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Salmon River

central-north Idaho

Central Idaho, specifically the area stretching from Boise east to Sun Valley north to Salmon near the Montana border, is simply incredible. There are many can't-miss highways. This essay is the first of several starring the Salmon River Scenic Byway. This story begins just south of Salmon, an historic town with a western feel. Traveling on a gorgeous summer morning, the route comes alive with vibrant green farmland and sunlit mountains. The road parallels the Salmon River, following a canyon the waterway has been carving for millions of years. More than 200 years ago, this area was explored by Lewis and Clark. And Sacagawea, the famous Shoshone interpreter and only woman on the expedition, was born nearby. Today, the river feeds irrigation systems and is a prime rafting and fishing destination. In fact, Idaho is the only inland western state with ocean-run salmon and steelhead trout.

Best Time to Visit

The byway is open year-round and well-maintained although winter driving conditions can be treacherous. And keep an eye out for wildlife and rockslides.

Major Towns

Though it meanders through remote terrain, the towns on either end, Salmon and Challis, provide all travel services. In particular, Salmon makes a great destination with restaurants and numerous outdoor outfitters. The Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center is also worth checking out but you’ll need an appointment.

Route & Map       

US 93 South, Salmon to Challis


59 miles


70 minutes


The Idaho Transportation Department will have the most current road conditions. And Salmon’s website is chockful of town information.

Next rides along this route:
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