South Salmo River

Metaline Falls, Washington 99153

South Salmo River

South Salmo River Professional Review and Guide

"This 6.2-mile out-and-back backpack will take you to Washington’s remote South Salmo River in the heart of the Salmo-Priest WildernesS. You'll enjoy good fishing, the isolation of a deep canyon, and the outside chance of spotting one of the few remaining woodland caribou in the United States that roam this wild corner of the state.

In many mountainous areas, canyons harbor climatic conditions very different from those of surrounding slopes. Such is the case in the canyon of the South Salmo River, where a lush, inland rain forest is nurtured by abundant precipitation and a modicum of sunlight.This is one of only a few such rain forests in the northern Rocky Mountains.

Another unique feature of this trip into the Salmo-Priest Wilderness is that you’ll be entering the domain of grizzly bears, woodland caribou, and a host of other animals that symbolize the true wildness of this area, arguably the wildest country left in Washington."

South Salmo River Reviews

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This is a great, moderate hike. We took our 2 children on it (ages 4 & 6) and it was challenging, but rewarding. Hike steady downhill for 3.1 miles to the first campsites, just after crossing a log bridge. The water was about thigh deep in the middle, cold, but fun for the kids to play in. It was quiet---heard very few birds, squirrels/chipmunks, and saw no bears. Also, very few mosquitoes! We saw two groups as we hiked in, but nobody after that. You can hike beyond the riverside campsites, away from the river, then meet up with it again after about 1 mile. We didn't go beyond that, so I can't comment about the loop. The hike out was a bit tough for the kids, but several breaks, using walking sticks, and Mom singing helped considerably. I recommend this hike to anyone wanting to explore this beautiful part of WA---a wild, lush forest close to the Canadian border. If you're approaching from the south (Spokane area), I recommend driving up past Sullivan Lake. On your return, head north to Metaline Falls for food. There's a nice little grocery store and a park at the end of the main st. next to the visitors' center.

South Salmo River Photos

Trail Information

Metaline Falls
Nearby City
1,835 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3.5 hours
July through early October
Colville National Forest, Sullivan Lake Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Salmo Mountain
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018