Payette, S. Fork, Idaho, US
1 - Grandjean to Deadwood (Grandjean)
||II-IV (for normal flows)
South Fork Payette
South Fork PayettePhoto by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/19/14 @ 1800 cfs
The run from Grandjean to Deadwood is 35 miles and is typically divided into segments based on
skill level of the group and the wood situation.
Grandjean (rm 140.6) to Bonneville (rm 131.7); class II(IV); 8.9 miles
The section from Grandjean to Bonneville is mostly class II with the notable exception of Canyon
Creek Rapid which is class III/IV and the short gorge just upstream of Bonneville which is class
III+. Wood can be an issue in this upper segment of the run so use caution.
Bonneville (rm 131.7) to Helende (rm
119.0); class II-III+; 12.7 miles
A popular run begins at Bonneville. If you begin about a mile and half upstream of the campground
you can start out with the fun class III+ rapids in the short gorge (described in segment above)
that finishes off as you pass under the ID-21 bridge. Just downstream of the bridge, the river
enters another short canyon at Chapman Creek Rapid, which is a class III+ rapid that can be boat
scouted down the middle.
Just downstream, Little Surprise awaits. At a distinct horizon line the river cascades through a
big class III+ drop with a midstream boulder that is to be avoided. A good line is down the left
side and finishing off towards the center but watch the smaller holes at the top that can quickly
send you off your line.
Below this drop the river continues with more fun class II/III. As you pass under the next ID-21
bridge the river enters another great section with continuous class II punctuated with some fun
class III moves. This action tapers off as you approach the Tenmile Trailhead.
Below Tenmile you pass by a small community of riverside cabins and a more open river channel
with class II whitewater that continues on down to Helende Campground. This campground is a good
take-out for a beginner run or a put-in for the great intermediate run that awaits downstream.
Helende Campground (rm 119) to Mountainview Campground (rm 109.5); class III; 9.5 miles
Helende to Mountainview Campground is characterized by fun class III rapids. The first gorge is
just after you pass under the Forest Road 542 bridge. Use caution as you approach the horizon
line (you can road scout the gorge from mile 78.2 on Highway 21). The highlight of this run is
just another mile downstream as you enter the gorge at Kirkham Hot Spring. This is one of the
best hot springs in the valley. The spring is extensively developed as a day use area and small
campground that is visible from the road so it is not remote but it is a nice spot and a great
stop for a lunch time soak.
Mountainview Campground (rm 109.5) to Deadwood River Access (rm 105.1); class II+; 4.4
Below Mountainview the whitewater backs off a notch and is fun class II+ that is fairly
continuous and a good beginner run to the Deadwood River Access which is the traditional put-in
for the the Canyon run. You can take out here or continue on down another 4.6 miles to Pine Flat
Campground which gives you a couple of nice class III rapids and an ending at the hot springs at
There are a few alternative access points along ID-21 all the way up to the campground above
Grandjean (river mile 140.6).
If you are starting your run at Bonneville, a good put-in is at the dispersed campsite at ID-21
mile 93.0. Bonneville Campground at ID-21 mile 91.5 is also listed as an access in some guides
but this puts you in downstream of some good class III/IV.
Good access for rafts can be found across from the Warm Springs Guard Station. To reach it turn
onto 025-RB at ID-21 mile 91.3. Follow this road 0.9 miles downstream and turn left into the
dispersed campsite just before you reach the guard station. This access puts you in just
downstream of Chapman Creek but just above Little Surprise.
A couple more roadside pullouts and dispersed campsites provide access as you continue
Tenmile Trailhead is at ID-21 mile 85.5 is sometimes used an access that comes at the end of some
class II/III and the start of a short class II reach.
Helende Campround at ID-21 mile 81.5 is a good river access that serves as a take-out or put-in.
Enter the campground but instead of following the loop around the sites, head straight on the
dirt road towards the river. Rafts can easily use this access.
Kirkham Hot Springs is at ID-21 mile 76.9 and is sometimes used as a kayaker take-out for those
making the short intermediate run down from Helende.
Mountainview Campground is at ID-21 mile 73.3 and serves as a take-out or put-in.
If continuing downstream past Mountainview you will turn off ID-21 at mile 72.6 onto the
Banks-Lowman Road. You will be at mile 33.2 when you turn onto this road.
Deadwood Flats River Access is at mile 29.9 on the Banks-Lowman Road at river mile 105.1.
The Pine Flats Campground is at mile 27.9 on the Banks-Lowman Road at river mile 100.5.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-07-09 06:49:35