The Payette River is a mecca for whitewater enthusiasts with the Main, North, and South forks of the Payette River draining more than 3,000 square miles of the Sawtooth Range and Salmon River Basin.
You can choose from the calmer waters of the Main Fork for a leisurely float trip, or you can tackle the challenging Class 5 rapids just above the Banks area if you are brave (or foolhardy).
There are several river rafting companies on the Payette River with most of them located around Banks, Idaho ~ about 40 miles north of Boise.
Depending upon the length and type of trip, most rafting trips will “put in” somewhere between Garden Valley and Banks, Idaho.
My favorite run is the Cabarton Section, which offers a combination of calm to moderate water, punctuated by five attention-getting rapids, including a breathtaking 20-foot plunge just before the take-out point at Smiths Ferry.
Best of all, this spectacular, beautiful scenery is only an hour north of Boise!