Top 5 outdoor activities in Boise, ID
Harrison Yates | December 7, 2020 @ 12:00 AM
When you think of Boise, if the great outdoors doesn’t come to mind, it should. This city has some fantastic outdoor activities, including a large natural area right in the city, a zoo dedicated to conservation, and it’s next door to a national park.
Boise River Greenbelt
There’s a large, gorgeous natural area built right into Boise, the Boise River Greenbelt. It’s 20 miles long with thirty miles of trails for walking, jogging, and biking. The area is a wildlife habitat and filled with trees. You’ll want to check out the Idaho birding trail to see if you can spot hawks, eagles, and falcons. You can also fish in the ponds, where the Idaho Department of Fish and Game stocks various types of trout.
Dozens of parks are part of the Boise Greenbelt, including Lucky Peak State Park, Marianne Williams Park, Kristin Armstrong Memorial Park, Barber Park, Kathryn Albertson Park, and Plantation Island. It’s also home to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival
Idaho Botanical Gardens
The Idaho Botanical Gardens comprises 50 acres of gardens on the former site of the Old Idaho State Penitentiary Farm. The meditation garden contains trees planted in the 1930s and 1940s by low-security inmates.
Other gardens on the grounds include an English garden, with plants from England; an Idaho native plant garden; an herb garden, which includes medicinal and culinary herbs; a water garden, with aquatic plants and amphibians; and a rose garden.
You can also think of each garden as an art gallery. Throughout the area, you’ll find salvaged scrap metal sculptures by Dr. Maximilian Kaslo. The Suspended Gear exhibit by Amber Conger, made from salvaged steel and antiques, is in the Western Waterwise Garden. In the meditation garden, you’ll find ceramic and steel art called “Untitled Ocean,” presented by artists Christophe Guigon and Corrin Olson. There’s a lot more art throughout the area as well.
There are far too many plants to mention them all, but a few include corkscrew willows, azaleas, sage, yucca, milkweed, pearly everlasting, Japanese anemone, daylilies, and roses.
Boise National Forest
If you enjoy camping, either in your RV or otherwise, you’ll be glad that Boise is so close to the Boise National Forest. Part of Sawtooth National Forest, Boise National Forest covers 2,203,700 acres and is run by the U.S. Forest Service. There are more than 70 campgrounds and 1,300 miles of trails, many suitable for cycling and some for motorcycles.
In 1862 gold was discovered in the area leading to a gold rush that lasted until around 1870. Gold was discovered here in 1862 leading to a gold rush, which ended around 1870. The park itself was established on July 1, 1908.
Three-quarters of the Boise National Forest is a forested area. At lower elevations, you’ll find douglas firs, ponderosa pines, and lodgepole pines. Higher up, you’ll begin to encounter Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and whitebark pines.
The wildlife living in the area includes mule deer, elk, moose, black bears, coyotes, cougars, timber wolves. Bird watchers will have fun looking for golden eagles, greater sage-grouse, bald eagles, goshawks, owls, and woodpeckers. Fishing is allowed in various lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, and you’ll find many fish, rainbow trout, bull trout, mountain whitefish, chinook salmon, and others.
Run by the Bogus Basin Recreation Association, this ski resort is located within Boise National Forest. Rumor has it the name Bogus Basin comes from the gold rush era when some criminals tried to pass off fake, or bogus, gold dust as the real thing.
Skiing season goes from Thanksgiving weekend until mid-April, and Bogus Basin has 2,600 acres of skiing runs and plenty of chair lifts. A few of the runs include Deer Point, Morning Star, and Pine Creek.
Of course, there are other great activities to enjoy. Bogus Basin has a mountain roller coaster called The Glade Runner as well as a disc golf course. Depending on which hotel you’re staying in, there may be a pool at your disposal. You may also enjoy getting in some hiking.
In Boise, there’s no better place than Zoo Boise to go see animals of all sorts. Here, you’ll find mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and more. Some specific animals include giraffes, red pandas, snow leopards, zebras, crocodiles, olive baboons, warthogs, penguins, California kingsnakes, African clawed frogs, and dozens more. The zoo runs programs to teach participants about animals and the importance of conservation.
In fact, Zoo Boise supports worldwide conservation efforts. They’ve given thousands of dollars in grants to Table Rock Restoration, Wildlife SOS, Global Wildlife Conservation, Bowling for Rhinos, and other organizations.
You’ll need to reserve tickets online to visit the zoo or get tickets for special behind-the-scenes tours. Also online, you can learn about the various species in residence, make a donation, or purchase something animal-related at the online gift shop.
With camping, hiking, and fishing all on your doorstep, you may need a secure place to keep your camping and fishing gear. A great place to store them is Keylock Storage in Boise. Feel free to give us a call or rent a unit online.