Traveling to Stanley, Idaho

Pre-Trip Meeting

Prepping For Adventure

For trips meeting in Stanley, Idaho, 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, demonstrate how to pack our waterproof bags, and introduce the group. We will help you get ready for an outstanding Middle Fork river rafting vacation. Make sure to download our whitewater rafting packing list below.

Getting to Stanley, Idaho

If you have any questions about transportation logistics, please give us a call. No matter how you get there, we are looking forward to meeting you in Stanley.


When feasible, driving to Stanley is an easy and convenient option. At the end of your river trip, we provide ground transportation back to Stanley so your vehicle does not need to be shuttled to the end point. Your vehicle can be parked across the street from the Mountain Village Resort (MVR) for the days that you are on the river. There is a parking fee and you will need a parking permit from MVR’s office. Only lodging guests who have booked a room at MVR will be able to use the long term parking lot. Please contact us to make arrangements for parking if you are staying elsewhere.

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 River Shuttles for this service. The cost of the shuttle is about $140.00. Please fill out their online form before the trip, and print off your reservation. If you have any questions about shuttling, please contact our office.


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 rather than 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. Alternatively, you can return to Stanley on our bus and fly to Boise the next morning. 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 or larger groups, 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, a weekly car rental
is 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. There are no
car rental drop-off facilities in Stanley or Salmon.

Staying in Stanley, Idaho

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 Resort


Stanley High Country Inn


Sawtooth Hotel


Redfish Lake Lodge


Stanley Vacation Rentals


Stanley Town Square


Stanley Restaurants

  • Sawtooth Hotel: Open for dinner Thursday-Monday, closed on Tuesday-Wednesday. Catch gorgeous views on the outdoor patio and enjoy delicious, homemade food in a casual setting.
  • Mountain Village Resort Restaurant: This fast-casual option is a no-frills convenient option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Stanley Baking Company: As a local favorite, the Stanley Bakery offers tasty coffee, legendary baked goods, and scratch-made breakfasts and lunches. Be sure to get in line early for this popular spot.
  • Peaks & Perks: When you’re pressed for time, head to Peaks & Perks for coffee, bagels and smoothies, served food truck-style. Located between Mountain Village Resort and Riverwear.
  • Papa Brunee’s Pizza & Subs: Dine in or carry out their family-friendly pizzas, sandwiches, or Italian entrees. Order online, or call ahead 208-774-2536.
  • Stanley Supper Club: Enjoy simple food prepared with great care. The Supper Club offers indoor/outdoor dining, small plates, and a selection of entrees.
  • Kasino Klub: Check out the K Klub for pub fare, a full bar, and late night hours. Live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the summer season.

A Day in Stanley, Idaho


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 the 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, ready your hiking gear and head to Redfish Lake Lodge, about a 10-minute drive 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 the Redfish Lake Lodge, visit the small country store to pick up some hiking snacks. Make sure you have water. The seven-mile loop 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 to the start of the hike.

When you return to the lodge, have lunch outside and enjoy the lake views. There are boat rentals available, plenty of hiking trails nearby and a sandy beach. Relax shore, take a swim, rent a canoe, or just do some people-watching.


Depart for Stanley just before 4:00 to allow 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 (anytime after 5 PM) to alert the staff to a large group. 1-208-774-1040.