Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho


Frank Church Wilderness

Located in Idaho’s beautiful Sawtooth Mountains, directly east of McCall, is the magnificent Frank Church Wilderness - the perfect place to enjoy nature and solitude at its best. Read More

  • A vast wilderness area with nearly 2.4 million acres of spectacular scenery.
  • Over 3,000 miles of trails perfect for backpacking or horse packing.
  • World class fly fishing in its many rivers, lakes and streams.
  • Directly east of McCall in central Idaho’s rugged Sawtooth Mountains.


Covering over 2.3 million acres of central Idaho is the second largest designated wilderness area in the contiguous United States – the Frank Church Wilderness. The area was originally named The River of No Return Wilderness, but was later changed to honor the late Senator Frank Church who played a significant role in the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

The Frank Church Wilderness Area lies within the breathtaking and rugged Sawtooth Mountains. With dramatic changes in elevation ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 feet, this spectacular area boasts deep canyons, sparkling alpine lakes, a forested plateau, glaciated peaks, and rocky ridges, the area is home year round to a vast array of splendid wildlife. It is a recreational paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and definitely worth visiting over and over.

Location & Information

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is located in central Idaho, due east of McCall.

For further information, you can visit this website or contact (208) 756-5290.


With over 3000 miles of trails throughout the wilderness, this is a haven for those who love to hike, backpack, camp, or horse pack. There are a multitude of peaks for climbers to ascend, and the Salmon and Selway Rivers offer plenty of exciting whitewater for rafters and kayakers.

The abundance of wildlife in the Frank Church Wilderness allows endless viewing opportunities, as well as plenty of big game for avid hunters. Eagles and hawks can often be seen soaring overhead, while deer, elk, moose, black bear, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep, and cougar roam the vast landscape. You might also spot lynx, wolverines, coyotes, fox, bobcats, and wolves.

Avid sportsmen can also enjoy world-class fly fishing. The wilderness area has many lakes, streams, and rivers perfect for catching salmon, trout, smallmouth bass, and steelhead.

Fun Facts

  • The Salmon River is also known as the River of No Return
  • Total acreage of the wilderness is 2,366,757.
  • The only wilderness area in the lower 48 states that is larger is in California – Death Valley Wilderness at 3,099,770 acres.
  • The area was once inhabited primarily by Nez Perce and Shoshone Indian tribes.

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