The North Fork of the Payette River begins at Payette Lake at McCall and flows south. It joins the westward flowing South Fork and bends slowly west and finally almost north before joining the Snake River at the town of Payette.
While just an hour's drive from Boise, the river still manages to leave civilization far behind. Visitors can float a clean mountain river with forested banks and hawks or osprey flying overhead. Different groups enjoy different stretches of the river. The South Fork is an advanced whitewater run. The 11-mile Cabarton Run on the North Fork is an intermediate run ending at Smiths Ferry, while below Smiths Ferry is one of the most advanced kayak runs in the world.