Expect and Prepare

Plan out all resupply opportunities before hiking. They will require airdrops. 

There is no opportunity for support on this section. It is important to be completely self-sufficient. 

Watchout for forest fires, inside the wilderness, most are left to burn. 

The Largest Wilderness Area in the Lower 48

 

With the Sawtooths to the south, the River of no-Return Wilderness swallows the trail whole. Over 250 miles of roadless walking and wilderness solitude make this section truly special.

Animals that can be found here include, moose, elk, black bear, wolverine, wolves, and mountain lions. This area is so large that it has been proposed as a grizzly bear sanctuary. While none have been documented living here, there are rumors that one day soon, they will be back.

Because of the immensity of the area, the only way to collect re-supplies are through the various airstrips in the backcountry.

Instructions for organizing drops will be made available soon! 

The Snake River flows through the heart of the wilderness with jetboats and white water rafts able to be viewed from shore. The canyon carved by the main Salmon River is 6,300 feet deep, that’s more than the Grand Canyon.

Silence, dark skies, and days of walking without seeing another person are all part of this section of trail.

Parts of the trail see such little visitors that some areas are completely overgrown. Winter avalanches and forest fires make trail maintenance nearly impossible. This is where carrying a GPS and a set of maps will prove to be a lifesaver.

 

History of Idaho’s Wilderness Interior

 

Designated Wilderness in 1980, the River of No-Return joined the already immense Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Today, it is the largest roadless area south of Alaska and is the largest unbroken temperate forest in the world.

Named after the honorable Frank Church, few people have done more to protect Idaho’s wilderness.  President Jimmy Carter took his family on a white water rafting trip after the wilderness designation was made.

Today, the few airstrips in existence are still being used to drop in supplies and rafters. But the majority of this area remains trailless and lightly explored.  Elk herds and wolves roam these mountains. The dark night sky and stillness of the mountains make this one of the highlights of the WWT.

River of No-Return and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Section map: Coming Fall 2018

Wild West Trail Map picture