Try floating the tranquil Middle Fork Payette River as a relaxing alternative to whitewater

Idyllic scene on the Middle Fork Payette River, Laurie Anderson, Cymry Reed, Joanie Faucie and Wendy in Big Red.
Hi all,

I'm sure everyone is enjoying the fabulous weather, and this weekend should be incredible with temperatures in the 80s! 

With warm weather, our whitewater rivers will be rising as the deep snowpack melts in the mountains. The white-knuckle whitewater enthusiasts will be out on the South Fork Payette River and North Fork Payette for an adrenaline-charged experience.

Last Sunday, we decided to go for a more low-key experience on the Middle Fork of the Payette River, near Crouch in Garden Valley. This is an often-overlooked river trip at this time of year, but right now, the flows are perfect for Stand-Up Paddle-Boarding (SUP), canoeing, inflatable kayaking, sit-on-top kayaks, and rafting. There are no rapids, but many bends in the river, so that is your main navigational challenge. Might be a good call for a Mother's Day float!

More of our crew, Mishel, Jim and Pam from McCall, and Mark Anderson on the SUP
It's an 8-mile reach that starts at Tie Creek Campground, about nine miles north of Crouch, and flows by a diverse array of cabins and shacks on the river bank, with forested mountains in the distance. It's a very scenic float trip, plus it's fun to check out the cabins. It takes about 3 hours to do the float. Take your time, bring a lunch and enjoy the trip. 

The river flow is increasing a bit toward 2,000 cfs. That is a sweet level!  

Plant a shuttle vehicle in Crouch at the take-out before you go, or have friends pick you up. There is a detailed description and map about this day trip in my guidebook, Paddling the Payette, a guide to 24 day trips on the Payette River. The book is available at Idaho River Sports and Alpenglow Mountainsport. 

We did lunch at Mishel's cabin on the Middle Fork.
If you've got the time, bring your camping gear and hang out in the Middle Fork area. There are numerous car-camping spots along the Middle Fork ... some are developed campgrounds with water and fire pits, etc., and some are less developed. I am not sure if the Forest Service campgrounds are open yet. You also could stay at a bed & breakfast or the Garden Valley Hotel. See the Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce for more information on lodging. 
The other thing to consider when you're in Crouch is to visit the Longhorn Restaurant & Saloon. I love their burgers. The Longhorn has 16 different beers on tap. You also could play a round of scenic golf at the Terrace Lakes Resort, or eat dinner at Terrace Lakes. The food is good and prices are reasonable. Other activities in the area include numerous hot springs, both primitive and developed.

Waving to folks at their cabins along the way
Have fun!
- SS

Try floating the tranquil Middle Fork Payette River as a relaxing alternative to whitewater