Idaho is great for all kinds of uphill, land-based sports in the summer. This includes mountain biking, hiking, trail running, rock climbing and horseback riding. While these active sports have a solid corner of the summer adventure market, we can’t ignore the fact that when the sun is out, time on the water never seems like a bad option.

Stand Up Paddleboarding is one of the most enjoyable, relaxing and accessible ways to get yourself onto Southern Idaho’s water, both in the desert and in the high country. Here are some places for stand up paddleboarding in Sun Valley!

The Snake River

An hour and twenty minutes straight south of Ketchum, you’ll find yourself crossing a bridge that spans the width of the Snake River Canyon. If you look below, you’ll see the calm, placid waters of the Snake River.

Boogie on down to Centennial Park, where you’ll put in for the day, and paddle up river to visit some of Southern Idaho’s outstanding waterfalls.

Pillar Falls is just 1.5 miles upstream from Centennial Park and can make for a lovely afternoon with your kids. If you’re a real go-getter, you can adventure much further upstream to Shoshone Falls, a 212-foot waterfall (that’s bigger than Niagra Falls). This trip will take between 4-6 hours, and will require snacks, water, and LOTS of sunscreen.

Please visit Paddling Southern Idaho’s website for more information!

Magic Reservoir

Just 35 miles south of town, this reservoir is one of the greatest (and closest) places to get your SUP fix.  Because this place is in the desert, it’s almost always warm during the summer.

There are a few developments lining the banks – Magic City on the east side, and Magic Resort on the west side – each with amenities for food and beverages. Both places are fabulous for a day on the beach and have launch sites to make it easier to get yourself out on the water. Because this place is in the desert, bring plenty of sunscreen…there is very little shade!

Salmon River with Sawtooth Adventure Company

If you head north over Galena Pass, you’ll drop into the Sawtooth Valley where the headwaters of one of Idaho’s most prized and beautiful rivers.

If river SUPing is your idea of a good time, you’ll absolutely want to contact Sawtooth Adventure Company in Stanley and sign up for their River SUP trip. SAC will take you down Class I & II river sections in one of the most pristine valleys in Idaho with your family (although everyone must be older than 8 years old to participate).

Alturas Lake or Petit Lake

If you’re looking to stay on lakes, and don’t want to drive far, Alturas or Petit Lake are great places to park for the day. Just past the Smiley Creek Lodge, turn west off of the highway. Find yourself a place to park, unload and enjoy.

Both of these lakes are in the National Forest and have public access. Bring snacks and water, sunscreen and all of the things you might need for a day in the mountains (including some warm weather gear!) and enjoy your lakeside experience.

Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake is one of the most iconic high alpine lakes in the Sawtooth Valley. People come from all over southern Idaho to enjoy these brisk waters in a boat, on a ski, with a wakeboard or in a tube, and stand up paddlers are absolutely welcome amongst this crowd of adventure and pleasure seekers!

There are many places to park other than the lodge parking. However, one perk of offloading at the lodge is that you’ll be close to the many amenities offered there. This includes food, music on the weekends, and quick access to the marina should you decide to rent a kayak or paddle boat.

If you drive down either side of the lake, find a quiet place to lounge for the day with a bit more privacy. The lake is massive – about 4.5 miles long, over a mile wide, and with roughly 11 miles of shoreline to explore. So take your time to enjoy all the wonders this glacial fed lake has to offer.

When you’ve tuckered yourself and your crew out, head back to the Limelight’s Lounge. There awaits a scrumptious dinner and a nightcap before you lay your weary heads down to recharge for the next day’s adventure.


1 Comments on "5 Places to Stand Up & Paddle in Sun Valley"

  1. […] a stand up paddleboard package and get your crew up to the high alpine lakes for a day. Check out this blog post for more in-depth suggestions on where to […]

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About Casey Sedlack

Casey grew up in the mountains and has years of skiing, snowboarding, and creative writing under her belt. A Sun Valley resident for years, Casey recently moved to Wyoming to start a ranching life with her husband and son.