Cabarton - White Water Paddling

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Fun, class III whitewater makes a great family trip with exciting rapids separated by sections of flat great for swimming when the water is warm.

Written by

Teresa Bruffey


10.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

55.7 miles


2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

3 hours

3+ hours – 2 days


Spring, Summer, and Fall

May through October

Dog Friendly


With PFD

Fees Permits




The Cabarton  is named after C.A. Barton, a lumber and railroad executive who developed this area in the early 1900’s. The Cabarton is a gorgeous, canyon section of the Payette that offers a fun float for intermediate to expert boaters, and offers a challenge within reach for beginners. 

What Makes It Great

Other than the put-in and near the take-out, the Cabarton is nearly roadless as it runs through the canyon creating that wonderful remote feeling of being far out in the wild. The two big rapids are Trestle Rapid that begins just before the railroad trestle, and Howards Plunge at the very end that dumps into a big stretch of flat water above Smith’s Ferry. A popular spot in the summer, the river is often full of groups on the weekends. A great family float trip, there are a number of flat sections along the way for swimming in the warm water of this dam-fed flow that drains from Lake Cascade.

Who is Going to Love It

A few exciting rapids are interspersed with flat sections of water making this section a great family float or day float close to Boise. The rapids are great for an intermediate paddler or a beginner ready for a challenge!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

A few obvious camping spots along the way are available if you want to make it a 2-day trip. 

For information on flow rates check out:

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44.413581, -116.0321

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