Sagehen Reservoir and Creek are favorite destinations for a smorgasbord of travellers. Both a place of serene beauty and active fun, this near-Boise campground brings some of the best of Idaho’s treasures together in one location. As travellers head towards Sagehen down a calm, country road and up a short, meandering hill they are immersed in the full luscious trees and mountainside. The fresh scent of pine trees is ever-present, and no matter the season a vast green vista greets each visitor entering this section of the Boise National Forest. The road winds around the reservoir, near the dam and past many tent and recreational vehicle campsites. The clear water against the treeline comes into view and a sense of arriving fills the heart of each adventurer seeking to enjoy this destination.
Adventurers of all sorts are seen amongst the trees and shorelines of Sagehen reservoir. Late May and early June bring two particular varieties of sportsmen: Morel mushroom pickers and rainbow trout fans are seen lining the trails and streams. Early spring when the soils are moist and wet and the streams are at high flow, the trout are jumping and mushrooms are most abundant. June 15 is opening day for the upper creek, and avid fishermen are sure to be there. As the weather continues to warm, the fishing continues as do cycling and water activities. Late summer is the best time to find huckleberry pickers scouring the hill sides to gather this luscious and high-prized fruit, ideal for pies, jams, and just plain eating. Sagehen’s proximity to Boise allows both day trips and overnight stays to be spectacular and worthwhile in this natural haven.
The shoreline trail begins counter-clockwise along various campgrounds, picnic areas, fishing spots, and a popular rope swing. The mostly flat terrain allows for all levels of hikers to make their way around the first half of the reservoir. A waterfall cascades from the small dam down and under 2 bridges and the access road (along with picnic tables and a bathroom for a beautiful pit stop). After crossing the dam outlet, an even more peaceful and rather undisturbed section, without campsites or motorized access continues the 1 ½ mile journey to reach the far side of the reservoir. The trail becomes a bit more rugged, which results in many campers making an out and back trip. However, it is still quite passable for trekkers and bikers both, seeking a slightly more difficult terrain, concluding at 3 miles round trip back at the camp sites
Animals of all sizes enjoy a natural habitat that feeds the body and soul. Common rabbits and squirrels are often seen, along with colorful, eye-catching fowl found both lodged in the tops of the trees and grazing the water along the shoreline. Deer, frogs, elk, and swarms of butterflies are amidst the wildlife, both large and small that can seen up close in this natural utopia. There is no shortage of discoveries in plant and animal life. Each personal journey at Sagehen has the opportunity to bring a sense of awe at the diversity, beauty, and serenity that uplift, educate, and renew every visitor who blazes a new trail in this delightful piece of forest.
So many favorite memories happen along these shores. Driving to the top of a peak, cruising back down along the mountain bike trails, and travelling along the creek and waterfalls all take place a short jaunt away from the reservoir. The banks of the reservoir are covered with the laughter and smiles of all kinds of travellers chasing frogs, roasting marshmallows, fishing, blowing enormous bubbles across the lake, and star gazing. Fresh air, magnificent sunsets, boating, canoeing, swimming, and beautiful tree lines fill days and weeks at Sagehen. It is truly a destination to discover in the cool spring air, warm summer days, or pristine winter wonderland.