What should you expect when you run the Payette? Firstly, expect gorgeous views, remote canyons, and clear waters. Secondly, it also depends on where you are along the river. But if you kayak sections in the Upper South Fork, expect a long day of paddling — and a lot of fun.
Case in point: The fairly well-known Grandjean section to the canyon is 35 miles. After that, you can keep on rolling deeper into the canyons, into more aggressive Class IV (OK, and a few Class III) rapids.
We’re particularly impressed with one group of kayakers’ trip report from July.
“We ran the entire top half of the South Fork of the Payette in a day — 48.9 miles in total. A long day and a hell of a mission,” writes FORTRAN Whitewater. “Shout out Wes for the clean lines and the great footage”.
It’s nice that these fellas also include notes to their put-ins and take-outs, labeling the rapids as they scout and paddle. The water is a pristine, clear blue-green, some of the rapids are gnarly (in a good way), the footage is fantastic, and the edit isn’t half bad either.
The highest flow was 3,300 cubic feet per second there on the Payette (at Deadwood Confluence).
The lesson here is that if something is runnable, the weather is nice, and you’re counting the days until winter drops, go for it! Get out there on whatever rapids you can.
Runtime: 18 minutes