class III-IV runs near Boise, Idaho - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-10-2004   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 67
class III-IV runs near Boise, Idaho

Anyone have some suggestions? Or a recommendation on a good guidebook? I am headed there in a couple of weeks for work, but will have weekends on either side to play. Are there good after - work spots really close to Boise as well?


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Old 06-10-2004   #2
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
You're so in luck.

The Boise area is killer for paddling.
The South Fork of the Payette is your best bet. "Staircase" is a five-mile Class 4 run that's right along the highway, within about an hour from Boise.
"Canyon" on the S. Fork of the Payette is a bit farther upstream, another class 4. It's like 10 miles or so, as I recall, and I think a little more difficult/dangerous but not too bad. Big Falls is a mandatory portage on this one - a 25-foot drop.
If class III is more your thing, try the "Cabarton" stretch on the North Fork of the Payette or do the Main Payette River.
Also, the North Fork of the Payette (below the Cabarton) is like the standard, prove-yourself class 5 in Idaho.
All of it is within an hour or two of Boise.
You can also head up to Riggins and do fun stuff on the Salmon - a couple hours farther.
There are park-and-play spots on the Payette ("Climax" is good), and you might ask a local about "The Bliss Wave" on the Snake River if you really want a great surf wave (not a hole) - it's about 45 minutes from Boise.

The guide book you'll want is "Idaho: The Whitewater State" by Grant Amaral.
Idaho River Sports is the key paddle shop in Boise, and they can hook you up with beta.

Have a blast - I wish I was going, as you can probably tell.
Post and tell us how it was when you get back.
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Old 06-10-2004   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 67
sweet, thanks very much! I knew I made the right call in deciding to drive vs. fly
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Old 06-10-2004   #4
Wydaho, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 118
RE: Class III-IV runs near Boise

ID725 does a great job describing runs around Boise. The Bliss Wave is worth checking out if you're driving across the center of the state. It is located near the town of Hagerman, ID (I think there is even a 'Bliss' exit off the interstate. Anytime I drive across the state, I usually end up camping near there or going there for a surf session. There is a way to make it park and play from the south side of the river, but I've always done the run (about 2 miles, easy to bike or jog). Have a great trip, I'm hoping to head to the area in the next month or two!

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Old 06-11-2004   #5
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 10
I miss Idaho! Born and raised in Idaho Falls.

If you can make it to the Salmon River, that would be my suggestion. You'll be adding some more miles to your trip, but it should be well worth it. I'm not sure what you will find with regards to class, but Pine to Panther was my favorite run back in the day.

Pine Creek :
Panther Creek :

Now I am all kinds of nostalic...
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Old 06-11-2004   #6
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 76
Don't forget about the Boise River system either. The South fork of the Boise has a great class three run through a beautiful canyon (17 miles if I remember right.) The middle fork also has some stuff. Then you can alwyas head up towrd Yellow Pine for the South fork of the South Fork of the Salmon, the Sesech, Johnson's creek, etcetera. Have fun, I wish I were there.
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Old 06-11-2004   #7
Monroe, Utah
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 137
I like to park and play right in town.

There's a spot on the East end of town just past the golf course with an old river wide diversion dam and a small but nice wave behind it. Ask around at the kayak shop they'll know what's runnin'. I'd love to live in Boise. My favorite city. Ron.
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Old 06-11-2004   #8
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 121
I don't have time to post a lot, I'm going boatin'. The bottom line is I live in Boise. I paddle over 100 days a year. This place is great. We have tons of water right now. We have peaked for the year, but things will still be going great for a while. The NF Payette will run solid for at least 3-4 more months. I have Fri-Mon off every week. You should get in touch with me. I can get you all lined out.

[email protected]
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Old 06-29-2004   #9
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 67
All that I heard was true... I spent last week on the Payette system outside of Boise and there is amazing whitewater there! I highly recommend checking it out, whatever level boater you are.

I did the Carbarton run on the N Fork, above the sickness called the North Fork (16 miles of mostly class V). It was fun,pool drop wave-train class III with a couple of flatwater sections. But the flatwater was actually moving so it was a good float... plus I saw a bald eagle soaring over the river. Beautiful scenery, warm water, and several really good surf waves.

The Main was similar (downstream of the sickness) to Carbarton, maybe a little easier? and lots of fun. Camped over the weekend outside of Lowman on the South Fork at a secluded, paradise of a campsite along the upper reaches of the South Fork. The water there is emerald green! You can see straight through to the bottom. The water is rumored to be cold, but nothing for those of us used to CO water temps in May. Easy to get soft in Idaho I guess We ran that section, referred to as Grandjean. Also class III, with some really nice hot springs at the end of the biggest rapid.

Stepped up to the Staircase run on the South Fork by Banks (where it joins the North to become the Main), which was really a blast. I was pretty wide-eyed though, so decided unfortunately to not run the Canyon section -- which looks so beautiful -- but is supposed to be a step up from Staircase. Guess it's not going anywhere, and I plan on going back!

Thanks to Id725 and those who replied, you were right on. I did get Grant Amaral's guide and it did a good job with basic descriptions though I couldv'e done with less description of first D's of class III runs and more descriptions of individual rapids... we are all way too spoiled by the CRC guide!
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Old 06-29-2004   #10
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1
staircase or canyon?

both are great runs, I had numerous arguements about which is harder
I feel that if you can make the moves in staircase rapid and slalom than you can run the canyon.

have fun
fin is offline   Reply With Quote

boise, class ii, class iii

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