(1) Bring a sturdy tube, paddle board, or raft
There are about three actual rapids you’ll hit during the float, so you won’t want to bring a flimsy tube that you use in the pool. I recommend getting something stronger and similar to this, this or this for floating the river. You’ll find a lot of people doing it on stand up paddle boards or blow up kayaks too which is a great idea. If you don’t end up buying, you can always rent at Barber Park.
(2) The river float takes about 2-3 hours
The overall float starts at Barber Park and ends at Ann Morrison Park. The float can be faster or slower depending on if you’re actually paddling or just leisurely floating down.
(3) You can take the bus and it costs only $3 each way
The best part of floating the river is that there’s a bus that can take you down the river both ways. We parked at Barber Park, floated the river, got out at Ann Morrison Park, and then took the bus from Ann Morrison back to Barber Park. You can also park at Ann Morrison Park and ride the bus to Barber Park if you want to have your car waiting for you at the end of the float. The bus costs $3 per person, each way, and you’ll find the bus comes about every 20-mins near the rental drop off at Ann Morrison Park.
(4) You can rent tubes, paddles, blow up kayaks and rafts at Barber Park
We had two rafts and decided to rent paddles for the rafts at the park. It’s fairly inexpensive and you can drop them off at the end of the float at Ann Morrison. If you don’t want to wait in a line, I’d try and bring your own float gear. The coolest part about Barber Park is that you can blow up your tubes on the side of the building close to the river that has a bunch of free air hoses.
(5) Make sure to bring the following:
Note: Boise doesn’t condone drinking on the river, but pretty much everyone brings booze anyway. My friends and I fill up water bottles with whatever we want to drink (usually White Claws or beer) and bring those in our rafts.
(6) Be prepped for a few rapids
There are a few mini-rapids to be aware of, but nothing too wild! Also, it’s important to beware of kids jumping off one of the bridges you pass underneath.
(7) Bring a picnic
If you want to have a leisurely float, then take a picnic and stop off at one of the beaches or benches for a nice snack!
Most of all, have fun! It’s a great day out on the river and such a great afternoon activity to do in the hot summer heat! Just beware that the water is pretty cold in the earlier summer months, so be prepped to have a refreshing float.