Over 3,000 Whitewater River Miles

Idaho, the wild rivers state.

South Fork Payette - Staircase [PS2]


Because of its proximity to Boise and to other good runs in the area, the lower South Payette is one of the most popular runs in the state. It is a classic Class III run, combining mostly short rapids and good play spots with easy access and clear scouting from the road.

The most significant rapid is Staircase, about two miles upstream from the take-out. At high water, Staircase is Class IV: big and turbulent, but straightforward. At medium flows and lower, it becomes more technical. It is easily scouted from the road. Also worth scouting is Bronco Billy, about half a mile from the put-in.

In early July, the South Payette is the site of the Payette Whitewater Rodeo. The Rodeo features slalom, downriver and freestyle contests.


The take-out is on the Main Payette (across the river from the Banks store on State Highway 55) at the confluence of the North and South forks of the Payette. To reach the put-in, go east from Banks, up the South Payette toward Garden Valley. Travel 4.5 miles to the remains of a wooden bridge. The put-in is at a turnout just downstream from the bridge.Camping: The closest campsite is Hot Springs Campground, four miles east of Garden Valley.