, Oregon, and offers access to the Old Salmon River Trail, which connects to the main Salmon River Trail. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

6. Salmon River South Trailhead: Situated near Government Camp, Oregon, this trailhead provides access to the southern portion of the Salmon River Trail. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

7. Salmon River North Trailhead: Located near Mount Hood Village, Oregon, this trailhead serves as an access point for the northern section of the Salmon River Trail. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

8. Salmon River Bridge Trailhead: Situated near Rhododendron, Oregon, this trailhead offers access to the Salmon River Bridge Trail, which connects to the main Salmon River Trail. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

9. Salmon River Meadows Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Government Camp, Oregon, and provides access to the Salmon River Meadows Trail, which intersects with the Salmon River Trail. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

10. Salmon River Cutoff Trailhead: Situated near Zigzag, Oregon, this trailhead serves as an access point for the Salmon River Cutoff Trail, which connects to the main Salmon River Trail. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Salmon River Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from the Salmon River Trail.
2. Salmon River Taxi – Taxi service available for convenient transportation around the Salmon River Trail area.
3. Salmon River Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the Salmon River Trail.
4. Salmon River Bus Tours – Guided bus tours providing transportation and informative commentary along the Salmon River Trail.
5. Salmon River Trail Hiking Tours – Hiking tour service offering transportation and guided hikes on the Salmon River Trail.
6. Salmon River Trail Horseback Riding – Horseback riding service providing transportation and scenic rides along the Salmon River Trail.
7. Salmon River Trail Kayak Rentals – Kayak rental service offering transportation and water exploration on the Salmon River Trail.
8. Salmon River Trail Rafting Tours – Rafting tour service providing transportation and thrilling adventures on the Salmon River Trail.
9. Salmon River Trail Helicopter Tours – Helicopter tour service offering transportation and breathtaking aerial views of the Salmon River Trail.
10. Salmon River Trail ATV Rentals – ATV rental service providing transportation and off-road exploration on the Salmon River Trail.


The amenities available at the Salmon River Trail may vary depending on the specific location and facilities. However, here are some common amenities that can be found at many sections of the trail:

1. Restrooms: Some sections of the trail may have restroom facilities available, either at the trailhead or along the trail.

2. Parking: There are usually designated parking areas or parking lots available at the trailheads for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The Salmon River Trail offers various camping opportunities along its length. These may include designated campsites with amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and tent pads.

4. Picnic Areas: There are often designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

5. Trailhead Facilities: Many trailheads along the Salmon River Trail have additional amenities such as information kiosks, maps, and interpretive signs to provide visitors with information about the trail and its surroundings.

6. Water Access: Depending on the specific section of the trail, there may be opportunities for water access, such as swimming, fishing, or boating.

7. Scenic Overlooks: The trail may have designated viewpoints or scenic overlooks where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Salmon River and surrounding landscapes.

8. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you may find interpretive signs that provide information about the natural and cultural history of the area, wildlife, plants, and other points of interest.

It is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management organizations for specific amenities available at the Salmon River Trail section you plan to visit, as amenities can vary.

Nearby Services

1. Salmon River Lodge – Cozy lodging option with scenic views of the river.
2. Riverside Cafe – Quaint eatery offering delicious meals by the river.
3. Salmon River Campground – Campsite with basic amenities, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Salmon River Inn – Charming inn providing comfortable accommodations near the trail.
5. River’s Edge Restaurant – Popular dining spot serving a variety of dishes with a riverside setting.
6. Salmon River Motel – Convenient lodging option with easy access to the trail.
7. Salmon River General Store – One-stop shop for groceries, snacks, and camping supplies.
8. Salmon River Medical Clinic – Nearby medical facility for any emergency medical needs.
9. Salmon River Fire Department – Local fire station providing emergency services to the area.
10. Salmon River Ranger Station – Information center for trail updates and assistance.

