Kayak school: on the Payette River

Family reunion raft trip on Idaho's Payette River

Our lessons are based right out of the heart of the Payette River system in Banks Idaho.

Banks is located at the Payette’s confluence where the South Fork and North Fork combine to create the Main Payette. The combination of the Payette’s warm summers, long water season, easy roadside access, and it's large spectrum of whitewater create arguably one of the best places in the world to learn to kayak.

Call 208.793.2272 to start kayaking

Classes offered at Bear Valley Kayak School:  

Intro to Kayaking:

Our 2 day intro to kayaking course is for those of you that have never kayaked before or are just getting started and want to polish up your basic skills. This class covers the fundamentals to get you out on the water and cruising on your journey into the amazing world of whitewater kayaking.  In this class we cover the different types of kayaks and equipment, river safety, reading river features and hydrology, the fundamental paddle strokes, the wet exit (getting out of your kayak in the river), edging your kayak, ferrying your kayak, eddy turns, and eddy peel outs.     

$255 per person (lunch included).   
Classes run from 9am to 4pm

Dates offered*:

Kids - Intro to kayak: July 13, 14  | July 29, 30 | August 3, 4

Intro to kayak:  June 22, 23  | July 6, 7  |  July 27, 28  | August 10, 11  | August 24, 25  

*Give us a call at 208.793.2272 for booking the class on dates not specified.
(Minimum of 3 people to do the class on a date not on the schedule)

Semi Private Lessons:  

Do you have your own group you’d like to learn with?  We offer semi private lessons for groups of two or more people.  These lessons can be customized to meet the needs and goals of your group.  2 person minimum.  

1/2 day $90 per person.      
Full day $145 per person (lunch included).    

Private Lessons:

One on one private instruction.  Lessons are customized to your individual learning style and paddling goals.  

1/2 day $125
Full day $225 (lunch included)  

Call 208.793.2272 to start your kayaking lessons

What to bring:

Your swim suit.  The majority of our time will be spent on the water and will include an occasional swim in the river.    


  • Sunscreen.  
  • A Towel for after class and lunch break.
  • Your own personal water container.  We also have bottled water available.
  • Nose plugs and or ear plugs

Kayak gear:

If you have some or all of your own gear, great bring it.  If you don’t have anything, no problem we have everything you need.  

Personal gear must be inspected by our crew and deemed safe and appropriate for the river and our class.  PFD's must be type III coast guard rated and in good condition.  If we decide your gear is not safe for a whitewater setting or not right for our class no worries, you can use our gear at no additional cost.

Available gear courtesy of Bear Valley Kayak School:

  • Kayaks
  • Paddles
  • PFD's
  • Helmets
  • Spray Skirts
  • Neoprene river shoes
  • Neoprene tops, wet suits, and Nylon splash tops.

Call 208.793.2272 to join a kayaking class

Meet Preston Woods

Bear Valley Kayak School director Preston Woods, has been kayaking on the Payette River for 23 years and has worked as a safety kayaker and raft guide for Bear Valley for over 20 years. Kayaking is a life passion for Preston that he loves sharing with others. Preston is a level 4 ACA certified instructor. He has developed a great set of curriculums and put together an amazing team of instructors to help get you moving down the river in style.