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I don’t have to spotlight the Boise River. Every year more than 125,000 people float the river. In some years past I’ve heard as high as 300,000 enjoy the float.

But, despite the crowds, everyone’s friendly and it’s like one big happy river family. Everybody loves the Boise River and it’s a fun, leisurely float.

I took six grandkids down the river the other day and they had a blast. I was going to try to get them on the river early in the day so we could avoid the crowds, but you know kids. They don’t get out of bed early on summer vacation.

We ended up on the river about noon and they enjoyed the circus atmosphere of a summer float on the river. Tubes, paddle boards, rafts, inflatable kayaks and canoes jammed the river. Dogs were riding on rafts. It was just plain old fun.

The six-mile float takes about two to three hours from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park. Raft and tube rentals are available at Barber Park.

Now the secret. If you get on the river at about 10 a.m., you’ll have a peaceful float. Peaceful? Yup. The earlier you get on the river the better the chances for a quiet river trip. Really. I noticed the other day while hiking along the river, the river was basically empty at 9 to 10 a.m.

I also noticed that fly anglers pick that time of the day to float the river to avoid hooking a tuber with a cast. Also, the hatch seems to go off about 10 to 11 a.m. with fish rising.

Have fun whether you want a circus experience or a serene float with trout rising.

The Boise River is such an incredible recreational resource to have in town. Enjoy it. Keep it clean. Work to protect it. Keep on paddling.

Pete has been writing about the outdoors in Idaho and the Northwest for decades. Give him a shout at

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