The Vast, Gorgeous Boise National Forest
With nothing but the gentle crunch of leaves and sticks beneath your feet, and the towering overlay of Douglas-fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Lodge-pole Pine trees above you – the Boise National Forest easily reminds why you escape to this raw, forested beauty every year; or at least why you should. The natural landscape of the forest covers roughly 2,654,000 acres just north of Boise, Idaho – and is the playground of some of Idaho's famous outstanding recreation opportunities, all while being Boise's forested backyard. Folks from Idaho's capital city and the surrounding area disappear into the forest each season to pitch a tent, fly down the runs at Bogus Basin, hunt big game, throw a line in, or cruise along one of the many scenic routes to find even more excitement in one of the forest's neighbors – including the Sawtooth National Forest.
Escape urban life and experience these sage covered hills, formidable mountains, and glistening bodies of water in any number of ways:
Before the season ends, the Boise National Forest is the place to go in Idaho if you're looking for a great location to pitch your tent – or even rent a cabin. The camping options are numerous, and cater to all kinds of campers, whether you're into roughing it in the deep recesses of the forest or prefer amenities for complete comfort within sight of your tent. Cabins, established campgrounds, or dispersed camping is all within the forest's borders.
There are 70 campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the forest, and some are more developed than others – including nearby paved roads, pressurized water systems, and well-kept restrooms. You'll also find campgrounds near dirt roads with hand pumped water, or no water – all depending on what kind of fee you're willing to pay. There are five ranger districts, each with plenty of campgrounds, stretching from Cascade to Emmett to Mountain Home. You'll find that Idaho camping is bountiful and with some of the most gorgeous backdrops you could ask for. So pack up and hit the dirt – or enjoy a view from your cabin window that will leave you breathless.
Day use in the Boise National Forest is everywhere – and could be the next site for a reunion or just an afternoon of scenic picnicking. There are a lot of day use areas complete with tables and fire rings to cater to a brightly colored feast. But of course, day use isn't limited to picnicking. One of the area favorites is the hot springs, and one of the most popular destinations to catch a seriously good soak is at he Kirkham Hot Springs. Just off of highway 21 near the official Boise National Forest campground of the same name, you'll find shallow rock pools with sand and rock bottoms adjacent to the river. Kirkham also features informational signs that help explain the hot springs and the area's history – so as you wind your way on the trail through the seeps and sources that provide the pools with fresh mineral water, you'll learn a little something. But be warned, this place is so awesome that it's always a full house. You can also check out Bear Valley hot springs and Pine Flats.
Bicycling, hunting, scenic driving, and winter sports also play significant roles in the exciting diversity of activities found within the forest that you can fit into a day or string out into several.
The Boise National Forest holds on to roughly 1,300 miles of maintained summer trails. Depending on which trail you head on, some are friendly to bicycles, motorcycles, and ATV's – even horses--for an afternoon of horseback riding. While you're hiking, throw in some good old nature viewing – a constant throughout the forest. There's a large spectrum of elevation in the area, topping out at 10,000 feet at the summit of Steel Mountain, and an exciting range of land forms and climate that all contribute to a healthy variety of nearly 300 terrestrial species of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish. Who knows what you'll spot along your next hike.
Play in the Water
While we're exploring the thousands and thousands of acres that make up the Boise National Forest, running into some fresh, rolling water is inevitable. With over 7,600 miles of streams and rivers that create the headwaters of the Boise and Payette rivers and an impressive 250 lakes and reservoirs, playing in the water while in this forest is a must. And while you're out cruising the surge of world class whitewater, kayaking, or reeling in dinner – you might find yourself in awe of the sheer volume and beauty of water that runs through these wild lands. The water found in the Boise National Forest was one of the prime reasons it was established, and the people of Boise and the surrounding communities rely on it for life. 1.6 million acres of water rush through the forest, not only providing folks with all kinds of recreation, but the vast majority of the irrigation water in the Boise Valley.
Anglers love to play in the water as much as rafters and kayakers. The forest plays a fine host to all kinds of river and stream fishing. Trout are a native fish to these waters, and you'll find them throughout the majority of the rivers, streams and lakes – including the North, Middle and South Forks of the Payette River and the North, Middle and South Forks of the Boise. The forest is inundated with several river and stream fishing areas.
The Payette River runs through the heart of the forest, and is considered one of the best rivers for a whitewater rafting trip. The entire area has a fine selection of thrilling whitewater adventures, making it easy to choose between milder trips on up to class III-IV rapids along the South Fork of the Payette.
The Boise National Forest is one of the most convenient getaways when it comes to leaving the city without going too far. It's a gorgeous wild place that's been helping folks find solitude, enjoy Idaho's great outdoors, and of course – make unforgettable memories. If you've been or if you haven't been, don't delay a visit – an adrenaline adventure or peaceful hike awaits you.
Contact Hughes Real Estate Group anytime at (208) 571-7145 to discuss more about great Idaho living.