Annual Manual » Annual Manual: Recreation

Boise River 101

A quick and dirty guide to floating the Boise River

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Very few things say "summer in Boise" as quintessentially as floating the Boise River on a lazy afternoon with your rear hanging in cold water as you drift under bridges and outstretched trees.

But the difference between a zen-inducing summer day and the most cold and miserable few hours of your life is planning. A little advanced knowledge can keep your trip afloat—literally.

Here's what you need to know to make it down the river.

Where to Float

The most common stretch of river to float is from Barber Park east of downtown to Ann Morrison Park. The put-in area at Barber Park is maintained by Ada County and includes free use of air pumps, as well as an expansive parking lot. Throughout the floating season, gates are open from 8 a.m. until sunset daily, and the six-mile trip takes roughly an hour and a half to do. While the river is never officially closed, the county only offers services at times of the year when it is deemed safe to float, which means all the snags and branches have been cleared from the river and the water flow is low enough.

Parking

The lot is open from 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.--although the exit gate is open until sunset--and parking costs $5 Mondays-Thursdays and $6 Fridays-Sundays and on holidays.

Shuttles

A shuttle bus runs every hour between the two parks from 1-8 p.m. on weekdays and 1-9 p.m. on weekends and holidays throughout the season. If you're depending on the shuttle for a ride, don't forget that the shuttle doesn't run if the rental office at Barber Park isn't open. The cost to ride is $3 per person.

Life Jackets

Remember, under state law, any boat must carry personal flotation devices for each person on board, and children age 14 or younger must wear a life jacket at all times.

Booze

Don't even think about it. Alcohol is prohibited on the river. And don't take any glass--no one appreciates stepping on broken shards.

Rentals

While many Treasure Valley residents have their own rafts or tubes, rentals are available from a number of businesses:

Alpenglow

2314 Bogus Basin Road, Boise, 208-331-2628, alpenglowidaho.com

Raft rentals.

Boise Army Navy

4924 Chinden Blvd., Garden City, 208-322-0660

Raft and inflatable kayak rentals.

Boise State Campus Recreation Outdoor Program

1515 University Dr., Boise, 208-426-1131, rec.boisestate.edu

Raft and kayak rental available to the public.

Epley's

4049 Eckert Road (Barber Park), Boise, 208-577-4584. epleys.com/boiselocation

The official contractor for Ada County offers raft and tube rentals.

Idaho River Sports

3100 W. Pleasanton Ave., Boise,

208-336-4844, idahoriversports.com

Raft rentals.