|Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway Sign|
This short 33 mile byway follows the South Fork of the Payette River on the Banks-Lowman road. Access is at either Banks (US-55) or at Lowman (ID-21). At Banks, the South Fork of the Payette and the North Fork of the Payette come together creating a major waterway often topping 8,000 cubic feet/second during spring runoff.
|Floater With Pontoon Boat in Staircase Rapids|
|Rafters Enjoying South Fork Payette|
|Kayak in South Fork Payette |
|Whitewater Action on the South |
Fork of Payette River
About seven miles east of Banks, the canyon view opens to wide meadows where the Middle Fork joins the South Fork of the Payette. One mile north of this junction is the small town of Crouch. Crouch is mostly a supply town for the few year-round residents and the many summer visitors. A number of Forest Service campgrounds are located along the Middle Fork and other tributaries. A special treat is the Starlight Mountain Theater, an outdoor theater, performing professional Broadway shows. Click here for information about the theater schedule, prices, dinner shows, etc.
Another mile or so east of the Crouch junction is the small town of Garden Valley. Gas and limited groceries are available here. Just east of Garden Valley is a Forest Service Ranger Station, another source of information about the area.
There are numerous hot springs in this area and continuing east along the highway and river. Between Garden Valley and Lowman the highway goes past the Danskin wildlife viewing area. During the winter and spring large herds of elk use this area for their winter range. Two pullouts with viewing telescopes have been installed for viewing the numerous elk, deer, chukars, wild turkeys, eagles, osprey, and other wildlife.
|South Fork of Payette River Viewed From Highway Overlook|
Continuing east, the roadway drops in elevation and is at river level before reaching Lowman, the eastern terminus of this beautiful scenic byway. The road is open all year but may be snow covered during winter months. There is much to see and do along the 33 mile stretch of this beautiful byway. Hot Springs and Pine Flats campgrounds are just off the highway near the Lowman end. The highway joins ID-21 at Lowman and one can either return to Boise through Idaho City or continue east and north to Stanley and the Stanley Basin.
Contact and Information sources (not complete):
Boise National Forest Garden Valley Ranger Station 208-462-3241 or the Boise National Forest,
1249 S. Vinnell Way, Suite 200, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 373-4100, http://fs.usda.gov/boise or email contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce: 208-462-5003, http://www.gvchamber.org/ or email email@example.com
Bear Valley River Co. - 208-793-2272 or 1-800-235-2327, http://www.bearvalleyrafting.com/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cascade Raft and Kyak - 208-793-2221 or 1-800-292-7238, http://www.cascaderaft.com/
Payette River Company - 208-259-3702(summer) 208-726-8467(winter), http://www.payetterivercompany.com/ or email email@example.com
Idaho Whitewater Unlimited - 208-462-1900 or 1-800-800-RAFT, http://www.idahowhitewaterunltd.com/, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Riverroots, LLC - 208-850-7637, http://www.riverrootskayak.com/, or email email@example.com