YOUR FIRST NIGHT
Prepping For Adventure
Our pre-trip orientation is held at the Mountain Village Lodge at 7:30 the evening before departure. We meet guests to review plans for the next morning, answer questions, show you how to pack our waterproof bags, and introduce the group. We will offer local dining suggestions and help you get ready for an outstanding Middle Fork river rafting vacation. Make sure to download our whitewater rafting packing list below.
Drive to Stanley and leave your vehicle at the Mountain Village Lodge parking lot during your river trip. At the end of the trip, we’ll provide transportation back to Stanley and you will arrive there around 6:00 pm. Boise to Stanley is a 3-hour scenic drive. We suggest that you spend the night in Stanley after your trip.
If you prefer, you can have your vehicle shuttled from Stanley to Salmon while you are on the river. We will have you to your vehicle around 3:30 pm. We suggest utilizing Caldwell Transportation for this service. The cost of the shuttle is about $110.00. Their local in-season office number in Stanley is 1-208-774-2265.
If you fly to Boise and want to use an air shuttle service to get to Stanley, we suggest using an Idaho based flying service. We recommend Sawtooth Flying Service or Gem Air. It is a 45-minute spectacular flight over Idaho’s backcountry.
Most people who use an air charter service, fly from Salmon to Boise at the end of the trip and do not return to Stanley. We will have you at the Salmon airport around 3:45 pm on the day we get off the river. The flight from there to Boise takes about 90 minutes. Alternately, you can return to Stanley on our bus and fly to Boise the next morning or return to Boise by bus with Caldwell Transportation. You need to decide on your round-trip option when you book your flight from Boise to Stanley.
Air services have “seat” and “charter” pricing. Late reservations may be subject to charter rates if other passengers aren’t flying. There are strict bag weight limits of 35 lbs. per person. The Boise to Stanley fare is about $180; Salmon to Boise $225, with lesser rates if you book both legs of the trip.
For families, renting a car and leaving it in Stanley is an economical alternative to using an air shuttle service. Even though the vehicle isn’t being utilized while you are on the river, it is still less expensive than an air charter. Car rental agencies with weekly rates include Enterprise, Hertz, Dollar, Avis, and National. Enterprise offers our guests special rates. Call or email us for details. A typical standard vehicle weekly rental is $200 plus fees. There are no car rental drop-off facilities in Stanley.
Your choice for ground transportation to Stanley will depend on the size of your party, your arrival time in Boise and other factors. Caldwell Transportation offers daily service between Boise and Stanley and returns to Boise from Stanley.
Caldwell Transportation: Daily late-afternoon bus service from Boise to Stanley. The typical cost per/person is $100 one way; $190 round-trip. 1-800-727-9925. They offer group charter rates that are very reasonable if you are are traveling with a large party.
Our Middle Fork trips meet in Stanley the evening before departure. Below are staff recommendations for lodging, places to eat, and things to do if you have an extra day to spend in the area.
|Mountain Village Lodge Restaurant||All Meals||1-208-774-2101|
|The Sluice||All Meals||1-208-774-2101|
|Stanley Baking Company*||Breakfast & Lunch||1-208-774-6573|
|Redfish Lake Restaurant||All Meals||1-208-774-3536|
*The Stanley Bakery is open from 7 AM until mid-afternoon daily. They serve the finest homemade meals and baked goods around. If you are going on the Middle Fork with us that morning, be in line at the Bakery as soon as they open that day. Our bus leaves the Mountain Village Lodge at 8 AM.
If you have some extra time to spend in Stanley, here is a day’s itinerary suggested by our crew that will be fun, doesn’t require much travel and will take you to some magnificent places. A daypack comes in handy to carry water, snacks, and a camera.
Start your day with breakfast at the Stanley Bakery & Café. By 9 AM it is usually warm enough to sit on the deck. Enjoy the view, the meal and refreshing mountain air. You’ll probably be eating with a couple of dozen other active folks who you might see later fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rafting, or fly-fishing. After breakfast head to Redfish Lake Lodge, about a 10-minute drive, 5 miles east of Stanley. If you are staying at the Mountain Village Lodge, stop at their office on the way out of town and reserve a late afternoon soak in their private hot springs.
When you get to Redfish, visit the small country store to pick up some snacks for the 7-mile hike you’ll be doing. Make sure you have water. The hike from the end of the lake back to the lodge has some moderate elevation changes but is easy and affords magnificent views. The customer service kiosk on the dock will arrange the boat shuttle for you. The cost is $8.00 a person (plus tip) and the boat ride takes 15 minutes. When you get back to the lodge, have lunch outside and take in the lake views. There are boat rentals available, plenty of hiking trails nearby and a sandy beach. Relax on the beach, take a swim, rent a canoe or just do some people watching.
Drive back to Stanley around 4:00 in time to visit the small shops in town. If you’ve reserved time at the hot springs, that’s a relaxing way to end the day before heading out to dinner. Our recommendation for dinner is the Sawtooth Hotel. Although reservations are not required, parties of 8 or more should call ahead to alert the staff to a large group. After 5 PM, 1-208-774-1040.