Warm weather is here at last and summer is well underway. It’s a great time to be in Rexburg. Flowers are in bloom. Greenery lines the streets and parks. We spend all winter waiting for this day. And it is here at last!
But then you remember that you don’t have AC. All across town, fans are blowing at full-speed, and crisp, cold-conditioned air is nothing more than a dream as sweat drips down our cheeks like salty tears, and our apartments reach unbearable temperatures.
Undoubtedly, we are flocking outside in droves, looking for ways to enjoy summer while still cooling off.
Floating the River
Floating the river is a great way to enjoy the summer sun while still being able to cool off. You can soak in the sun as you ride and dip and dunk into the water as much or as little as you want along the way. Fortunately, we are close to several great places to float the river.
This float is one of the most well-known floats in our area. It is a popular spot for floating for all ages because it is a slow and gentle float. It can last as long as 4 hours or as short as half an hour, depending on where you put in and get out. This makes Warm River a great place for beginners, or those just looking for a relaxing time on the water. There are many different ways to float this river, but we suggest putting in by the bridge at the end of Fisherman’s drive, near the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway.
The best place to get out if you choose to float this section of the river is at the bridge just past the Three Tetons Historical Marker on US-20 near Ashton. If you search for the marker on Google Maps, then follow the road to the bridge. You will see that there is plenty of space to pull off and park near the river. Plus, you should have an easy time seeing this from the water so that you know when to get out.
Perhaps a lesser-known float, this trip begins at a familiar spot: Monkey Rock. You can park at Monkey Rock and let in easily not far from there. As you float down the canal you will pass several branch-offs and small forks, but all the water is moving in the same direction so it would be impossible to go off the path. Continue floating down and don’t stress about which path you take, because they will all lead to the same destination. Definitely be careful of rapids, of course, and only tackle what you feel comfortable doing. This canal will be faster moving than the Warm Slough. It does start to slow down a bit when you reach the end where we suggest pulling out of the water.
The best place to get out is about 2 miles downriver from Monkey Rock. Two public roads, N 2700 E and E 2000 N meet at a point right along the river. This could be easy to miss, but if your second car is parked here, it will be easy to see and know when to get out. Because these are public roads, you don’t need to worry about trespassing on your way out. All in all, this float will probably last about an hour.
Old HWY – Henry’s Fork
This is another great float. It is about the same pace as Siddoway Canal, so it is much faster than Warm Slough. As you can see in the picture below, we suggest letting into Henry’s Fork along this section of the Henry’s Fork near Chester. As you follow N 2925 E toward 950 N on the Old HWY road, just before Henry’s Fork you will come to a bridge with an old house nearby. There is plenty of space to park just off the road, and then you can get started in the shallow water to the left of the bridge. This one may be a little harder to find, so here are the coordinates from Google Maps. Type these in and you will get directions right to where you need to go: 44.018120, -111.570671.
We suggest letting in there for easy river access close to a public road; however, not far down the river, after you come around the first major bend, you will come to a dam. There are buoys coming across the river keeping you a safe distance away from the dam. The only way around is to steer for the boat ramp along the left bank of the river. From here, you can walk around the building, until you come to a second boat ramp on the other side. Let in here and then continue your ride.
From here, you will be able to enjoy the river for at least three fun-filled hours if you follow our suggested route. We suggest parking your second car for getting out in the marked area in the picture below. Again, for ease of finding this parking lot near the river, here are the coordinates you need to search in Google Maps: 43.982636, -111.624339. As you can see, there is a little ramp near the parking lot along the left bank, just before the Ext bridge. This will be the easiest place to exit the river, with your car safely parked waiting for you.
There is no better time of year to float
All three of these floats will offer a great experience. They are super close to Rexburg and will offer lots of fun no matter how experienced you are. So make the most of the warm weather and get out there and float! Don’t forget to stop by the ORC on campus to rent gear as well. Have fun, enjoy the summer, and of course, be safe and smart out there!
Also, as a special treat, you should look into this float as well, especially if you have already tried all of the other local floats we just suggested.
Float the Portneuf River in Lava Hot Springs
While not in our immediate area, if you are willing to take an hour drive to Lava Hot Springs, you won’t regret the opportunity to float the town’s awesome section of the Portneuf River. In fact, this river is rumored by many to be one of the best floats on this side of the country!
It is a fast-paced float that will last about 30 minutes or so but is short enough that you could easily ride it multiple times in one trip. There are always plenty of adventurers floating, so you don’t have the same back-country feel that you will get with some of the other floats we have suggested. That said, this float should definitely be on your list.
There are tons of locals renting out tubes of all sizes along Main Street, so it is easy to find something to take down the river with. Some companies even have trucks and trailers that will take you and your tube back up to the top so that you can ride again. There are several fun waterfalls and rapids that you will have a blast going over. It isn’t uncommon to encounter kids who are blasting floaters with water guns from bridges, and other fun shenanigans like that. When you are done floating, you can relax in the hot pools, or get some ice cream at the local sweet shop on Main Street. All in all, the Lava Hot Springs float is a blast, and could easily fill up an entire day with fun.
*Edited 7/6/2018: The first section describes Warm River, not the Warm Slough.