Camping on the Salmon River with Confluences River Expeditions – Everything You Need to Know

Camping on the Salmon River is the closest we have come to paradise. Since 1982 we have been perfecting everything about our camp culture. From spacious tents and sleeping mattresses to mouth watering entrees and beer pairings, come discover the magic of multi-day rafting with Confluences River Expeditions!

Pulling into camp along the Salmon River every afternoon is one of the highlights of a trip with Confluences River Expeditions. Whether we choose a huge white sand beach, or a gorgeous ponderosa pine stand, we bring all the amenities that’ll make you excited to transition into camp-life. The flow of a Confluences trip is intentionally designed to create an environment for you to relax, unplug, and explore. As soon as we hit the beach, the guides unload the boats and each guest will have the opportunity to select their own personal tent sight where they will create a “home-away-from-home” for the evening. Once you’ve changed into your comfy camp clothes, head on over to the fire and find out what’s for dinner! From there you’ll get an idea of what fun activities are brewing up specifically for that wilderness evening spent under a canopy of stars. 


Our tents and assorted camp gear have been filtered through years of experience to give you the most comfortable, spacious, and luxurious adventure on the river. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned backpacker or a camping beginner, our mission is to make everyone comfortable on our adventures. We utilize easy to set up, incredibly roomy tents that fit two guests wonderfully. If a solo tent is what you’re after that is no problem at all, you’ll be able to select this option when booking. Each guest is also given a freshly laundered and oh-so-comfy sleeping bag for the duration of the trip. All of these items are placed upon our prized “Paco-pads”, without a doubt the most comfortable wilderness sleeping mattress in the world. You won’t believe how dreamy the set up is. You’ll understand why some folks call it “glamping” (glamour camping). Combine this tent set up with CRE mugs, comfy folding chairs, evening fires, and decadent meals. Getting to camp each afternoon may become your favorite part of the day!


Summer weather on the Salmon is usually glorious. Hot sun-filled days ideal for swimming give way to cloudless nights perfect for sleeping under a blanket of stars. However, inclement weather can roll in and it’s important to be prepared. Just in case, we highly recommend bringing a set of rain gear, jacket and pants. We also suggest bringing warmer layers for cooler nights. A fleece or down jacket usually does the trick. Don’t forget to pack comfy clothes for camp life too. Along with something festive for costume night! If you have any questions about packing for your Salmon River rafting trip don’t hesitate to call, our staff are always happy to talk about gear. 

Tower of power dutch oven stack



At Confluences you’ll find the “tower of power” (3-4 stacked dutch ovens) a common site in our kitchen. We LOVE cooking in these incredible tools. They allow us to turn any camp along the Main Salmon into a five star restaurant! In the morning as you’re taking in the first warm rays of sun you may smell stuffed french toast sizzling on the griddle combined with the warm, rich aroma of coffee. In the evening, the air could be thick with the flavor of pork tenderloin and raspberry chipotle cream sauce, or filet mignon with grilled onions and a side of rosemary red potatoes. Each dinner is served with optional beer or wine pairings, handpicked for the way they compliment each flavor of the meal.

We pride ourselves on our menu and can accommodate any food restriction, whether allergy or preference. And don’t worry, we have great menu options for youngsters too, everyone at the table will be a happy camper. Read more about Confluences’ food philosophy here. Come see why eating on a river trip is almost as much fun as the rapids!

Camp life

Settling into camp-life is one of the best parts of a trip with Confluences. Whether you’re looking to kickback with your toes in the sand, explore a gorgeous side creek, fish the afternoon away, or partake in fun leadership and team-building activities our guides will point you in the right direction! We also have a fire each evening that usually inspires some singing, story-telling, s’more roasting, and star gazing. Every evening on our trips is designed for you to make the most out of your time in the Frank Church Wilderness


If you’re nervous about the restroom situation let us put your mind at ease. Rest assured that we have refined our bathroom system over the last 38 years and have come up with a sanitary method that is simple, PRIVATE, and incredibly scenic. Read more about our “groover” here. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! 

Get in touch

Our reservation team is happy to talk about any aspect of your river trip. We have the ability to accommodate nearly any request. Give us a ring and let’s see how we can make your Salmon River adventure simply unforgettable! (208)-756-6215 or

Getting in the Groove! CRE River Toilet.

