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A Guide to Floating the Boise River

Friday, July 23, 2021   /   by Greg Langhaim

A Guide to Floating the Boise River

Floating the Boise River is one of those iconic summer activities that every Boise local knows and loves. If you are new to the area, or maybe just haven’t gotten around to taking the plunge, there’s a thing or two you’ll want to know before setting out on your float. In this blog post, I will be sharing some helpful tips to ensure a safe and fun time on your river journey. 

1) Bring the right supplies

The Boise River float is about six miles long and can take 2-3 hours to float depending on whether you are going for a casual float or are planning on paddling along the river. With this in mind, make sure you bring the necessities. I always make sure to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated, it can definitely get really hot on the river during the summertime. If you are like me and you burn easily, it also might be a good idea to bring some extra sunscreen. Most importantly, bring the things you will need post floating the river, such as car keys, cash, etc. I like to keep these items in a ziplock bag inside of a dry bag. Below I’ve linked a few great options, as well as items I like to bring to the river, but truly, you can bring as little or as many items you need to enjoy the day. 


-waterproof phone holder


-water bottle

-ziplock bag w keys, cash, etc.

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2) Bring quality tubes or rent them 

Those unicorn floaties are definitely fun but are better suited for a day by the pool than a float on the Boise River. Instead, make sure you bring a tube or inflatable boat specifically made for river use. I really like the Intex brand, River Run tubes, which can be found here, as they have cup holders, a headrest, and are really durable. There are also plenty of tube/raft options available to rent at Barber Park if you don’t have any or just want a more convenient option than bringing your own. Rentals range in price but start at $15, and can be easily returned at the end of your float at Ann Morrison Park. In addition to river tubes, you may consider bringing a life vest and a paddle.

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3) Utilize the shuttle service

The Boise River float begins at Barber Park and ends at the Ann Morrison Park takeout area. The two parks are just a twenty-minute drive from each other but would make a really long walk. So, using the shuttle service is a quick and efficient way to get back to your car at Barber Park. During the summer season, the shuttle busses run regularly between the two parks, so you shouldn’t have to wait very long to catch a ride. The shuttle busses are also very cost-efficient at just $3 per person. Attached to the shuttle bus is a trailer where you can throw any of your river tubes, paddles, etc. If you rented your floating gear, be sure to take advantage of the return spot at the Ann Morrison takeout area. The shuttle service really is the easiest, most stress-free way to get back to Barber Park. 

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4)Leave no trace

Floating the river is a great way to have a fun and carefree day, but it’s important to practice the principle of “leave no trace”. The Ada County Parks and Waterways really emphasize the fact that we all have a responsibility to leave the river better than we found it. They encourage that everyone throws away their trash in proper garbage disposal bins so as not to disturb the wildlife on the river. If you see other trash or debris lying around, please be a good samaritan and throw it away. We all play a part in keeping the river fun and clean for others to enjoy!

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Floating the Boise river is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day. Along the river, you can relax and enjoy all the surrounding scenery, or if you are looking for more of a thrill, you can paddle your way through the rapids. I hope you all take advantage of this fun Boise activity and that you have a great time on your river float.