Great Snowpack Means More Fun for Whitewater Enthusiasts

Grab your sunscreen, swimsuit, life jacket and paddle — whitewater action is just a splash away! With great snow this winter and a snowpack well over 100% of normal, expect this year’s whitewater season to be unlike any you’ve seen in awhile. With excellent water conditions statewide, whitewater enthusiasts are packing their gear and heading out for Class II-V rafting and kayaking adventures.

With these excellent water conditions, Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade is currently open on weekends, opening full time on June 18. Kelly’s Whitewater Park is Idaho’s first whitewater park, giving kayakers a great spot to play in the waves and hone their paddling skills.

The annual Big Water Blowout River Festival was held the first weekend in June in Riggins, kicking off the summer float season. On July 9th, Kelly’s Whitewater Park will host the USA Freestyle Kayaking National Point Series Championships. Celebrating its first year of operation this summer, KWP is already gaining recognition in the competitive whitewater world. On July 16-17, the inaugural Boise Whitewater Festival will include a 6-mile time trial down the Boise River for rafts, kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards with a finish line celebration in Ann Morrison Park. The action moves to the Payette River the next day for a Class IV boater cross with head to head action for kayaks, canoes and rafts.

Desert rivers, including the Owyhee and Bruneau, will have longer runs than usual, lasting into June. The Murtaugh section of the Snake will be runnable all spring thanks to the huge water pumping over Shoshone Falls. It is predicted that longer seasons and high flows will also occur on the Main, Middle Fork and Lower Salmon Rivers. A boon for floaters, the higher water also sows the seeds for new shrub and tree growth in the river corridor and aids juvenile salmon in their migration to the ocean.

Whitewater rafting is one of Idaho’s most popular summer attractions. From May to September, more than 3,000 miles of Idaho whitewater provide an adrenaline rush for adventure seekers of all ages and skill levels. Some raft trips are appropriate for kids and seniors, and jet boats, with their enclosed sides and bench seating, offer an exciting, secure ride. When planning a trip there are many options available – half-day, full-day, multi-day – and even trips that focus on special interests such as families, cuisine, fishing and even painting. Rafting trips are led by experienced, certified outfitters who operate safe and fun adventures so take advantage of this great water year and head for the rivers. For more information on Idaho’s whitewater opportunities visit www.idahowhitewatertrail.com.

Idaho—Adventures in Living
Idaho is home to thousands of miles of biking trails, mountains to climb, lakes to fish, 17 ski resorts and more whitewater than any other state in the lower 48. So take a break from it all and come out to play. Idaho—adventures in living. Visit www.visitidaho.org for more information and vacation ideas.