Salmon River - Steelhead Inn

Salmon River

Salmon River

Salmon River

Salmon River, popularly known as the River of No Return, is a 425 mile river that travels across areas of Stanley, Challis, Salmon, Riggins and Lucile, Idaho. Located in the Northwestern part of the U.S., Salmon River is among the largest rivers in the continental U.S.

Cultural Importance

Unlike any other river, Salmon River holds historical significance to the state of Idaho. It has been home to the Nez Perce people for the past 8,000 years. Considered as a sacred ground, the Salmon River is a source of food and shelter for the people of Nez Perce.

During the 1860s, placer deposits of gold were found in the area of the Salmon River. This made the area a spot for mining during those years. Until today, remnants of those present day and historic mining sites can be seen along the Salmon River.

Diverse Ecosystem

Salmon River plays an important role in the ecosystem. In fact, 45% of all steelhead and spring and summer Chinook salmon found in the entire Columbia River Basin were produced in the River of No Return. Environmental groups are doing their best to keep the population of steelhead and the Chinook salmon up, as it declines mainly due to the four federal reservoirs and dams located within proximal waters of lower Snake and Columbia rivers.

The area surrounding the Salmon River is also home to different animals including bear, deer, elk, bighorn sheep and wolves to name a few of the animals you’ll see in this part of Idaho.


There are several activities that you could do if you visit the Salmon River. Within the river’s watershed, you’ll see several national forests as well as the Sawtooth National Recreational Area where you can enjoy activities such as hiking, white water rafting, camping, rock climbing and many more.

Something for Everyone

There are annual boat races that are held in the Salmon River. The annual Salmon River Jet Boat Races offer different teams from both US and Canada. This event typically occurs in Riggins, Idaho every April of the year.

Salmon River is the perfect place for people who are looking for adventure and a taste of the outdoors. Salmon River offers variety of activities for different individuals all year round. Whether you love to hunt, or you love to witness jet boat races, different times of the year offer something new for everyone.

Where to Stay?

Riverfront MotelFinding a good place to stay near Salmon River can be tricky. There are times of the year when it might be very busy. One piece of advice, it is a good idea that you plan your trip ahead.

If you wish to wake up to the sight and sounds of the Salmon River, you could choose Steelhead Inn. As a riverside motel, you’ll wake up to the sight and sounds of the River of No Return. With 9 spacious rooms that you and your family could stay in, you’ll be able to travel to surrounding towns, including Riggins and Grangeville. Steelhead Inn also has amenities such as TV in every room, and wifi, not to mention a community kitchen and dining room where you could prepare your meals if you intend to have an adventure packed day on the Salmon River.

If you would like more information about visiting Steelhead Inn, contact us here.

For more information about Salmon River Canyon activities, visit our blog here.

National Geographic References

Salmon River photo credit: Erik Kaminski.