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Salmon-Challis National Forest

The Salmon-Challis National Forest covers more than 4.3 million rugged and wild acres in east-central Idaho.

Rugged and remote, this country offers adventure, solitude and breathtaking scenery. Included within the boundaries of the Forest is 1.3 million acres of the Frank Church-- River of No Return Wilderness Area, the largest wilderness area in the Continental United States.

The Forest also contains Borah Peak, Idaho's tallest peak, the Wild & Scenic Salmon River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The area is a highly desired destination for hunting, fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking and camping and many other popular recreational pursuits.

The Frank

Few places in America, and nowhere outside of Alaska, provide a Wilderness experience to match the sheer magnitude of theFrank Church-River of No Return, the second largest unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System in the Lower 48 (second in size only to California's Death Valley Wilderness).

It is a land of clear rivers, deep canyons, and rugged mountains. The Salmon River Mountains dominate the interior of the Wilderness. Without a major crest, these mountains splay out in a multitude of minor crests in all directions, and rise gradually to wide summits.

Great forests of Douglas fir and lodgepole pine cover much of the area, with spruce and fir higher up and ponderosa pine at lower altitudes. The forests are broken by grassy meadows and sun-washed, treeless slopes.

First-timer’s Adventure

Take a hike!

Follow the Bear Canyon trail through sagebrush and scattered fir for approximately one mile after which you will enter high mountain meadows until you reach the top. At the top the meadow will be dotted with scattered fir trees and aspens. Deer, elk, beaver and black bears are occasionally spotted in this area.

The trail begins at the BLM road the mouth of the Canyon in the Lost River Ranger District. The BLM road accesses the Sawmill Canyon Custer County Road. The second access is on the Bull Creek Road

Statistics

State(s):

Idaho

Nearest Large Urban Area:

Missoula, MT

Notes & Conditions:

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Traveling by Off-highway Vehicle? Using your All-terrain Vehicle for hunting? Learn more about regulations here.

Passes, Permits and Fees:

There are several permits and fees required with certain areas of the forest, most notably the Four Rivers Lottery System, which are the permits required for the Main Salmon and Middle Fork of the Salmon rivers along with the Payette and Hells Canyon. These trips are some of the best wild, whitewater trips in the nation! To learn more about applications, click here.

Maps:

Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.