CROUCH, Idaho — The Middle Fork of the Payette River means a lot of different things to different folks.

CROUCH, Idaho — The Middle Fork of the Payette River means a lot of different things to different folks.

For Gene and Carolyn Hibbard of Caldwell, it's miles and miles of trails and roads to ride in their side-by-side ATV.

For Joann Leone and Joe Novak, of Boise, it's a place to camp along the river. Their favorite campsite even has its own personal beach in low water.

"There are a lot of nice hot springs up there," said Dylan Lammers of Boise, who takes his three youngsters up there.

"It's really nice for kids," he said about the camping and floating the Middle Fork below Tie Creek Campground.

The Middle Fork meanders more than 25 miles south along gravel and paved roads from Boiling Springs Cabin to Crouch in Garden Valley.

Along the way are trailheads for hikers, horseback riders, motorcyclists and ATVers.

Hot springs are hidden in the nooks and crannies of granite canyons.

Campgrounds abound from undeveloped pulloffs in shady spots with beach-front amenities to full-blown developed campgrounds with paved pads and picnic shelters. The views of forests of lodgepole and ponderosa pines, distant mountain ranges and a river canyon keep you stopping at every roadside pulloff to take them all in.

Gene Hibbard stopped his ATV at Boiling Springs Campground with a group of riders out for a morning's ride on the area's many roads and trails.

He has been exploring the Middle Fork since the early '50s and still enjoys riding the trails. He also clears trails in the area.

OK, let's take the drive on the Middle Fork Payette loop.

You can do it in a long day trip with a picnic stop and soak in a hot springs.

What's better is to spend several days camping to fully appreciate the area.