When it comes to kayaking adventures, the picturesque state of Idaho holds a wealth of hidden treasures just waiting to be explored. From pristine lakes to roaring rivers, there is no shortage of stunning waterways to navigate through. In this article, we will take you on a virtual journey through the top places to kayak in Idaho. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or just beginning to dip your paddle into the world of kayaking, join us as we discover the thrilling beauty and tranquility that can be found when gliding on Idaho’s waterways.
When it comes to kayaking in North Idaho, Lake Pend Oreille is a true gem. As the largest lake in the state, it offers plenty of space and stunning natural beauty for kayakers to explore. With a surface area of over 148 square miles, there is no shortage of options for paddling adventures on this expansive body of water.
Lake Pend Oreille is known for its crystal-clear waters that showcase a mesmerizing blue hue. Its shoreline is a mix of sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and dense forests, making it a picturesque destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, this lake has something to offer for everyone.
Another fantastic kayaking destination in North Idaho is Coeur d’Alene Lake. Located near the charming town of Coeur d’Alene, this lake is a popular spot for recreational activities, including kayaking. With its relatively calm waters and beautiful scenery, it’s a perfect place to hop in your kayak and enjoy a relaxing day on the water.
Coeur d’Alene Lake stretches over 25 miles in length, offering endless opportunities for exploration. The lake is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, providing a stunning backdrop as you paddle along its shores. Whether you want to spend a quiet day floating on the water or explore the numerous bays and channels, Coeur d’Alene Lake has it all.
Nestled in the Selkirk Mountains of North Idaho, Priest Lake is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil kayaking experience. Known for its pristine waters and remote wilderness, this lake is a paradise for nature lovers and kayakers alike. With over 70 miles of shoreline, there is plenty of room to navigate and discover the hidden coves and secluded beaches along its banks.
Priest Lake is surrounded by lush coniferous forests, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The lake is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including bald eagles, ospreys, and various fish species. As you paddle through its clear waters, keep your eyes peeled for these magnificent creatures that call Priest Lake their home.
Central Idaho is known for its rugged and wild landscapes, and the Salmon River is a prime example of this untamed beauty. Often referred to as the “River of No Return,” it is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the country and offers kayakers an exhilarating and challenging experience.
The Salmon River cuts through deep canyons and vast stretches of wilderness, making it a haven for adventurers seeking a true kayaking expedition. The river offers a mix of calm sections and thrilling rapids, catering to both seasoned paddlers and beginners looking to test their skills. With its stunning scenery and adrenaline-pumping rapids, the Salmon River is a must-visit destination for kayakers seeking an unforgettable experience.
Flowing through the heart of Idaho, the Snake River offers a diverse array of kayaking opportunities. From serene stretches to adrenaline-pumping rapids, this iconic river caters to kayakers of all skill levels. Its waters traverse canyons, forests, and farmland, showcasing the natural diversity that Idaho has to offer.
One particularly popular section of the Snake River for kayaking is Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. Here, kayakers can navigate through breathtaking scenery while enjoying the rush of navigating Class III and IV rapids. For those seeking a more peaceful experience, there are plenty of calm sections along the river where you can leisurely paddle and soak in the tranquil surroundings.
Nestled in the scenic Payette National Forest, the Payette River is a kayaker’s paradise in Central Idaho. This beautiful river offers a variety of segments, ranging from calm waters for beginners to thrilling rapids for the more experienced paddlers. With its proximity to Boise, it’s an easily accessible destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
One of the most popular sections for kayaking on the Payette River is the North Fork. Known for its exhilarating Class IV and V rapids, it attracts experienced whitewater enthusiasts from near and far. The South Fork of the Payette River, on the other hand, offers a milder experience with Class II and III rapids, making it suitable for kayakers of varying skill levels. Whether you’re craving an adrenaline rush or a relaxing paddle, the Payette River has it covered.
Flowing right through the heart of Idaho’s capital city, the Boise River offers a unique kayaking experience that combines urban convenience with natural beauty. With easy access points and a variety of put-ins and take-outs, kayakers can enjoy a leisurely paddle and explore the city from a different perspective.
The Boise River meanders through lush parks and green spaces, providing a tranquil oasis in the bustling city. As you paddle along, you’ll encounter abundant wildlife and scenic stretches that give you a renewed appreciation for nature in an urban setting. Be sure to check the water levels and any applicable regulations before embarking on your kayaking adventure on the Boise River.
Located just a short drive from Boise, Lucky Peak Reservoir offers a convenient and picturesque destination for kayakers in Southwestern Idaho. This reservoir is popular among outdoor enthusiasts for its calm waters, stunning views, and recreational opportunities.
Kayaking on Lucky Peak Reservoir allows you to soak in the beauty of the surrounding Boise National Forest while enjoying the tranquility of the water. Paddle along the shoreline and discover hidden coves or venture out into the open water and take in the breathtaking vistas. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or a day of fun in the sun, Lucky Peak Reservoir won’t disappoint.
For a truly unique kayaking experience in Southwestern Idaho, head to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. This designated area spans over 485,000 acres and is home to one of the largest concentration of nesting birds of prey in North America.
Paddling on the Snake River within this conservation area offers a rare opportunity to witness these majestic birds in their natural habitat. Glide along the river as golden eagles soar overhead, ospreys dive for fish, and falcons skim the water’s surface. The awe-inspiring sights and sounds of these magnificent creatures will create memories that will last a lifetime.
Eastern Idaho is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, and Henry’s Fork is a kayaking destination that shouldn’t be missed. This scenic river flows through the renowned Yellowstone National Park and offers kayakers a chance to explore its pristine waters while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding wilderness.
Whether you’re a seasoned paddler looking for a challenge or a beginner seeking a peaceful outing, Henry’s Fork has something for everyone. The river features a mix of calm stretches perfect for leisurely paddling and more challenging sections with Class II and III rapids. As you navigate through the picturesque canyons and meandering waterways, you’ll be immersed in the rich natural wonders of Eastern Idaho.
Nestled in the heart of the Targhee National Forest, Island Park Reservoir is a tranquil kayaking destination in Eastern Idaho. Surrounded by lush forests and peaceful meadows, this reservoir offers a serene setting for kayakers to explore at their own pace.
Island Park Reservoir is a popular spot for fishing and boating, making it an ideal destination for kayakers seeking a peaceful escape. Paddle along its calm waters and take in the stunning mountainous backdrop as you immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. Whether you’re looking to reel in a big catch or simply enjoy a leisurely paddle, Island Park Reservoir is a hidden gem worth discovering.
Located in the picturesque Swan Valley of Eastern Idaho, Palisades Reservoir is a kayaker’s paradise surrounded by towering mountains and pristine wilderness. This reservoir offers a wide range of paddling opportunities, from calm sections perfect for beginners to more adventurous stretches with rapids for experienced kayakers.
The crystal-clear waters of Palisades Reservoir provide a breathtaking backdrop as you navigate through its peaceful coves and hidden channels. Surrounded by lush forests teeming with wildlife, it’s not uncommon to spot deer, elk, or even moose along the shoreline. Whether you’re seeking solitude or an adrenaline rush, Palisades Reservoir offers an unforgettable kayaking experience in Eastern Idaho.
In conclusion, Idaho is a kayaker’s dream destination with its diverse waterways and stunning natural scenery. From the tranquil lakes of North Idaho to the thrilling rapids of Central Idaho, and the urban oasis of the Boise River to the untamed beauty of Eastern Idaho, there is something for every paddler in the Gem State. So grab your kayak, explore Idaho’s waterways, and create memories that will last a lifetime.