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Your Unofficial Guide to Floating the Boise River

You strap on sandals and swipe on sunscreen, ready for an afternoon in the mid July sun. With a flotation device in hand, you stride toward bank of the Boise’s most beloved body of water. The rushing Boise River is calling your name.

Floating the river is a must on your Boise summer bucket list. Whether it’s your first time braving these waters or you’re a seasoned floater, here are the essentials you need to know to have a fun and safe experience on the river.

What to expect

The Boise River flows along Boise State’s campus and invites students, tourists and Boiseans alike to take an afternoon adventure.

Go in with a game plan – and a buddy! You can park at Ann Morrison Park (the ending point for the float) and catch a ride with the shuttle for $3 per person. The shuttle takes people to and from Barber Park where you will start your floating excursion and rent a raft and lifejacket if you need.

The 6-mile long float takes about 2-3 hours to go from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park. Expect the river to be packed with excited floaters on weekends. The last weekend to get a float in is Labor Day weekend in September.

To prepare for your trip, check out Float the Boise for more information.

What you need

Having the right floatation device will make or break your experience on the river. Cheap tubes that could pop easily won’t cut it. You can rent from Boise River Raft and Tube. Even though rafts move slower and offer less maneuverability, they are great for large groups. You can get regular single-person inner tubes or double tubes that are fun for floating right beside your best bud. Rent a lifejacket to be extra prepared for your excursion.

It’s helpful to have a small dry bag to store some of your belongings that you don’t want to get wet like your phone and keys. Don’t bring anything you would be heartbroken if it got wet or swept away by the river.

Consider your attire too. Wear shoes that will stay on your feet. Helpful for kicking off rocks and branches if you get pushed to the edge of the river. It’s a good idea to wear a hat and/or sunglasses to keep the sun off your head and face. And most importantly, wear sunscreen!

Staying Safe

There’s always some level of risk when you enter the river. Remember that the river is in charge and you just have to go along with it. Know the current conditions before you plan an outing.

Be prepared to encounter some obstacles along the way including fallen and overhanging trees and rapids you need to be prepared to cross. The river takes you under bridges and through eddies (or circular currents of water).

Check out the guided tour that lets you scroll through an interactive map so you can be as prepared as possible. If you’re alert and keep your eyes peeled, you’ll have an enjoyable time on the river.

Once you get a taste of the Boise River, you’ll crave more adventure. The Outdoor Program leads other river rafting trips you can be a part of. Read about Carsen’s journey rafting the Payette to learn what a river trip is like.

There are so many memories to be made just around the river-bend!

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Your Unofficial Guide to Floating the Boise River
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