Thursday, June 3, 2021

My oh my it's hot! Five paddling destinations in SW Idaho to keep you cool

Middle Fork Payette River 

Middle Fork Boise (courtesy John Keys) 
Swirley Canyon on the South Fork Payette River is a good alternative to the Cabarton run.
Hi all,

It's been piping hot this week in the Boise Valley, but fortunately, the temps should moderate into the 80s by the weekend. It's too early to see triple-digit hotness in Boise! 
Nevertheless, people will be itching to go paddling, swimming, and cooling off to beat the heat, no doubt!

FYI - The Boise River won't be open for floating at Barber Park for a bit longer. Watch the Facebook page for the latest information.
For my outdoor tip of the week, I'm recommending five paddling trips that would be doable for folks who have inflatable kayaks, rafts, SUPs, sit-on-top hardshell kayaks or whatever craft might be suitable. Pick a stretch that suits your ability. 
FYI - I'm not recommending the Cabarton run on the North Fork of the Payettte River this weekend because the water level is still REALLY low.   
1. Float the Upper Payette River from the Tenmile trailhead area to Helende Campground, upstream of Lowman. The Payette River is still running strong; be sure you are dressed for a cold-water situation. This is a Class 2 flatwater run with rocks to dodge and small rapids. 5-mile trip. This section would be doable for experienced whitewater SUP paddlers. Do a road scout and see what you think.

2. Middle Fork Payette River - Float the Tie Creek section through the scenic valley north of Crouch. 8-mile run. Class 1. Rated Easy. Just have to keep your boat in the current and stay off the brush on the riverbank. Put-in by Tie Creek Campground. There's a sweet takeout by the village of Crouch by the river. Plant a shuttle vehicle there before you go.     
3. Drive up to Arrowrock Reservoir, find a spot to hang out by the water, put up your sun tarp, and go paddling in the reservoir. A good truck works great for driving down to the reservoir's edge, and there are some camping spots along the Middle Fork road. Take ID 21 to the Spring Shores/Middle Fork Road and drive up-canyon to Arrowrock and find your spot from there. Any flatwater craft would work on Arrowrock, plus motorboats of course.

4. Drive up the Middle Fork Road past Arrowrock to Troutdale Campground or any other spot of your choosing, and float the lower section of the Middle Fork Boise River. This is a mostly Class 2 flatwater run with rocks to dodge and small rapids. A group of people I know ran this section last week and had enough water flow (450 cfs today) to make it through in hard-shell kayaks and inflatable kayaks. Strong SUP paddlers might want to try it. 
5. North Fork Payette River from McCall to Hartsell Bridge. 9-mile trip. Allow a full day. The float goes through the northern half of Long Valley, coursing through a million S-turns through the scenic valley. Potential for fishing, too. Put-in is at Sheep Bridge off of Mission in McCall, and takeout is at Hartsell Bridge, accessed from Smylie Lane. Be sure to plant a shuttle vehicle there. I've done the bike shuttle, and it's a long one!
Blackadar Rapids in the South Fork Canyon (courtesy Cascade Raft & Kayak) 

Another option if you don't have your own gear, go with a pro! Sample all of the fun whitewater trips on the Payette River, including the South Fork "Staircase" run, the South Fork Canyon, Main Payette and Cabarton.
 Cascade Raft & Kayak, Bear Valley Outfitters and Idaho Whitewater Unlimited all offer guided rafting adventures on the Payette River. Schedule a trip for your family and friends and have a blast!  
There you have it! 
FYI - The North Fork Championships are back! June 17-19. 
Have fun! 
- SS 

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