Motor into Salmon River Country

Attention ATV & UTV and JEEP Trail Riders!

Do you and your friends SEEK TO ENJOY the fun and camaraderie of a GROUP RIDE into wild new territories?  

Do the words ADVENTURE & DISCOVERY  resonate in your quest to see the nooks and crannies of the Wild West?

Well then.  We’ve got a SUPER IDEA for you.   

ATV UTV Ride into Mackay BarFor a good portion of the year, Mackay Bar Outfitters & Guest Ranch on the Salmon River is commonly accessed via aircraft landing on our private airstrip <OR>  via jet boat excursion from Vinegar Creek near Riggins Idaho.  However during the summer months of July, August and September, the snow in higher elevations has melted, and many travelers enjoy the rough and tumble journey into Mackay Bar using the forest service road that takes you down into the Salmon River Canyon.


After confirming reservations with Mackay Bar Outfitters & Guest Ranch, ATV, UTV and Jeep recreationists can drive to Dixie Idaho, unload the motorized toys, load food items and any gear,  and embark on the ride down into Mackay Bar.

Dixie Idaho coordinates are 45°33′15″N 115°27′40″W

If you are riding open air on roads that are dry and dusty during the summer season, dust bandana’s are a recommended take along.

As you approach the Salmon River Canyon country, you’ll want to take extra precaution for safety.   Narrow hairpin turns underline the need for cautious and safe riding as you descend into the depths of the canyons below, and the patch of heaven known as Mackay Bar Ranch appears like a mirage in the distance.


Ride from Dixie Idaho to Mackay BarOnce you arrive at Mackay Bar, guests are greeted and invited to unwind, explore and enjoy the sheer Idaho beauty nestled in the warm embrace of the Frank Church Wilderness area on the shores of the Salmon River – River of No Return.

Get checked into your private cabin, private room or deluxe wall tent, and enjoy a cold beverage.  Relax, swim or take a hike.

Enjoy a home cooked meal at dinner time in our lodge, featuring hor d’ouerves, and a main course such as prime rib or fresh salmon, plus fresh salad, delicious side dishes and a fresh homemade dessert. Sit and enjoy the sounds of nature, the river flowing by and observe the beautiful night sky full of stars.  You’ll be mesmerized by the quiet beauty and lovely creature comforts of Mackay Bar Ranch at nightfall.

In the morning, we’ll have a delicious hearty breakfast prepared for you in the lodge.   Your overnight stay at the exclusive Mackay Bar Ranch plus a full course dinner and hearty breakfast is $170 per person.

 Advanced reservations are required.


Your group may enjoy the addition of a historical jet boat tour or horse trail riding or fishing adventures to add spice to your overall backcountry excursion.  For example, we can arrange a historical jet boat excursion for your group.  We’ll whisk you along the Salmon River to see old cabins and homesteads and learn about the rich history of legendary figures such as Buckskin Billy, Hank the Hermit and Polly Bemis.  These pioneers inhabited the rugged and isolated terrain along the shores of the Salmon River and leave a fascinating trail of historical tales that are passed on to you while we travel the shores of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

As an option, your group might prefer engagement in a fishing expedition on the South Fork of the Salmon River where wild trout and other species are spawned in a natural cycle on the longest undammed river in the United States.


First, load up the motorized toys and head to Grangeville Idaho.   Depending on how far you’re traveling to get to Grangeville, you might want to make reservations at Super 8 Motel or Gateway Inn for the evening, enjoy dinner and get a good nights rest for the next leg of your trip.   Gas up in Grangeville or if you prefer, Elk City is the other option for fueling your rigs.

Next, grab breakfast at one of Grangeville’s breakfast spots, or the complimentary breakfast at your hotel, and continue your adventure by heading east on Highway 13 about 10 miles down to the South Fork Clearwater River, and turn right to head south east on Highway 14 toward Elk City.  You’ll travel approximately 45 miles along the beautiful South Fork Clearwater River, enjoying the beautiful scenery as you carefully travel along this paved two lane highway.

There are interesting historical markers along the way and you may even capture a glimpse of wildlife here and there.  In fact, at mile marker 21 and 22, Big Horn Sheep are often sited up on the rocks across the river.   You’ll probably need your binoculars to scope out these wild creatures that can be very camaflauged against the rocks.

Salmon River

Moseying on down the road, you’ll begin to approach signs that Elk City is near.  Look for signage for Red River Dixie Road, a right hand turn off of Highway 14 (#222).  Red River Road will meander along the lovely countryside on a paved road for approximately 17 miles.   Turn right at the Red River Ranger Station (now closed)  and head toward Dixie – approximate 12 to 15 miles.

Dixie Idaho is a small, secluded community populated by just a handful of people and not many services. It is nestled deep in the Nez Perce National Forest. The town dates back to 1862 when gold ore was discovered in the area. Dixie and the surrounding area enjoy many visitors in the summer months coming to enjoy the hunting, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Winter turns Dixie into a snowmobiling mecca. It is part of the groomed trail system connecting all communities in the area. The Gospel Hump and Frank Church Wilderness are just a hop, skip and jump from Dixie. It is a great staging point for wilderness adventures.   You can find a place to park your rigs and unload the ATV’s or other motorized vehicles.

You’ll then continue your adventure on National Forest Road #222 about 32 miles down toward the Salmon River, crossing the river to Mackay Bar.  If your motorized vehicle is wider than 50″, be sure to let us know as the bridge is narrow.  But we can get your supplies and packs hauled across the bridge so you don’t have to carry anything.

We know that Mackay Bar Ranch is a very special spot on planet earth because our guests and repeat customers tell us how much they enjoy visiting…..   so if you enjoy getting off the beaten path, Mackay Bar might be the perfect ticket to a memorable adventure for you and your friends or family.  Take advantage of the summer access road from Dixie and enjoy the wild and rugged scenery you’ll find along the shores of the Salmon River and Frank Church Wilderness area.

We’ll look forward to seeing you!


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