Boise's Namesake Waterway

Boise's Namesake WaterwayIt’s that time of year again. The weather is warming and the seasons are about to turn from spring to summer. This is a recipe for beautiful sunshine, which makes for a great day at the water. The choices in and near Boise are endless. Lakes, reservoirs, streams, and rivers are remarkably abundant in this southwestern Idaho desert and bring a refreshing splash to the weather. There is no limit to the favorites of native and newer Boiseans. The Boise river features access to many of these “hot” water spots and allows for fun all year round.

When French trappers were traveling across the western territories of the United States, “Les Bois, Les Bois” was reportedly shouted as the trees lining the later named-Boise River came into view.  The river itself begins in 3 different spots draining from the Sawtooth mountain range. Fishing, floating, white-water rafting, and exquisite vistas are abundant along the course of each of these three river forks. The scenic roads juxtaposed alongside most sections of the river allow easy access for all types of activities for any aged visitor. A different atmosphere engulfs each fork of the river as it travels through a different area of majestic Idaho.

The North Fork, of course, follows the northernmost course near RedFish lake, meandering and winding along the Boise National Forest. The Middle Fork mirrors its path, yet travels further south through Elmore county stretching near several towns and eventually conjoining with the North at Idaho City. It resembles the North Fork in length, 50 and 52 miles in length. The South Fork doubles that length and is 101 miles by itself. The South Fork’s much larger and longer path winds further south traveling via Anderson Ranch Reservoir, and then northbound to join the other two forks converging at last in Arrowrock Reservoir, one of the top ten largest capacity reservoirs in Idaho. The river continues its flow down into the slightly larger Lucky Peak Reservoir. Any of these three reservoirs are favorites for boating, swimming, and picnicking on the shores. The capacity of these reservoirs allows for many visitors to visit and explore the wide-open beautiful water spaces and their surrounding habitats. 

The river then dumps into Sandy Point, a motor-free swimming hole with fountains, barbeque pits, a rest area, and plenty to view and to do. This is about the point the true Boise greenbelt begins traveling about 15 miles worth of river (though the greenbelt trail is technically over 40 miles with its offshoots and parallel paths). Whether for the all-abilities all activities greenbelt, floatable/fishable waters, or picturesque bridges near historic parks, the Boise River is a well-loved, well-traveled staple in the Boise area. A favorite for this time of the year of so many native Boiseans is floating the Boise River in rafts and tubes from Barber Park to Ann Morrison. Fingers and toes trailing the cool, refreshing water feels like paradise while floating through this natural haven from upstream through downtown Boise. 

The river itself continues floating through downtown Eagle, Star, Middleton, and beyond. This fun-filled river extends from the beautiful Sawtooth Mountain Range to North America’s largest Pacific Ocean feeder, the Snake River. The Boise river has no limit to the beauty, fun, and enjoyment it provides to the entire southwestern Idaho region.

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