No Fear! Creating Healthy Groover Culture.

What is the groover?

A groover is a portable river toilet! One of the many specialized and beloved systems river runners have been using for decades. The name “groover” comes from the storied history of these interesting contraptions. Back in the 70’s, when running rivers was gaining popularity, watertight gear was in high demand. No gear manufacturers had yet dove into this market, so rafters were left sourcing their gear from any place they could. Turns out army surplus stores were a great avenue for durable, cheap, watertight gear. Ammo cans and rocket-boxes became the standard container for keeping supplies and waste sealed and watertight. If a raft flipped, leakage is to be avoided at all costs! Now back in those days a 20 MIL rocket box was the standard receptacle for waste. River runners have always been resourceful, however, back then nobody thought to bring a toilet seat! Consequently when you were done with your business you’d stand up and have two deep “grooves” running down the back of your thighs. The name has stuck ever since. 

Have no fear!

At Confluences River Expeditions we bring a toilet seat! Nobody will have to rock stylish grooves, unless they want to of course (everything is challenge by choice at CRE). There are many different river toilet systems these days and we implement a locally manufactured Jon-ny Partner system. Definitely a step up from the basic rocket box! Groover culture is a part of every multi-day river trip and is not something to fear. Besides, the groover always gets placed in a beautiful, secluded, private, location. Just wait until you see the view!

Why do we need to bring a portable toilet?

Recreating on rivers has only grown in popularity since the early days of rafting in the 70’s. Consequently, maintaining the rugged, pristine condition of delicate river corridors has been a challenge. Around 9,000 people travel through the Salmon River canyon each year. That amount of use creates a lot of waste! Standard practice these days is to “pack it in, pack it out” for all waste. Portable river toilets are a required piece of gear for all multi-day river trips.

 CRE groover facts

  • The groover is always available at camp and can be set up during the day if needed.
  • We implement a groover “key” system so you know if it’s occupied or not.
  • Our groover has a custom hand wash system (wishy washy)
  • Toilet paper CAN go in the groover. Other trash CANNOT.
  • There is a trash can set up next to the groover for non-toilet paper items.
  • During the day, ladies will want to bring small zip locks to transport used feminine products. At camp used products can be discarded in the trash.
  • There is a pee bucket by the groover (no pee goes in the Groover)
  • The groover is usually set up near the river. All pee must go into the river or into the pee bucket. 

Current Idaho Snow Pack and What It Means

What’s going on with all the snow in the mountains and how does it impact this upcoming summer? 

Here in Idaho we are lucky to have an abundance of free flowing rivers. What does this mean exactly? A free flowing river is defined as a waterway that has been largely unaffected by human made changes to its flow and connectivity. Dams, for example, are one of the largest and most notable obstructions we humans can put in place to restrict a river’s free flowing character. Way up high in the Columbia River watershed flows the mighty Salmon River, tucked away in its Idaho sanctuary, the Frank Church Wilderness. In this remote and wild mountain stronghold the Salmon’s free flowing character has been preserved through both inaccessibility and legal acts.

The free flowing character of the Salmon River means that the water level within the river corridor fluctuates throughout the year. Because there are no dams to sequester snow melt in reservoirs and release consistent amounts of water, the Salmon witnesses an annual pattern of water rise and drop. Typically this looks like high water in the spring that turns into low water as the year continues on. As the snow begins to melt it floods the rivers and tributaries creating high water events that are sometimes breathtaking to behold! This usually happens between April and June. A ride down the river during this time period is sure to be exhilarating. After June the water level comes down and the river takes on its normal, more friendly appearance. Time to break out the swimsuits and beach chairs! August and September are usually the last rafting months of the year. The water has reached a low point and the weather is beginning to turn sour. These months usually see an influx of fishermen and women hoping to bait big trout out of the deep slow moving eddies. 

