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Exploring the River of No Return


The Unspoiled Beauty of Central Idaho

There’s more to Idaho than potatoes. Sitting square in the center of the Gem State is one of the largest contiguous areas of protected wilderness in the U.S. While the Frank Church-River of No ReturnWilderness Area may not roll off the tongue as easy as Yellowstone or Yosemite, this 2 million-acre swath of mountains, gorges, and alpine lakes offers something for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. River of NoWhat, Now? The name of the wilderness may sound a little ominous at first—who wants to travel down a river of no return?—but in truth, it’s a title from times gone by when canoes and small watercraft could travel down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River swiftly but couldn’t fight the current going back up. Today, those same rapids make theMiddle Fork a wildly popular whitewater rafting destination, with plenty of local and out-of- state enthusiasts making a return journey every summer. Rafting Isn't forMe. What Else YouGot? If crashing down 300 Class III rapids isn’t your speed, the Frank Church Wilderness has plenty of other ways to enjoy the wild mountain country.

There are several lodges that were grandfathered in to the wilderness area, most of which are only accessible by jet boat, light aircraft, or good old-fashioned hiking. Some, like

theMiddle Fork Lodge, offer five-star accommodations, located conveniently close to one of the area’s many natural hot springs.

Those with the right permits will find the rivers and lakes full of fishing opportunities, and the surrounding pine forests are teeming with game.

Lodges? I JustWant toGet Away From It All. For those looking for a truly unplugged experience, backpacking to the many campsites scattered throughout the region can be an incredible journey. If you spend a night beside the crystal-clear waters of Langer Lake, hundreds of miles away from any light pollution, you’ll find peace, quiet, and a sky bursting with stars. If you’ve ever wanted to experience a truly untamed part of the United States, Idaho is the hidden gem you’ve been looking for.


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