Salmon River Trail Difficulty Notes

The Salmon River Trail is known for its challenging and rugged terrain, making it a moderately difficult hiking experience. The trail spans approximately 33 miles through the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness in Oregon, offering breathtaking views of the river, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. Hikers can expect steep ascents and descents, rocky sections, and narrow paths that require careful navigation. The trail also includes several river crossings, which can be challenging during high water levels. While the difficulty level may pose a challenge to some, the trail rewards hikers with its stunning natural beauty and a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

Features And Attractions

1. Salmon River Scenic Byway: The entire trail itself is known for its stunning scenic views, as it winds through the Salmon-Challis National Forest and the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

2. Salmon River Canyon: This section of the trail offers breathtaking views of the deep canyon carved by the Salmon River. The rugged cliffs and the rushing river create a dramatic landscape.

3. Shoup Bridge: This historic bridge, built in 1926, spans the Salmon River and offers a picturesque view of the river and surrounding mountains.

4. Herd Creek Falls: Located near the trail, this beautiful waterfall cascades down a rocky cliff into the Salmon River. It’s a great spot for a refreshing break and some stunning photos.

5. Buckhorn Lookout: This scenic viewpoint provides panoramic views of the Salmon River Valley and the surrounding mountains. It’s a perfect spot to take in the beauty of the area.

6. Sunbeam Dam: This historic dam, built in the early 1900s, is now partially submerged due to the construction of a larger dam downstream. It’s an interesting sight to see and offers a glimpse into the area’s history.

7. Yankee Fork Gold Dredge: This massive gold dredge, now a historic site, was used in the early 1900s to extract gold from the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River. Visitors can explore the dredge and learn about the gold mining history of the area.

8. Salmon River Hot Springs: Located near the trail, these natural hot springs offer a relaxing soak with a stunning view of the Salmon River. It’s a perfect way to unwind after a long hike.

9. Morgan Creek Falls: This picturesque waterfall is located along Morgan Creek, a tributary of the Salmon River. The cascading water and lush surroundings make it a beautiful spot to visit.

10. Sawtooth Mountains: While not directly along the Salmon River Trail, the Sawtooth Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the trail. Their jagged peaks and alpine lakes offer some of the most scenic views in the region.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Salmon River Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is permitted only in designated campsites along the trail.
3. Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings or fire pits.
4. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
5. Hunting and fishing are allowed in accordance with state regulations.
6. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
7. Hiking and camping are allowed year-round, but be prepared for seasonal weather conditions.
8. Swimming and wading in the Salmon River are permitted, but caution is advised due to strong currents.
9. Leave no trace: Practice responsible outdoor ethics by minimizing your impact on the environment.
10. Respect wildlife and their habitats. Do not feed or approach wild animals.
11. Permits may be required for certain activities such as group camping or special events. Check with the local authorities for more information.

Seasonal Information

The Salmon River Trail, located in the beautiful state of Oregon, offers a stunning outdoor experience for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. While the trail is accessible year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting, as well as some seasonal closures to be aware of.

One of the best times to visit the Salmon River Trail is during the spring and early summer months, typically from April to June. During this time, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, and the surrounding forests are lush and green. The weather is generally mild, making it pleasant for hiking and exploring the trail. Additionally, the Salmon River is often at its peak flow during this period, creating a picturesque setting with cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear streams.

Another great time to visit the Salmon River Trail is in the fall, from September to October. As the leaves change color, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn hues. The cooler temperatures make hiking more comfortable, and the crowds tend to be smaller compared to the peak summer season. Fall also offers the opportunity to witness the annual salmon run, where you can observe the incredible spectacle of salmon swimming upstream to spawn.