This annual pattern comes and goes time and time again.  For free flowing rivers it is largely powered by snow! Think of mountainous snow fields and capped peaks as giant suspended reservoirs where the water is trapped in a frozen, inaccessible state. When the season changes and temperatures rise this giant reservoir begins to release its liquid treasure. Although this phenomenon is typically consistent, the amount of water that this yearly reservoir will release is rarely the same. This is because not all snow is created equal. Some snow holds more water than others and this is where we begin to understand how to value it. 

Snow Water Equivalent, or SWE, is the term used to describe how much liquid water is held in frozen snow. You can think about it as the depth of liquid water that would theoretically result if one melted the entire snow pack instantaneously. This measurement is important for many organizations that rely on snow melt. Examples being reservoirs, power companies, farmers, and rafting organizations. 

The good folks at the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Water and Climate Center collect data on snow water equivalent through multiple snow telemetry, or SNOTEL, monitoring stations throughout the United States. There is an incredible amount of interesting information on their website. Find more here! A tool that we at Confluences look at is the Current Snow Water Equivalent Percent of Normal Maps created by the USDA and NRCS. 

These maps give us insight into how the snow pack shapes up and transforms throughout the winter. Currently the SWE in our neck of the woods is looking right around average at 96% for the Salmon River area! This may change throughout the rest of the winter, but at the moment it looks like we are heading into another classic Idaho water year! Expect some big water in April and June transitioning into perfect flows for that epic family vacation in July and August! See you out on the water! 

The 2019 season at Confluences River Expeditions! Remembering incredible times.

The summer of 2019 was truly special for the Confluences river family. We had multiple trips down our beloved Salmon River with both old and new friends. We had trips with families that came out on the river and found a place of connection and adventure. We also had a trip with Camp Hodia, an Idaho camp for kids with diabetes.  We learned on that trip that there is nothing like finding independence and friendship through exploration in the Frank Church Wilderness. We saw many young faces out on the river this summer and it fills our hearts to the brim when we can share the Salmon River with the younger generations. 

We created a short video highlighting the Confluences experience with many clips from the 2019 season! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you were on the river with us we hope it brings back fun-filled memories. If you’ve been thinking about getting out on the River of No Return, please don’t hesitate to reach out! 

Our mission is to bring groups together for world class experiences on the Salmon River. We want to provide unparalleled opportunities for fun vacations, family reunions, corporate training, and more! 

The team at Confluences is looking forward to this year’s season. 2020 is shaping up to be an incredible summer. We can’t wait to make more memories back out on our beloved Salmon River! Thank you to everyone who made our 2019 season so unforgettable!

10% Discount on Prime CRE 2020 Launch Dates

Happy winter from a snow covered sleepy Idaho! Deep within the Idaho Rockies, at the Confluences River Expeditions basecamp, all the river gear is packed away and the boathouse is under a couple feet of snow. All the guides are off enjoying their winters and our hometown of Cascade Idaho has fallen into a cozy rhythm of winter life. 

We at Confluences River Expeditions have been thinking a lot about this upcoming summer season. We are so excited about it that we thought it would be fun to share some of that excitement with you. That is why from now until the end of February we are offering a 10% discount on some of our most exciting summer river trips! If you’ve been dreaming about getting out on the Main Salmon River now is your time to plan that unforgettable family vacation. What’s better in the depths of winter than knowing there’s an exciting splashy summer adventure to look forward to? Besides, there’s nothing better than the gift of experience! 

From now until February 29th, 2020, we are offering 10% off some of our most exciting river trip dates. 

Applicable launch dates that apply are: June 28th, July 6th, July 22nd, August 7th, and August 15th.

You can use the coupon code “CRE 2020” online, or get in touch with our Associate Manager Jake at 208.756.6215 or email We hope to share our excitement for the Salmon River with you. From all of us at Confluences, we wish you a fun filled February!

Disconnect to Reconnect

Take a River Trip – Disconnect to Reconnect

We are connected in today’s world, stuck in a barrage of texts, social media, email and the internet that demands constant attention. We operate 24/7 on information overload and it shows: our tech-hungry population is distracted and overwhelmed. It is time: disconnect to reconnect with loved ones and the world around you.

Consider this: if your head is always down, you miss what is going on in the world around you. If you clear your life of distractions periodically, you become a better partner, parent, business owner, employee and friend.

Continue reading “Disconnect to Reconnect”