Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking

Rafting and kayaking are foundational to the Youth Dynamics Adventures program. The river provides a dynamic and beautiful environment for incredible conversations! Whatever river experience you choose, you will receive a professionally guided, fun, and meaningful experience for your group!

Main Payette

Your group will launch from Banks, Idaho, and paddle through the pine forests and sagebrush hills of the Payette River Valley. Paddle teams will learn to work together under the leadership of one of our certified guides. This trip offers great whitewater for paddlers with rapids up to Class III including, “Go Left or You’re Fired,” “Mixmaster,” and “Bennett’s Rock.” It also features deep calm sections that are perfect for swimming and group games, as well as a few quiet areas that drop away from the road. This white water adventure naturally helps people lower their defenses and enter into genuine conversation.

  • Age: 11+ 
  • Season: April – September
  • Length: 1/2 day & full-day
  • Group Size: 6 – 60
  • Cost: $55 – $85 per person

Cabarton

The Cabarton section of the Payette is beautifully remote and wonderfully scenic. The trip starts south of Cascade and continues to Smith’s Ferry, totaling 11 river miles total. Spend the day rafting Class III rapids through the forest at the base of the West Central Mountains. The quiet yet adventurous atmosphere lends itself to deeper engagement and a chance to step into individual peace. Finish this trip playing together in the sand-bottomed flats following the famous Howard’s Plunge rapid.

  • Age: 11+
  • Season: April – July
  • Length: Full-day
  • Group Size: 6 – 60 people
  • Cost: $55 – $85 per person

Helende

The Helende section of the South Fork of the Payette is clear and fast, rarely pooling up with a new rush around every one of its many corners. This class IV- section takes you away from the crowds and into the heart of Idaho. Paddlers will feel the rush of rapids like ‘pinball,’ ‘Kirkum Gorge’ and ‘Wake Up.’ This section is a great section for those who are familiar with the other Payette River classics.

  • Age: 14+
  • Season: April – July
  • Length: Full-day
  • Group Size: 6 – 24 people
  • Cost: $55 – $85 per person

Canyon

The Canyon section holds some of the best Class IV Rapids in Idaho. Clearwater, thundering waterfalls and sheer granite walls paired with the remote setting of this river make for an unforgettable adventure. This all-day section has a great warm-up stretch that is followed by awesome sustained rapids. The calm water at the end is perfect to engage and debrief with a group. Participants will also get to assist in the intensive portage around the mighty Big Falls. Breathe deep and paddle hard as your group draws together on this whitewater adventure.

  • Age: 14+
  • Season: April – September
  • Length: Full-day
  • Group Size: 6 – 24 people
  • Cost: $55 – $85 per person

Staircase

Embark on this high adventure section of the Payette River that offers long technical rapids close to the Treasure Valley. Charge classics like ‘Bronco Billy,’ ‘Slalom,’ and the namesake ‘Staircase.’ The way this section unfolds will keep you and your group highly engaged as you rush downstream.  It holds many technical Class IV rapids and previous paddling experience is highly recommended.

  • Age: 14+
  • Season: April – September
  • Length: Full-day
  • Group Size: 6 – 24 people
  • Cost: $55 – $85 per person

Swirly Canyon

Want something scenic without the demands of big whitewater? This is your section. Deep clear water weaves through granite cliffs and forest. Swirly Canyon is a great introduction to a river adventure.

  • Age: 11+
  • Season: April – August
  • Length: Full-day
  • Group Size: 6 – 60 people
  • Cost: $55 – $85 per person

Lower Owyhee

The Lower Owyhee is our flagship expedition trip. Your group will spend seven days kayaking 50 miles of Class III and IV rapids through the incredible painted canyons and hill country of the Lower Owyhee River. This section is one of the most diverse and inspiring parts of the entire river, with beautiful scenery, swift rapids, amazing slot canyons, and historic ruins. Your group will be challenged during action-packed days and engage in meaningful discussion at night under the stars. No previous kayaking skills necessary; learning to paddle and maneuver rapids is part of the journey, and the Lower Owyhee provides excitement throughout the whole trip.

  • Age: 14+
  • Season: March – April (raft); May – August (kayak)
  • Length: Multi-day (6 – 8 days)
  • Group Size: 10 – 16 people
  • Cost: $540 – $620 per person

Middle Owyhee

Experience the challenge of the Middle Owyhee and spend five days exploring 30 miles of remote canyon. Best for groups with prior paddling experience, this trip will stretch you as you and your team navigate challenging rapids, undertake several significant portages, and spend time between the sheer canyon walls. This hidden gem of the Northwest will leave a deep impression on all who paddle its waters. This trip is more physically demanding than the Lower Owyhee.

  • Age: 16+
  • Season: April – mid-July
  • Length: Full-day
  • Group Size: 8 – 11 people
  • Cost: $480 per person

How does rafting impact my group?

Rafting is fun for almost everyone and is a great equalizer for a group as expertise and physical abilities have little to do with an individual’s ability to enjoy the adventure. Rafting allows you to become part of an adventure where you go at the pace of creation. Trained guides use the raft and river to help the group settle into a rhythm—the unknown journey helps draw people together. Thoughts and conversations that are difficult to achieve in other places can come more naturally on the water. 

What if someone in the group does not swim?

Being a swimmer, even a good swimmer, is of course beneficial for confidence if nothing else, but it is not a prerequisite. Paddlers will be required to wear a Personal Flotation Device at all times on all rivers. Helmets are also available, recommended, and even required on some river sections. You have the right by law to wear a helmet when rafting class three whitewater and above, and they will be made available to you.

What am I responsible to bring?

It is recommended that paddlers bring appropriate swimwear, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and sandals or river shoes that will not fall off. Depending on the season you may also want to bring a thin insulation layer for while on the water, and dry clothes to put on once you are off the river.

Youth Dynamics will provide capable and experienced guides familiar with the sections of the rivers. We will provide equipment that is well maintained and necessary for rafting in whitewater. We provide Personal Floatation Devices, wetsuits, booties, and splash jackets needed to deal with the climate and water temperatures. A full packing list for each experience will be made available through the booking process. 

Is the water cold?

Water temperature varies through the year and the section. In general, the water on the Cabarton section of the North Fork and the Main Payette is warmer than the water in the South Fork of the Payette. Youth Dynamics will provide equipment that is well maintained and necessary for rafting in whitewater, including Personal Floatation Devices, wetsuits, booties, and splash jackets needed to deal with the climate and water temperatures.

Does the water level affect the ability to run a trip?

Every season offers something different. Many of our Payette River sections are dam-controlled which gives us a predictable flow from April through September. On the Owyhee, we use watercraft that are appropriate for the water level. Generally, the water accommodates rafts in the spring and inflatable kayaks in the summer.

What do I have to do during the trip?

You only need to be ready to step into the adventure and actively participate with your group and guide team.

How do shuttles work?

Shuttle arrangements vary for each group depending on size and river section run. Our staff will work with you prior to the trip to determine the best shuttle option.

Our staff will equip and provide the essentials for your experience (e.g. gear, food, equipment, training, insurance) and will work with your group leader for programming and other logistical needs. In addition, our staff will provide the technical and professional skills needed to provide a safe and life-changing adventure.

Our goal is to assist you in providing a memorable experience for your group that has the opportunity to be life-transforming. Whether you are trying to create unity in your church youth group or build community in your school, group home, or youth-related organization—we are with you!

Let’s adventure together!

V Youth Dynamics Adventures Idaho

103 Madison Ave
Horseshoe Bend, ID 83629

208.793.3788