Boise Is An Adventure Mecca, But… 

You Should Follow These Eight Safety Tips Before Exploring One Of USA’s Best Cities For Recreation.

“Boise is a recreationalist's paradise. If you value the outdoors and time spent among rivers, mountains, canyons, deserts and lakes – and all the activities encapsulated therein – it's worth a serious look.” If you saw the above paragraph just sitting by itself on a piece of paper or on a website, you might think to yourself ‘that sentence was written by a Boise, Idaho, employee, or someone who was paid to write great things about Boise.’ If you thought that, you were wrong. Boise is, in fact, regarded as one of the best cities in the United States for people who want to explore the outdoors and want to get in and stay in excellent physical condition via walking, hiking, bicycling, jogging, and many other outdoor activities. It was the magazine U.S. News & World Report that labeled Boise a “recreationalist’s paradise” while listing Boise as the 12th best place to live in the nation. Another publication, Outside, lists Boise as one of the 16 best “adventure meccas” in the country. There are numerous reasons why Boise is regarded as one of the best places in the USA to explore the outdoors. Here are a few:

The Boise River Greenbelt

You can walk, jog, bicycle, and even skate on about 25 miles of trails along the Boise River. The Greenbelt extends from the Lucky Peak Dam on the east to the suburban town of Eagle on the west. The Greenbelt runs through downtown Boise and connects many of the city’s parks. About 60 points of interest along the route are listed on this website.

The Ridge to Rivers Trail System

The Ridge to Rivers trails aren’t paved like the Boise River Greenbelt trails are. That makes them more adventurous!! And there are more than 190 miles of trails to travel on. These trails are in the Boise Foothills. Many of them are steep, end at peaks a few thousand feet higher than Boise’s already high elevation (2,730 feet above sea level), and are challenging for hikers, mountain bikers, and hill climbers. There are also equestrian trails.

The Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area

This is a great recreational facility for families, including kids. Located about 16 miles northeast of Boise, the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area has about 2,600 acres of hills for alpine skiers and snowboarders as well as about 23 miles of trails for cross-country skiers. The highest slopes are more than 7,000 feet above sea level.

Do you want to enjoy Boise’s top-notch outdoors recreational areas? You should, but before you become too adventurous you should follow these eight safety tips so you can be as safe as possible.

1. Study The Options

Beginners shouldn’t seek to conquer difficult ski slopes or difficult trails. How do you know the degree of difficulty of your options? Study beforehand. In fact, there are innumerable sources of information for prospective Boise explorers. This article, for example, lists beginner trails and moderate trails in the Ridge to Rivers system. And this website has specifics about the steepness of the system’s trails.

2. Carry A Map

It’s easy to get lost while you’re hiking -- and easy to wind up on a trail that isn’t safe for your skill level. On its Ridge to Rivers webpage, the city of Boise reports that many stores in the city have a Ridge to Rivers map.

3. Carry A Cellphone

Yes, we understand that you want to get away from it all when you go into Explorer mode. And you can by turning your cellphone off. Nevertheless, you need to be prepared in case there’s an emergency. You need to be able to call 9-1-1 and you also should bring with you a list of people you want or need to phone in an emergency.

4. Take One Step At A Time

No, that’s not advice on how to walk. What we mean is that you shouldn’t go from a life of no exercise to a rigorous workout in one day. Exercising beyond your physical conditioning puts you at risk of injury or a medical emergency. In addition, people who have been experiencing health problems such as chest pains or shortness of breath should consult a doctor before vigorously exercising.

5. Eat Properly

Thinking that dieting and vigorously exercising will help you lose weight is the wrong approach to exercising on Boise’s trails. Exercising properly requires adequate calories, which are a measurement of energy. Those calories come from eating. There are plenty of calorie charts that tell you how many calories you need to exercise lightly, moderately, and vigorously for specific periods of time. A lack of calories could cause exhaustion, which could cause falls and other mistakes. Also: Bring snacks in case you need an energy boost during your exercise.

6. Bring Water

You should drink 16 to 32 ounces of water before your exercise begins, recommends Men’s Fitness magazine. A lack of water can make you dehydrated and, thus, increase your risk of heart problems. The magazine also recommends bringing water with you and drinking water regularly while you exercise, even if you’re not thirsty. A sports drink if you’re exercising for more than an hour could also be beneficial.

7. Dress Properly

The city of Boise points out that checking the weather report is important so you can dress properly. If very hot weather is projected, dressing light is crucial. That also means putting on sunscreen and wearing a hat. In addition, hikers should wear boots “with a strong tread to prevent ankle injuries and falls,” recommends the Cleveland Clinic.

8. Follow Safe Trails

The city of Boise urges people who use the Boise River Greenbelt to “stick to” trails that are well-lit and to avoid shortcuts through alleys, parking lots, and wooded areas. Similarly, the state of Idaho asks people who use the Ridge to Rivers trails system to not use trails that are closed. There are innumerable other steps you can take to improve your chances of having a safe experience while exploring Boise’s fantastic recreational opportunities -- and many sources of information on safety tips. Here are two sources of safety tips -- “16 Outdoor Fitness Safety Tips” by Men’s Fitness magazine and “9 Tips for Safe Outdoor Workouts” by the Cleveland Clinic. Hopefully, following these safety tips will help you explore and enjoy one of the USA’s premier adventure meccas -- Boise. Good luck!!

Family Science and Nature Outings in Boise

Are you looking for local trips for you and your kiddos to enjoy nature – while also helping them learn more about science, local wildlife, and the environment? Here are several ideas to consider for a day trip in the Boise area...or even repeated visits if it becomes one of your favorite places!

Visit the Botanical Garden

The Idaho Botanical Garden is an excellent option for younger children who may not be ready for a full trip out into the forest, but still want to learn more about plants and ecology. It’s also a great way to deviate from the usual city park outing. The plant collections, conservation efforts, and events at the Gardens are very detailed. And The 30-acre space is easy to navigate with smooth greens and plenty of rock paths leading through the gardens.

Check Out the Fossil Beds

There are several options for fossil beds, but one of the most popular is the Hagerman Fossil Beds, which includes hikes, drives, and a center for exploring how fossil beds work. This one is usually an easy winner, since kids love fossils and will learn about geology at the same time! Just remember that some of this exploration can get hot and demanding during the summer.

Pick a Hike in the Boise National Forest

For older kids and teens, there's nothing like a refreshing hike in the forest to check out some local beauty and explore what nature has to offer! There are 2.5 million acres here, and we encourage you to look into the trails and pick one with great views of the surrounding landscape. If you like hiking in the snow, parts of the park are also open in winter and make for great snowshoeing while reviewing how the landscape changes between seasons.

Explore Geology with Table Rock

Table Rock trails are available during the warmer months and offer unique access to some incredible geological views, while still being a classic Boise destination. The hikes here can be more challenging, but the views on a clear day are amazing. Plus, it's easy here to segue your kids into talks about geography, geology, and how Table Rock developed.

Choose a Body of Water

One of our favorites for families that want to spend a day out is the Arrowrock Reservoir, but there are plenty of nearby lakes and rivers to explore! If you want to focus on the nature part of the trip, try setting some specific challenges, like how many ospreys the kids can spot on the trip, or how many fish they see jumping.

Start a Geocaching Adventure

Geocaching refers to communities that hide surprises at very specific coordinates across the country for others to discover using GPS location systems and careful coordinate plotting. It's a great way to teach about geography and navigation at the same time. It's also a long-term hobby that's easy to do as a family!