Idaho is known for many amazing things and white water rafting is one of them. Its natural landscape of mountains and canyons riddled with some big rivers like the Payette and Snake means you can find rapids of every class with some of the most scenic backdrops. This is exactly why people come to Idaho for white water rafting from all over the world.
One of the most popular white water rafting spots in Idaho is the Payette River’s North Fork. It offers the perfect day trip experience for family and friends looking for adventure. And one awesome stretch for white water rafting that is located right on the North Fork of Payette’s River is the Cabarton Run, which offers 11 miles of rapid fun comprising rapids of class II and III along with sections of calm water.
For newbies, who don’t have an understanding of the rapids classification system, here is a quick rundown:
- Class I: These rapids are a result of water flowing over minimal obstacles
- Class II: These rapids are produced by visible obstructions, which can be easily avoided
- Class III: The waves are stronger. Navigation is harder and boat control is essential. This is when getting wet is a given
- Class IV: These rapids require technical expertise to navigate. The much wilder water, deep holes, and narrow chutes make this class of rapids dangerous
- Class V: These rapids are unpredictable and can be violent. This makes them suited only for the most experienced of rafters who are in it for an adrenaline rush
- Class VI: These rapids are considered impossible and it is recommended that not even the best in the business attempt them
Cabarton Run’s most challenging stretch is a Class III plus, which means one can expect to get wet and will require some technical understanding. This is why it is best for inexperienced rafters or newbies to attempt this stretch with a professional guide. A professionally guided tour can ensure that the visitors have the fun they are looking for, regardless of their differing levels of rafting ability, and they do so without worrying about their safety.
What A Day Trip To The Cabarton Run Can Look Like
The rafting journey on the Cabarton Run is a healthy mix of varying experiences. Here, we give a brief description of what to expect in the 11-mile journey. The Cabarton Run begins on calm waters, followed by a narrowing and bending to the left of the river where Class II drops will be experienced. There is some scenic viewing to be done before hitting the Tressle Rapids, which commences with a Class III drop. A few more Class II drops will be experienced at the Tressle Rapids before another Class III drop. Then there are calmer waters and lovely beach views. Halfway through the trip comes the Wet Spot, which is a Class III rapid bound to cause drenching. At around the 7-mile mark, there is a rocky drop that is avoided by keeping to the center of the stream. While passing under the Rainbow Bridge, there will be a series of Class II rapids. About half a mile later comes the Francoise Rapids, which is a Class III plus. At around 9 miles into the journey comes Howard’s Plunge, which is again a Class III plus rapid. This is the final adventurous stretch before the journey ends on calm waters.
It is the few sections of Class III and Class III plus rapids that make this rafting trip better suited for guided tours for beginners and inexperienced rafters.
What First-Timers Need To Know
For many visiting Idaho and planning to attempt white water rafting for the first time, it can feel like a daunting experience. Here are some bits of wisdom:
- If attempting white water rafting for the first time, it is best to choose rapids of Class I, II, and III and not any higher. Additionally, if, as the Cabarton Run does, the stretch does include Class III and Class III plus rapids, then it is safest to attempt such rafting trips with a professional guide.
- While experience and skills are not necessary, a certain amount of physical fitness is required so short bursts of paddling can be done when needed. Additionally, the ability to swim is also important in case of being tossed overboard.
- Come equipped for the trip. This means there needs to be appropriate footwear and a backpack with towels and a set of dry clothes. However, make sure to not over-pack as that can prove to be an unwanted hassle.
If you are planning to visit Idaho to enjoy all the adventurous options it has to offer, then white water rafting needs to be on top of your list. With the huge variety of rapids to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice. And it doesn’t matter if this is your first time or you are inexperienced. You can always choose to go with a professional guide for your rafting trip and one excellent spot for just such a rafting experience is the Cabarton Run located at the North Fork of the River Payette. Raft your way to drenched glory and make a memory that will last you a lifetime.