About this Itinerary
Idaho may be known for potatoes but it is also home to some of our country’s most scenic trails. The Boise River Greenbelt (BRG) is 46 miles of wildlife, nature’s beauty and outdoor activities. Located in the southwestern part of the state, BRG follows the Boise River from the city of Eagle, through downtown Boise, to Lucky Peak State Park. It connects residents and visitors with parks, beaches, business districts and historical sites.
Boise Airport (BOI) is located about 15 minutes from downtown Boise and is served by a number of major and regional airlines. Depending on where you stay, your hotel may have an airport shuttle. If you’d prefer to rent a car you have several options.
We recommend staying at the Riverside Hotel located along the Boise River in Garden City. The hotel is about two miles from downtown and a free airport shuttle is available. They also have an outdoor pool (only open during the summer), which is an ideal place to relax after being on the trail. The Sandbar Patio Bar & Grill is conveniently located next to the pool. You can also rent bikes on site and jump right on the trail.
BRG has something for everyone. You can bird watch, fish, bike, walk or float down the river. The best time to see wildlife is early in the morning and the Laguna Pointe section gives you access to a rookery, where dozens of blue herons and cormorants nest in the spring. In the winter, you can see bald eagles.
The trail is marked by the Distance & Orientation Trail System, commonly referred to as DOTS. DOTS lets trail users know where they are on the trail. The center of the trail is marked as “0” at the 8th Street pedestrian bridge on both sides of the Boise River; the markers are progressive in number and distance heading away from the center zero marker both upstream and downstream, which creates four color coded grids.
At the southernmost point of the trail, you’ll find an outdoor paradise at Lucky Peak State Park. Here you can bike, swim, canoe, kayak, sail, fish, rent a jet ski, skipper a ski boat or relax on a pontoon. The park has three main destinations: Sandy Shores Marina, Sandy Point Beach and Discovery Park. Sandy Point and Discovery Park are both a 10-minute drive from Boise and the Spring Shores Marina is a 40-minute drive. Watercraft rentals are available at the marina and at Outdoor Adventures, which is also at Sandy Shores. You can bike to all three destinations on the BRG.
If you have an extra day to spend in the area, there are many exciting attractions to explore. Floating on the Boise River during the summer is peaceful and fun! Rent a tube or raft at Boise River Raft & Tube in Barber Park. To float, you need to be at least 50 pounds and know how to swim; there are three “floater” rest stops along the way. The float is six miles downstream and takes about an hour and a half. There is a shuttle to bring you back to the park; the cost is $3 per person. Equipment rental and shuttle hours vary based on days.
For additional outdoor adventure, head to Table Rock, a 3,652-foot peak full of mountain bike loops, family trails and more strenuous hiking trails with fabulous views of Boise and Treasure Valley. You need to bring water and stay on the trails to avoid poison ivy and allow the wildlife to remain safely in their habitat.
For a bit of history, head to the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise. The capitol, which was renovated in 2010, is less than two-and-a-half miles from the Boise River. You can take a self-guided tour any time or make a reservation for a guided tour at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance by emailing Capitol Tours or calling 208-332-1012; you must have at least five people in your group for a guided tour.
After touring the capitol, stop by Goody’s Soda Fountain & Candy Store. Located about one mile from the capitol in the Hyde Park neighborhood, they make all their own ice cream, caramel corn and more. They are best known for their lemon ice cream, which will make your mouth water with delight.