Boise is a city of pearls, in a manner of speaking, and the Boise River Greenbelt is one of the strands that ties those pearls together. Running along both the north-east and southwest sides of the peaceful Boise River, the Greenbelt can take a person from one side of town all the way through to the other. The Greenbelt is popular among locals as a scenic venue for an invigorating trip leisurely ride. Much of the way is marked by the verdant growth that lines the river, but there’s much more to the Greenbelt than what nature offers. Read further to learn about some of the sights you might encounter on your venture down Boise’s most popular pathway.
The main feature of Bernardine Quinn Riverside Park, Quinn’s Pond is a 22-acre pond open for swimming, boating, and fishing. The Pond is a peaceful, open environment where water-goers can gather on a sunny day. Bernardine Quinn Riverside Park is one of a series called the “Ribbon of Jewels,” a series of parks along the Boise River and the Greenbelt, named for prominent women from Boise history. Directly adjacent to this park is another “Jewel,” Esther Simplot Park, which is currently under development. Once finished, Simplot Park will feature even more pond space for swimmers, waders, and fishers, along with boardwalks, wetlands, and standard park amenities.
Idaho Fallen Firefighter Memorial and World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial
Established in 2008 to honor the fallen heroes of the Idaho fire departments, the Idaho Fallen Firefighter Memorial is a stirring tribute to the compassion and bravery of those who have lost their lives in the protection of the lives and property of others. The centerpiece of the memorial is a bronze statue of three men in firefighting gear, sculpted by a local artist. Behind the statue is a memorial wall on which are engraved the names of those firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Alongside the Fallen Firefighter Memorial is the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial. Featuring a 10-foot section of steel beam from the collapsed World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial was designed to pay homage specifically to the emergency responders who lost their lives in the heroic response to the terrorist attacks. The memorial was completed on the 13th anniversary of the attacks.
From the park that hosts these two memorials, visitors have a clear view of a fire training facility, and may be able to witness a training exercise.
Ann Morrison Park
Currently, the largest city park in Boise and the surrounding area, Ann Morrison Park is another of the “Ribbon of Jewels” that line the Boise River. Owing to its large size, 153 acres, Ann Morrison Park can comfortably accommodate a wide variety of opportunities for locals, including some of the most anticipated community events of the year. The park contains sports facilities, leisure paths, a disc golf course, opportunities for bird watchers and anglers, and an impressively large fountain as a masterful crown to its central plaza. This park is also a common stopping point for those who float the Boise River in the summer.
The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial
Constructed and dedicated in memory of Anne Frank’s steadfast faith in humanity, this Memorial offers visitors a glimpse into the plight of the Frank family and the others with them who hid from their Nazi persecutors during the Holocaust. Spread throughout the memorial are quotes from the diary of Anne Frank and others, expressing hope for humanity and the virtue of universal human rights. The central focus of the memorial is a statue of Anne Frank, poised as if looking out a window from the space where she, her family, and others hid for more than two years.
Julia Davis Park
The next “Jewel” on our “Ribbon” and Boise’s oldest Park, Julia Davis Park is a pile of jewels in its own right. Within the park, visitors find the most concentrated collection of cultural and historical sites in town. The park is home to the Boise Art Museum, the Discovery Center of Idaho, the Idaho State Historical Museum, the Idaho Black History Museum, the beautiful Rose Garden, Zoo Boise, the Gene Harris Bandshell, a larger-than-life statue of President Abraham Lincoln, and the Childhood Cancer Pavillion/Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza. In addition to all of these wonderful features, which visitors could spend days exploring in detail, Julia Davis Park also offers paddle boating in the duck pond, fishing, docent tours, and quick access to the nearby Boise Public Library, the Anne Frank Memorial, and Boise State University campus.
If you follow the Greenbelt all the way to its easternmost end, beyond Boise city limits, you will find yourself at Lucky Peak State Park, which is composed of three separate units. Two of these units can be accessed directly from the Greenbelt.
The Discovery Park unit is a riverside picnic area intended for personal or company gatherings. Fishing is available, and the corresponding portion of the Boise River is popular with kayakers and canoeists. Various birds including waterfowl, bald eagles, and an owl can be seen at different times depending on the season.
Sandy Point sits at the base of Lucky Peak Dam, which contains the Lucky Peak Reservoir, source of the Boise River. It features a decently sized swimming area, sandy beaches, beach volleyball courts, showers, changing areas, picnic amenities including charcoal grills, and a disc golf course. At the very end of the Greenbelt, Sandy Point is a fun place to take a relaxing dip after a scenic trip through Boise.