Central Idaho
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Central mapWild areas of total solitude dominated by the Sawtooth Mountain Range ("The American Alps") give this region of Idaho its character. The Salmon River originates in the Sawtooths before becoming the primary waterway for steelhead and chinook salmon making their 1,800-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean and back.

Called "The River of No Return" by the local Indians awstruck by its fearsome rapids, the Salmon remains one of the few, and longest undammed major rivers in America. The river runs through one of the largest single Wilderness Areas in the lower 48 states.

Much of the famous Middle Fork of the Salmon River is designated "Wild and Scenic", accessible only by water, trail or remote airstrips. A float down the wildwaters of the Middle Fork is the adventure of a lifetime. Cutthroat trout is the main catch there, but 5-pound Dolly Varden dwell in its deep holes, and rainbow trout, whitefish, squawfish, and some chinook salmon share the riffles and rapids.

The Main Salmon's fall and spring steelhead run remains the biggest draw to the river. The challenging, but less-explored waters of the Lemhi and Lost River ranges also offer solitude and adventure for the sportsperson.

Central Idaho hunts are available for bear, cougar, deer, antelope, elk, goat or sheep. Numerous game birds reside here, especially chukar and forest grouse in the upper half.

Hikers visit some 300 mountain lakes in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, nestled among the jagged peaks of the Sawtooth Range. Redfish Lake was named for the red-colored, once-abundant, sockeye salmon which actually spawned there until eight downstream dams blocked their progress to and from the sea. This species is now all but extinct.

Further south is the Wood River Valley with the resort towns of Sun Valley and Ketchum at its hub. This area is famous both for its skiing and blue-ribbon rainbow and brown trout fishing on the Big Wood, Little Wood, and Silver Creek. You'll find mostly awe-inspiring fly-tyers here. High mountain lakes sprinkle the high country. And, waterfowl hunting is fantastic in the area. The Sun Valley Gun Club offers an archery range, and trap and skeet shooting.

Contacts: Stanley Sawtooth Chamber of Commerce 208-774-3411; Redfish Lake Visitor Center, 208-774-3376; Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-634-3347 or 208-726-3423; Salmon Chamber of Commerce, 208-756-4935; Fairfield Sawtooth National Recreation Area, 208-726-8291; Silver Creek Preserve, 1-800-632-4104; Craters of the Moon National Monument, 208-527-3257.