Lakeside camping in Boise

Take a trip to a high desert oasis where culture combines with mountains and trails.

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99% (56 reviews)

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Lakeside camping in Boise guide

Overview

The capital city of Idaho doesn’t disappoint for outdoor enthusiasts. Boise is a metropolis in western Idaho that has a significant population living alongside great parks and mountain surroundings. The Boise River provides a recreation corridor through town and serves as a common sight for city trails, pathways, and open spaces. The general region surrounding Boise has a diverse set of ecosystems with high desert landscapes and steep, forested mountains—here visitors can find excellent camping opportunities in the Boise National Forest, plus easy access to trailheads for hiking, mountain biking, and hot springs. The mild weather and amenities in Boise make this a top-notch year-round destination.

Where to go

Downtown RiverWalk

You don’t have to leave the city to enjoy the natural beauty of western Idaho. The Boise River Greenbelt has 25 miles of paths on both sides of the river. Locals and visitors enjoy walking and biking along the river and it also connects many neighborhoods through the city. It’s also popular among anglers who use the great access to chase trout in the urban river environment. Take a stroll along the river, stopping to watch the birds and enjoy the many parks along the corridor.

South Fork of the Boise River

If you want to get outside the urban area, head for the South Fork of the Boise River for recreation. Located below Anderson Dam, the river is popular for angling, rafting and hiking. Anglers visit for the wild rainbow trout, whitefish and the occasional bull trout. During spring runoff, the flows are high enough to go rafting through the canyon. Hiking and just driving the dirt roads around the river also make it easy to get outside with only a short drive from the city. There are some great camping spots in the area as well.

Local Trails

Boise is blessed with scenic foothills that host a wide range of trails. The trail systems are interconnected with many joining neighborhoods in the city. Visitors can connect to hiking and mountain biking trails from the city, making for a very convenient entry into the mountains. Horseback riding trails are also available in the foothills. The Table Rock Trails are some of the favorites for big views and challenging terrain. The Hawkins Range Reserve is another area with some nice trails to explore on foot or bike.

Idaho Botanical Gardens

Located on the edge of Boise, the gardens are the perfect stop while visiting the city. Visitors can do self-guided tours or sign up for a guided tour to explore the history of the gardens and the major highlights. A full 15-acres of different gardens with pathways and different displays make it easy to spend a full day or two enjoying the grounds. Each plant collection even comes with records for the life of each plant. It presents an opportunity to learn and interact with the various collections while also enjoying the aesthetic value.

When to go

Boise is geographically located in a mild climate zone. Winters can vary in terms of temperature and snowfall. Some years, the entire winter is mild with some cold weather but little snow in the valley and foothills. In other years, it can accumulate quickly with several feet of snow. Overall, the area is generally sunny however and there is never a bad time to visit Boise. Spring, summer and fall are wonderfall for hiking, biking and fishing and winter really depends on the storms delivered throughout the season. If snow does accumulate, those same trail systems become popular for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

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