Ins and outs of Payette River - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-04-2017   #1
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 15
Ins and outs of Payette River

Hello river runners. I have recently accepted a guide position on the Payette river in south Idaho. I've never rafted it or really heard much 1st hand knowledge of it other than my own research. It looks like its got some solid rapids, and its pretty. I know that theres a north and south fork but I was just wondering what other people had to say about it so hit me with anything and everything!

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Old 02-04-2017   #2
Meridian, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 7
There are several different stretches to the Payette River system. The north fork has one main rafting section (Cabarton) and a lower section for extreme kayaking and catarafts. The South Fork has three main sections (Upper Canyon, canyon, Lower). The upper canyon has lots of rapids and hot springs and has a portage (big falls). The canyon is a slow stretch between the two extreme areas. The lower section has lots of class 4's (staircase, bronco billy, slalom, etc). The main payette is starts where the south fork and north fork meet and is a nice big river with lots of wave trains and class 3 rapids. If you are going to be guiding people the stretches to worry about are the upper canyon and lower south fork, it takes a lot of skill to navigate those stretches. The lower north fork is extreme and I can't see any guiding there.
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Old 02-04-2017   #3
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 15
Thanks blueCadillac. I will be guiding the south fork canyon through the lower and the main!

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing
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Old 02-04-2017   #4
Garden Valley, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 48
The staircase run is a blast (lower south fork). This year might be interesting with high water and lots of wood/debris from the huge Pioneer fire that really ravaged the canyon section. It's burned badly from the put in to the last rapid on the run, Surprise. One rapid, Blackadar, is gone until further notice after a slide this fall backed the river up. Hopefully that clears out and it returns. Anyway, you'll love it here. A great local boating community. Snow pack is significant here locally too, so expect BIG water on Staircase!

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Old 02-05-2017   #5
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: .3
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,047
The lower five is worth the drive!

is that too cliche?
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