(Craters of the Moon)
Living in Idaho is a real treat; there are many great adventures around every corner. Specifically when it comes to outdoor adventures. Idaho is chock-full of great outdoor hot spots that attract visitors from all over the world every year. Here is a short list of some of the great outdoor day trips that you can take from the Treasure Valley.
1) Bruneau Sand Dunes
The Bruneau Dunes State Park is a beautiful desert hotspot about an hour and a half from Boise. It is a series of three large sand dunes situated right next to an oasis like lake. The highest peak of the dunes is actually the tallest sand dune in North America, coming in at a whopping 470 feet. Visitors can enjoy playing in the sand, fishing in the lake, or checking out the stars at the nighttime observatory. Bruneau Dunes State Park also offers amazing campgrounds and picnic areas.
2) Lucky Peak
If you are looking for a place for fun boating, fishing, picnicking, and exploring, then you need to check out Lucky Peak State Park. Located just 20 minutes east of Boise, this state park reservoir is a favorite place for people looking to connect with the great outdoors and enjoy popular summer sports. Both the north and south sides of the reservoir are lined with docks, picnic tables, leisure trails, and more. The people of the Treasure Valley and beyond can come and easily enjoy a day on the water and beach at almost literally a moment’s notice.
3) Lake Lowell
Located on the other end of the valley—on the west side of Nampa—is a similarly popular water feature: Lake Lowell. Like Lucky Peak, Lake Lowell is a beloved destination for spring and summer outings of all kinds. Complete with campgrounds, Lake Lowell can even be a weekend getaway spot.
Resort towns are always very hipped up, but McCall Idaho is truly everything it is supposed to be. This small resort town is located just a two hour drive north of Boise next to the Payette Lake. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of novelty shops, elegant restaurants, and more. Some of the notable restaurants in the area include the famous pancake house and Asian cuisine restaurant on the shore of the lake.
Surrounding McCall there are also hundreds of campgrounds, swimming spots in both the lake and nearby rivers, trails, and ski resorts, making it one of the most beloved resort towns in Idaho.
5) Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon is a popular place for geology and outdoor lovers alike. Just barely on the other side of the state, the Craters of the Moon National Monument is a scenic field of lava rock that forms two massive circular craters. These craters look as though something large fell from the sky one day hundreds of years ago, digging these large holes into the earth. Whatever they were formed by, however, the craters are a popular place for people who like to see animals and dynamic scenery.
6) Table Rock
This hotspot is a little more close to home if you are living in the Treasure Valley. On the eastern edge of Boise is located the large sandstone outcropping that has lovingly been known as Table Rock. The outcropping is at the end of a three mile hike and overlooks the entire valley (with the ability to see into Oregon on clear days). If the hike up is not for you, and you still want to enjoy the beautiful view, there is also a paved road that takes you most of the way up the backside with a dirt road that takes you the rest of the way.
7) The Foothills
Surrounding Table Rock are the beautiful rolling Foothills. The Foothills are where the valley meets the Rocky Mountains. It is a series of bounding hills that stretch from the City of Star to the tallest mountains in the distance. They are filled with gorgeous animal life and flourishing vegetation; as well as trails that wind in and around the hills. Many people take day trips into the Foot Hills to enjoy these sights and trails.
8) Birds of Prey Preservation
Birds of Prey are fascinating, they are valuable and beautiful parts of the Idaho ecosystem and in Idaho we are lucky have a massive Birds of Prey natural preserve. Known formally as the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, this reserve stretches over 758 square miles of the Snake River Plain just outside of Boise. Managing the Birds of Prey conservation area is the World Center for Birds of Prey, home of the largest collection of California condors in captivity. Responsible for rehabilitation of injured birds and public outreach and education, the Birds of Prey Center has helped increase populations of endangered birds numerous times. It is an educational and fascinating day trip from the Treasure Valley.
9) Bogus Basin
Located only forty minutes up the mountain from Boise is the ski resort known as Bogus Basin. It is a ski resort that caters to every level of skiers and snowboarders, whether it be beginner or expert. The resort offers numerous runs with fully functioning chairlifts and tubing hills.
The lodge also offers warm fires, great food and places to enjoy the company of friends. If you are looking for an enjoyable day trip from Boise, there are plenty to choose from. Whether you want to play on the dunes or the slopes, or anything in between for that matter, there is an opportunity within only a few hours of the Treasure Valley. There are many more where these come from, though, Idaho is brimming with great outdoor hotspots—and getaways if you want to go a bit farther. So, enjoy your time in Idaho, whether it be for a day or you are here to stay.