5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Idaho

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Idaho


Kayaking is a world-renowned adventure and outdoor activity. Idaho’s waters are often regarded as some of the best for whitewater rafting and other river sports. But if you’re just starting out with that paddle, don’t worry. There are plenty of beginner-friendly rivers ready to help you on your way. If you’re feeling nervous, head out with a guide or take a safety course before you grab your paddle. Here are five great spots for beginners to kayak in the state! 

1. Kelly’s Whitewater Park, Cascade, ID

Kelly’s Whitewater Park is located in Cascade, Idaho. It is the state’s premier park for kayaking and rafting, among other water sports, for all ages and experience levels. Kelly’s is a non-profit facility well-loved by the local community. If you’re just starting out you can take lessons with experts and guided tours. 

2. Main Payette River, Banks, ID

The Main Payette River has both Class II and Class III stretches of river, with the Class III areas being designed for the more experienced kayakers. But, some areas of this river are perfect for kayakers in training and families looking for an easier ride. Be sure to bring a bottle of water and some sunscreen, because things can get hot!

3. Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Challis, ID

Located in the Sawtooth Range, the Middle Fork is a great spot to get started on your adventure. Take in the beauty of fir-covered mountainsides and a magnificent canyon. The river also flows through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, which is the largest forest wilderness in the lower 48 states, covering about 2.4 million acres.

5. Boise River Park, Boise, ID

Boise River Park is comprised of Quinn’s Pond and Esther Simplot Park. The space is actually one of the largest urban boating and boarding centers in North America. The park is easily accessible, and provides both kayakers and canoeists an easy opportunity to practice. Boise River Park offers the chance to gain whitewater experience. According to the Boise River Park website, paddlers enjoy whitewater parks as they’re designed for “safety training, paddling techniques, and competitions.” With safety training opportunities, you can get the experience you’re looking for before taking to the real waters.