The Best Outdoor Recreational Activities in Boise Idaho

If you enjoy spending time outside, Boise offers a long list of fun recreation opportunities. The climate is certainly favorable, with 234 days of sun on average each year. The Boise River passes right through the middle of town, providing convenient access for floating and paddling. Parks large and small line the river, where you can play or relax with water views. There are many spaces for hiking and biking, including parks and recreation trails.

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    The Boise River

    Boise Autumn Skyline
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    The Boise River runs north and west, right through the middle of Boise on the way to the Snake River, near the point where the Snake begins to form part of the Idaho-Oregon border. Not only does it bless the city with wonderful views, it is also a popular playground for residents and visitors.

    Floating on the Boise River

    Whether in a raft or a tube, floating down the Boise River is a popular summer activity. Most floaters put in at Barber Park and take out at Ann Morrison Park, a trip of well over five miles. Rentals and shuttle service are provided by ​​Epley's River Rafting Adventures, a local outfitter.

    Paddling on the Boise River

    Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) are also fun ways to spend time on the Boise River. Gear rental and lessons are available at local companies, several located near major city parks. Fans of whitewater kayaking can enjoy the man-made waves at ​Boise River Park, a Boise city park, where it's fun to surf, or just to watch.

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    Parks in Boise

    Pond at Julia Davis Park in Boise
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    Boise is blessed with many lovely parks, which help give the city its nature-friendly character. There are several large riverfront parks, such as Julia Davis Park and Ann Morrison Park, that are home to acres of gorgeous trees along with all their other amenities. Local Idaho State Park provide great places to spend time playing outdoors, both on land and in the water.

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    Recreation Trails in Boise

    Dirt footpath covered in leaves in Boise
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    The Boise metro area has a wealth of designated recreation trails suitable for walking, jogging, biking, and other recreation. Here are some recommendations:

    Boise River Greenbelt

    The "Greenbelt" is the series of parks and public spaces along the Boise River. Twenty-five miles of paved trail runs through this space, providing an improved riverfront trail for walking, biking, jogging, and wildlife watching.

    Ridge to Rivers

    A series of recreation trails run up and down the ridge of foothills between the Boise River and the range of snow-capped mountains. Some connect the river to the ridge peaks, others circle or pass through the southern slopes. These trails are suitable for walking and mountain biking, with some being open to horse riding, OHVs, and motorcycles.

    Morrison Knudsen Nature Center

    See and learn about native wildlife and plants while you stroll the network of paths through this 4.6-acre nature preserve. Be sure to allow some time to spend at the underwater fish viewing...MORE windows. The MK Nature Center has a visitor center, gift shop, and education programs.

    Camel's Back Park Trail

    This Boise City Park has a popular trail that includes wonderful views of the city and the surrounding territory.

    Oregon Trails Reserve Walking Trails

    This historic reserve's walking trails can be looped and combined to create walking workouts of various lengths. Along the way, you can enjoy Boise Front views and interpretive signs.

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    Idaho Botanical Garden
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    Covering 50 acres, the grounds of this botanical garden originally served as the farm and nursery for the Idaho State Penitentiary. Today the Idaho Botanical Garden offers a series of specialty gardens, including a contemporary English Garden, a Meditation Garden, a Children's Garden, and an Heirloom Rose Garden. Other special interest gardens include the Carnivorous Plant Garden and the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden. The Idaho Botanical Garden is also the venue for several of Boise's annual events, including a summer concert series and Winter Garden aGlow.

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  • 05 of 06

    Golf Courses in Boise

    Woman golfer action to win after long putting golf ball on the green golf
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    Golf in and around Boise comes with gorgeous river and mountain views. Here are some of Boise's top public golf courses.

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    Located in Meridian, this huge water park offers a whole range of wet and watery fun for the whole family. Thrill seekers will enjoy the rush of the steep Cliff Hanger slide or the swirling Viper's Vortex. Little ones can splash and frolic at Little Splash Mountain. There are numerous water slides and float rivers, as well as a wave pool, private cabanas, and snack bars.