Floating the Boise River
Raft and tube operation officials look at several things before deciding on the best time to open the rental service at Ada County’s Barber Park for the season. River flow levels, debris removal by the Boise Fire Department, and weather temperatures are all factors considered. People can float the Boise River on their own prior to the raft and tube rental service opening. However, rentals and shuttle services are available when temperatures and water levels are optimal, and sweep for debris removal has taken place. This helps provide a safer and more enjoyable floating experience for those setting out on the Boise River.
For more information, please see the Ada County Parks & Waterways website or call (208) 577-4584.
To learn more about tube and raft rentals, please call (208) 577-4588.
What every floater should know!
The Boise River is truly a gem for Idaho's Capital City. We at Boise City want the river to be a beautiful, fun and safe place for all citizens to enjoy.
The Boise River is also a wonderful inner-city habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. We encourage people to enjoy the river while preserving its natural beauty.
From fishing to floating, picnics to parks, more people are using the Boise River than ever before.
The following is a list of tips, rules and laws that will help make your float down the Boise River safe and fun for you, your friends and family.
Ada County Parks & Waterways provides summer raft, tube, kayak, paddle, and life jacket rentals at Barber Park in partnership with Epley’s Boise River Rentals. The rental fleet consists of AIRE, NRS, and Riken products. Barber Park also features an unloading area near the floater launch beach, ample fee parking, public restrooms, and complimentary air compressor stations during the float season. Inner tubes are available for purchase and shuttle service runs regularly from Ann Morrison Park to Barber Park for a nominal fee.
The Boise Parks & Recreation Department has established four rest stops along the main floating route between Barber Park and Ann Morrison Park. Each stop includes trash receptacles with regular pickups.
- River Quarry is located on the left hand side of the river just before the Marden Bridge (Baybrook Court Bridge). Site has restroom and trash facilities.
- Marden Bridge (Baybrook Court Bridge) site is located on the right side of the river and is currently used by numerous floaters. Site has trash facilities.
- Julia Davis Park site is located on the right side of the river. Trash facilities are located behind the site and restrooms are available across the road near the bandshell.
- Ann Morrison Park is the take-out for the float.
The map designates the floater rest stop locations. Directional signs approximately 100 yards before each rest stop will indicate site amenities available.
The River Quarry site includes a port-a-pottie; permanent restrooms are located in the stops at Julia Davis and Ann Morrison Parks.
Ann Morrison Park, which is 6 miles downstream from Barber Park, is the take-out spot for floaters.
To prevent congestions, there are two take-out spots on the left side of the river-- upriver and downriver from the footbridge.
Restrooms, trash and recycling bins are available at the take-out.
Parking & Shuttles:
Floaters can park inside Barber Park (parking information) or at Ann Morrison Park. A shuttle runs regularly between the two parks visit Epley's for more information. There is a cost to take the shuttle. Check out the map for information about the shuttle bus location.
All floaters and those using Boise area parks are asked to be a good neighbor and not park on nearby residential streets.
For safety, some streets around Barber Park are posted as No Parking Zones. Violators risk a citation.
Idaho law requires all vessels, including rafts, kayaks and canoes be equipped with a life vest for each person on board. Children 14 years of age and younger onboard vessels 19' or less are required under Idaho law to wear an approved life vest when the vessel is underway.
Floaters older than 14 who are not strong swimmers are urged to wear life vests at all times.
Open containers of alcohol are not allowed on the Boise River or in Boise City parks within 250 feet of the river as posted.
Beer and wine are allowed in Boise parks outside the 250 foot riverbank zone, unless otherwise designated. Permits are required for individual possession of beer/wine of more than 7 1/2 gallons (pony keg = 7 3/4 gallons, 3 cases = 6 3/4 gallons). A Beer/Wine Permit can be downloaded and submitted in accordance to rules and regulations as outlined on the application.
Glass containers of any kind are not allowed on the Boise River or in Boise Parks. Please carry your beverages in plastic or aluminum containers.
Litter and Recycling:
No one wants to see litter in the river. Littering is illegal. Boise Parks & Recreation Department has provided trash and recycling bins at the rest stops and at the take-out in Ann Morrison Park for your use.
Smoking is prohibited in all public parks, facilities and within 20 feet of the Boise Greenbelt. Smoking is permitted in designated areas within Ann Morrison and Julia Davis parks.
Boogie or river boarding is prohibited in the Boise River within the City of Boise, which for the typical float, begins immediately after you float past Barber Park.
Safety must be the priority while on the river. While jumping from bridges, trees or rocks into the river is not illegal, those who do so should be aware that doing so can be dangerous, and that they are jumping at their own risk.
It is illegal, however to jump from or throw or drop any object, including a person, from any bridge, tree or other landscape features into the Boise River within fifty (50) feet of any boater, floater, rafter or tuber.
Congestion on the Greenbelt at various bridges, primarily Marden Bridge, results in complaints from greenbelt users and is also a safety concern. When using the greenbelt, remember Boise City Code prohibits obstructing the path way, bike lane, sidewalk, or roadway of any bridge in the city or causing the flow or movement of pedestrians, bikes, or vehicles to be obstructed. This also applies to the immediate area surrounding the access to the bridge. "Obstruct" means to stand more than two persons deep along the railing or side of any bridge or along the side of any bridge access way or occupy all or such portion of the path, lane, sidewalk, or road, as to block or delay more than momentarily safe passage of another person or vehicle using the path, lane, sidewalk, or road lawfully and carefully. Basically, be courteous and be sure that wherever you are on the Greenbelt, others can also safely use the pathway.
Camping is not allowed on the Boise River or in Boise City parks.
The environment along the river is ever changing and new hazards can appear at any time. The Boise Fire Department and the Boise Parks & Recreation Department continually monitor the Boise River recreation area throughout the season for snags or significant hazards. The City works with our river partners to mitigate those hazards for the community. It should be emphasized that the combined resources of the City of Boise and Ada County cannot clear the river of ALL hazards ALL the time. Users of the river use the river at their own risk.
If you see a snag or hazard in the river, please report it immediately to Ada County dispatch: 208-377-6790.
Use Greenbelt "DOTS" to provide your location in an emergency:
If you need emergency assistance along the river or greenbelt, DOTS, or the Directional and Orientation Trail System can help. DOTS are a series of 20-inch white spots painted onto the Greenbelt pavement every tenth of a mile. Inside the white spots are black numbers and letters that describe your location. The numbers represent how far that spot is from the base, or "zero" spot, which is located at the 8th Street pedestrian bridge on both sides of the river. The letters inside the spot indicate what sector of the Greenbelt it is on, such as the northwest quadrant, or the southeast quadrant. If you need help and can get to a DOT, emergency dispatchers can send help your way even faster.
Lost & Found:
Lose something while floating the river? You may contact Boise Parks & Recreation Main Office at 208-608-7600 or Boise River Volunteers dive on the river and they also have a lost and found forum for valuable items. Visit it here.
Best Times to Float:
Mornings or early afternoons are quietest along the river. Late afternoons and evenings are very busy.
Other Safety Tips:
All floaters are encouraged to wear tennis shoes for safety and comfort.
Floaters are urged to leave valuable items at home or secure valuable items while travelling on the river.
Floaters are urged to watch for overhanging branches or swift currents that may cause rafts to overturn.
Floaters should call 911 if they see a life-threatening or emergency situation.
Floaters should not operate a raft, tube or other watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol.