Payette River Water Trails

photo courtesy Idaho Tourism


The Payette River Basin

The Payette River Basin covers over 3,000 square miles and includes the Deadwood River, the South, Middle, and North Forks of the Payette River, the main Payette River, and tributaries, lakes and reservoirs.

The Payette River offers something for every water enthusiast. Famous for whitewater and world-class rapids, the Payette River is also a serene place to paddle a canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and float tubes.

What are the Payette River Basin Water Trails?

Water trails are boat routes suitable for canoes, rafts, paddleboards, kayaks, and motorized watercraft. Like pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle trails, water trails are recreational corridors between destinations.

Water trail amenities include boat launches, day-use sites, fishing access, and camping areas. They serve as educational venues that create interactive experiences regarding the geology, pre-history, history, ecology and commerce of an area.

The Payette River Water Trails vary from short routes along river sections to loops around lakes; from relaxing flatwater to intense rapids and whitewater.

Water trails are valuable assets to cities and counties, providing recreational and educational opportunities for both residents and visitors. Water trails also help people discover new perspectives about their waterways and their communities, raise awareness of watershed stewardship, and serve as economic engines through tourism and its associated hospitality industry.

Water Trails Coalition

About the Coalition

The Payette River Basin Water Trails Coalition is a working group dedicated to providing a memorable recreational experience on the Payette River. We are working to develop a system of whitewater and flatwater trails on the lakes, reservoirs and tributaries of the Payette River for people of all ages to explore, respect, and enjoy.

We value the natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities afforded by the Payette River, along with its benefits of providing high water quality, irrigation, habitat protection and a boost to local economies.

Our dream is to develop a management system and informational brochure of whitewater and flatwater trails targeted to individuals and families looking for an outing that is safe, relaxing, and fun.

Coalition Members

  • Boise National Forest
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Canyon County Parks
  • City of Cascade
  • City of Emmet
  • City of Fruitland
  • City of Horseshoe Bend
  • City of McCall
  • City of Payette
  • Gem County
  • Idaho Department of Commerce
  • Idaho Department of Fish & Game
  • Idaho Department of Lands
  • Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation
  • Idaho-Oregon Snake River Water Trail Coalition
  • Kelly’s Whitewater Park
  • Lower Payette River Heritage Byway Coalition
  • National Park Service
  • Payette County
  • Payette National Forest
  • Payette River National Scenic Byway Coalition
  • Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation & Development
  • Valley County
  • Valley County Parks & Recreation
  • West Central Highlands Resource & Conservation Development
  • Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway

Our Goals

  • promote the water trails as a valuable resource for recreation, water safety, education and stewardship
  • identify access and opportunities along the water trails such as: portages, launches, landings, campsites, services and points of interest
  • promote respect for private property along the water trails to minimize disruption and disturbance
  • identify and pursue ways the water trails can be economically beneficial to the region
  • promote the water trails as a way to experience an active outdoor lifestyle
  • encourage partnerships between governments, agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations and the public
  • secure funding to provide facilities and improve access, safety education, and emergency response resources
  • maintain the Payette River Basin Water Trails Management Plan and secure funding to implement its goals



We welcome your help, and hope you will join us as a supporter. Please send us your contact information to be added to our mailing list. We are actively seeking new coalition members and organizations to add to our Partners and Friends list.

Payette River Water Trails Coalition
PO Box 95 | Emmett, ID 83617
Phone: 208-365-3533