Middle Fork Aviation


Middle Fork Aviation

P.O. Box 656

Challis, ID 83226




Download 2008 Brochure (PDF)

Call for Current AvGas Rates


Current Weather

  1. -Challis

  2. -Salmon

  3. -Stanley

  4. -Boise

Local Area Information

  1. -Salmon Challis National Forest

  2. -Payette National Forest

  3. -A Middle Fork Journey
        (ID Public TV)

Lodges and Outfitters

  1. -Middle Fork Lodge

  2. -Idaho Wilderness Company

  3. -Flying Resort Ranches

  4. -Mile High Outfitters

  5. -Idaho Outfitters
       and Guides Association

Boating Equipment Rentals

  1. -Blackadar Boating (Salmon)

River Shuttles

  1. -Blackadar Boating (Salmon)

When do you fly?
We can fly into airports in many weather conditions, but backcountry flying is fair weather flying. Air is smooth in the mornings so flying earlier is better. We start large groups at 7:00 or 8:00 a.m., sometimes earlier when it is the warm or on busy days.

When won’t you fly?

Warm air adversely affects aircraft performance, so we will not fly gear or people during the heat of the day during warm months or when winds or visibility make mountain flying hazardous.

Can you land on lakes or gravel bars?

Both terrain and rules governing access to the Wilderness restrict our operations to specific backcountry runways. We cannot land on gravel bars, lakes, or ridge tops like in Alaska.

Are Wilderness airstrips busy?
During boating season, airstrips used for river trips can be busy places, but most runways not associated with boating are quiet. During hunting season, hunting camps  tend to form around airstrips.

How long will it take to get my group to the launch?
Each turn around time is about an hour, so if you have 20 people in your group, thats about 10 loads, with 3 airplanes it will take about 4 hours to get your party on the water. 

How much will fit in your planes?

A typical load for a Cessna 206 is 1,000 lbs. That’s room for four large coolers or dry boxes, a couple inflatable kayaks, miscellaneous. charcoal, beer and a person up front. We can only take break-down boat frames and the more they break down the better. Oars up to 10’ long will fit but break-down oars will save space and loads. Small hard kayaks will fit in our planes but they are space eaters, 10’ boats fit, but smaller boats are better. Inflatables are more cost effective to fly. To save space, roll your boats as tightly as you can.  

For hunters, a good rule of thumb is two or three hunters with 60-100 pounds of gear each. Hard rifle cases will be stored at Middle Fork Aviation. they don’t fit well in the airplane or on a mule. 

What about parking and leaving vehicles?

Parking is available at Middle Fork Aviation facilities in Challis and Stanley. We have never had a problem at either location. Middle Fork Aviation, Inc. is not responsible for private vehicles left at either location.

Are there any extra charges or discounts?

We work very hard to keep our prices competitive and treat customers fairly. If you change your charter date or number of passengers without notice, additional charges will apply. We will not overload aircraft. If you bring too much gear or if retrieving your game requires additional trips, you will be responsible for paying for the additional trips required. We try to keep our rates for a full year but may need to apply fuel surcharges in the event of extreme price fluctuations in fuel costs. Middle Fork Aviation is not responsible for delays or lost days due to weather.

Do I need to worry about bears?

Not in the air, but there are bears in the Wilderness. According to Idaho Fish and Game, there are no Grizzlies. Most of bear problems we see are camp robbing bears that have learned to find food, in trash and coolers late in the summer and early fall when the berries and their other food sources have dried up. Since 1990 we can only recall three cases where a bear actually mauled or bit a person.

Hows the fishing?

Fishing on the Middle Fork, Loon Creek, Big Creek and Marble Creek is popular for rainbow and cutthroat trout. The fishing on the Middle Fork is good but can be busy with boaters. As water temperatures warm up (mid-July through mid-September) fish go up the tributaries. Big Creek can be accessed from Cabin Creek and Solder Bar Airstrips. Loon Creek can be accessed via the Upper Loon airstrip, where the creek is very small, and the confluence of Loon Creek and the Middle Fork, at Lower Loon (Simplot) airstrip. A 2 to 3 mile hike will take you up to great fishing. Marble Creek is a 2-mile walk up the Middle Fork from the Thomas Creek airstrip to the confluence, then a walk up Marble Creek itself  as far as you want to go. There are no major lakes within 10 miles of a runway.