It is important to note that the Salmon River Trail has some seasonal closures. During the winter months, typically from November to March, sections of the trail may be closed due to heavy snowfall and hazardous conditions. It is advisable to check with local authorities or park rangers for the latest trail conditions and closures before planning your visit. However, even during the winter, the trail can still be enjoyed by snowshoers and cross-country skiers, providing a unique and serene experience in a winter wonderland.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Salmon River Trail are during the spring and early summer for the blooming wildflowers and peak river flow, as well as in the fall for the stunning autumn colors and the salmon run. However, it is essential to be aware of the seasonal closures during the winter months. Regardless of the time of year, the Salmon River Trail promises a memorable outdoor adventure with its scenic beauty and diverse wildlife.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead with sufficient space for wheelchair users to enter and exit their vehicles.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A trailhead with a smooth and level surface, allowing easy access for wheelchair users.
3. Paved Pathways: Wide and smooth paved pathways along the trail, providing a comfortable surface for wheelchair users.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars, wider doorways, and sufficient space for wheelchair maneuverability.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and benches, allowing wheelchair users to comfortably enjoy outdoor meals.
6. Wheelchair Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trail that offer scenic views and are easily accessible for wheelchair users.
7. Accessible Trail Signage: Clear and visible signage along the trail, including braille and tactile elements, to assist individuals with visual impairments.
8. Accessible Trail Information: Availability of trail maps, brochures, and other information in accessible formats such as large print or electronic versions.
9. Assistance Animals: Accommodation for individuals with disabilities who rely on service animals, allowing them to access the trail with their trained companions.
10. Accessible Trail Features: Incorporation of accessible features like ramps, handrails, and curb cuts to ensure smooth navigation for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility challenges.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Salmon River Trail is a moderately difficult trail with uneven terrain and steep sections, requiring proper hiking gear and physical fitness.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail can experience rapid temperature drops, rain, and strong winds.
3. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost, as the trail intersects with other paths.
4. River Crossings: Exercise caution when crossing the river, especially during high water levels, and consider using trekking poles for stability.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Be aware of potential encounters with wildlife, including bears and snakes, and follow proper safety guidelines such as making noise and carrying bear spray.
6. Water Sources: Carry enough water or a water filtration system, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
7. Camping Regulations: Familiarize yourself with camping regulations and designated campsites along the trail to ensure a safe and legal camping experience.
8. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting the natural environment.
9. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, emergency whistle, and a map of the trail, and inform someone of your hiking plans.
10. Hiking in Groups: Consider hiking with a partner or in a group for added safety, especially in remote areas of the trail.
11. Trail Conditions: Check for trail updates and conditions before embarking on your hike, as weather events or maintenance work may affect accessibility.
12. Physical Limitations: Assess your physical abilities and limitations before attempting the trail, as it requires endurance and stamina.
13. Cell Phone Reception: Be aware that cell phone reception may be limited or nonexistent along certain sections of the trail, so plan accordingly for communication needs.
14. Time Management: Allow ample time to complete the trail, considering your hiking pace, rest breaks, and daylight hours.
15. Hiking Permits: Check if any permits or passes are required for hiking the Salmon River Trail, and obtain them in advance if necessary.

Conservation Notes

The Salmon River Trail, located in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness of Oregon, is considered to have a relatively stable conservation status. The trail is situated within a protected wilderness area, which ensures that it is managed and preserved in a manner that minimizes human impact and maintains its natural integrity. As a result, the Salmon River Trail is able to provide a habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal species.

Efforts have been made to protect the Salmon River Trail from potential threats such as invasive species and habitat degradation. The trail is regularly monitored and managed by park rangers and conservation organizations to ensure that any issues are promptly addressed. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles, which include practices such as packing out trash and staying on designated trails, to minimize their impact on the surrounding environment.

The Salmon River Trail is also home to several sensitive species, including the threatened Northern Spotted Owl and the endangered Coho Salmon. Conservation efforts are focused on preserving and restoring the habitat of these species, as well as maintaining the overall ecological balance of the area. By implementing measures to protect water quality, prevent erosion, and manage recreational activities, the conservation status of the Salmon River Trail is upheld, allowing visitors to enjoy its natural beauty while ensuring its long-term sustainability.

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