Main Payette [PA1]


The Main Payette is the proving grounds for any and every water craft known. The put-in at Banks, ideally situated at the confluence of the North and South forks of the Payette, is the hub of river running in the area. Many river runners can be seen organizing each weekend of the summer (Eastern boaters will feel at home!)

This Class III stretch is ideal for novices and intermediates. The road runs along the run for easy bail-outs. The drops are generally easy to negotiate, straightforward and the surfing can be excellent.

Mike’s Hole, about 4 miles down, has gobbled up its share of neophyte guppies. Enter right and move quickly left above the hole. AMP is near the take-out and provides an excellent finale.

The beaches and generally warm water make this run a boater’s holiday. Commercial outfitters are available.


Put in at Banks, located 35 miles north of Boise on State Highway 55. The highway runs along the river. The normal take-out is at the large culvert near mile marker 72, about three miles north of Gardena.Camping: There is one camp with a huge sandy beach about two miles south of Banks. Most boaters drive up the South Fork to Hot Springs Campground.Additional Runs: Additional easier open canoe stretches are an option below this point. Lower access points include two miles north of Horseshoe Bend, the train tressel area west of Horseshoe Bend and numerous sites downriver below Horseshoe Bend.

River Stats



III- to III+

Trip Length

9 mi.


Spring and summer


USGS Realtime Streamflow