Welcome to Idaho’s aptly named Treasure Valley. Consistently voted one of America’s Most Livable Cities, Boise has something for everyone. Ideally situated surrounded by mountains, the area boasts four seasons, all of which are mild.
Are you a winter sports enthusiast? Although Boise City typically receives very little snowfall, Bogus Basin ski resort is only a short sixteen miles away. Four chair lifts operate in the winter to transport skiers and snow boarders to the top of the mountain. Tubers will find an 800’ course with a conveyor to take them back up to the top, over and over. If tubing is too tame for you, try Idaho’s only mountain roller coaster. Twist and turn through 4300 feet of the forest - you control the speed!
Bogus Basin does not close in the off-season. If it gets too hot in the valley, head for the hills! Pioneer Chair Lift remains open in the summer to carry mountain bikers to the top, where they have their choice of 23 trails to descend. Sight-seers who just want a casual afternoon and killer views can ride the lift to Pioneer Lodge and grab a bite to eat, before heading back down. The Mountain Coaster is also open, and there are bungee trampolines and rock climbing walls.
But don’t think you need to go to the mountains for recreation! There are plenty of opportunities right in town. For starters, there is our Boise River Greenbelt. Bike riders, pedestrians and skaters alike take advantage of The Boise Greenbelt, a 25-mile long path that starts east of Boise at Lucky Peak Dam and ends in Eagle, Idaho. It connects over 850 acres of parks and natural areas along the Boise River. Parks along the Boise Greenbelt include Barber Park, Municipal Park, Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, Kathryn Albertson Park, and Esther Simplot Whitewater Park, each offering a variety of wildlife viewing and recreation:
Starting at Lucky Peak, you’ll view the more rugged rock outcroppings of the Boise River as you head toward town. In the winter, bald eagles roost in the trees along the river. Along the way, you’ll pass the Idaho Shakespeare Festival
At Barber Park, you can rent a raft and begin your float down the river. Raft rentals and shuttle are available. During hot summer months, this is one of the most popular ways to beat the heat. Hundreds of floaters converge on the river for a cool, relaxing drift downstream.
Your next stop along the Greenbelt is Municipal Park, home to The Idaho Fish and Game M-K Nature Center, almost five acres of a unique wildlife experience. (M-K stands for the Morrison-Knudsen Company, a construction and civil engineering company founded in 1912 by Harry Morrison and Hans Morris Knudsen. M-K played a vital role in developing our community. Some of their local projects included the New York Canal, Bogus Basin, Cascade Reservoir, Boise Memorial Bridge, and numerous roads, railroad lines, power and water projects. M-K designed and constructed major infrastructure worldwide and was involved in building Hoover Dam, San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline among others.) The M-K Center is not directly visible from the Greenbelt, but sits behind the Idaho Fish and Game office. The StreamWalk underwater viewing windows give visitors a fish-eye view of the world.
Julia Davis Park is the first of the "Ribbon of Jewels", a string of riverside parks named for prominent local women. The oldest, and maybe the shadiest, park in Boise, Julia Davis is home to a bandshell for summer concerts and hosts the long-running Art in the Park every June. While in the park, rent a paddle-boat and be sure to visit Zoo Boise, the only place to see lions, tigers and sloth bears, oh my!
Just across Capitol Boulevard is another jewel, Ann Morrison Park, named for the first wife of Harry Morrison of M-K fame. Most river rafters get out here, before the rapids further down. Newly installed fitness stations ensure that you’ll get your workout after that big picnic. The Park’s wide open spaces are the perfect setting for concerts, music festivals and the annual Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic
West of Ann Morrison is Kathryn Albertson Park, a 41-acre special use park located near downtown Boise. More a wildlife refuge than a traditional park, it offers benches for contemplation, wide, paved footpaths and gazebos that are often reserved for weddings. Dogs are not allowed in the park during nesting season, so as not to disturb the many varieties of birds that migrate through the park.
Last, but certainly not least, Esther Simplot Whitewater Park is named for philanthropist Esther Simplot, wife of the late J.R. Simplot. Our newest park comprises a 55-acre area encompassing 17 acres of ponds and 8.9 acres of riparian natural areas. Here you can stand-up paddle board, kayak in Class III rapids or swim in one of the many of the ponds.