Things to Do in Boise: Day Trips


Idaho City

Idaho City is one fampous mining camp that has refused to die and instead has prospered into the thriving community that it is today. During its early years it was knows Bannock City or West Bannock to differentiate between Bannock, Montana, since at that time both towns were in Idaho Territory. In 1863, Idaho City had a propulation of six thousand and was being seriously considered for the territorial capital. It lost out, however, and in 1864 the territorial capital was moved to Boise City from Lewiston. With the printing of The Boise News in 1863, Idaho City could at least boast it had a newspaper a year earlier than Boise. The Boise News was later changed to The Idaho World.

The immediate area around Idaho City has been extensively placer mined and dredge tailings for miles along Mores Creek. Even the buildings in town were raised up on piulings so the ground underneath could be mined.

Location: North of Boise off Hwy 21,  about 40 minutes

Idaho City


Silver City

Silver City, Idaho is one of the few old mining towns that did not burn down or become commercialized into a modern city. Visiting Silver City is like going back into history. The Idaho Hotel is as it was 100 years ago with a few modern amenities. Sinker Creek Outfitters will provide you with a historic ride back into history on horse back exploring the Owyhee Mountains, Silver City, Empire City, Ruby City and more.

Location: South towards Melba, cross Snake River, headed to Grand View and south again into the Owyee Mountains. About a 2 hour drive.

Silver City Idaho


Bruneau Sand Dunes

The tallest sand dune rises 470 feet above small lakes in the high desert south of Mountain Home. The state park includes desert, dune, prairie, lake and marsh habitat with opportunities to observe nocturnal species. Activities include fishing, birdwatching, camping, hiking, swimming and viewing the stars at one of only two public observatories in Idaho. Feel free to climb but no vehicles are allowed off-road or on the dunes. A visitor center offers information on birds of prey, insects, fossils, wildlife and the sand dunes. A variety of gift items are available for purchase, and we also rent sand boards. Two cabins are available for rent, and there are 82 serviced campsites with W/E and 31 standard sites. The Equestrian Area provides facilities for visitors to camp with their horses and there is a 9-mile riding trail around the park.

Bruneau Sand Dunes


Garden Valley

A great resort town just 45 minutes from Boise. Enjoy golf, horseback riding, ATV trails and much more. In the summer watch a great play at Starlight Mountain Theater or any any of the local hot springs. Stay the weekend, there are many vacation homes to rent. Travel to mountains peaking at 7,000 ft!  But the day is not over- whitewater rafting or kayacking is also available.

Garden Valley Idaho


Thousand Springs/ Hagerman Area

Most of the history at this park is geologic in nature. The cracks and folds of rock along the canyon cliffs record the movements of earth, lava and water. Early Native Americans piled rocks along the rim to capture bison and other game animals. During the 19th century, the historic Kelton Trail brought pioneers over this portion of the Oregon Trail.


Top 14 videos of 2014: Your #9 video is an aerial showcase of an Idaho waterfall that is exactly 46 feet taller than Niagara Falls. From Aerial America: Idaho:

Swan Falls Dam

Swan Falls Dam is on the Snake River about 20 miles south of Kuna, through the Birds of Prey area. Built in 1901 to provide electricity to nearby mines, it is the oldest hydroelectric generating site on the Snake River. Idaho Power built a new power plant in the mid-1990s. The old plant is decommissioned and is now a historical display.

The museum is open on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The adjacent park is day-use only, but there are multiple free camping areas above and below the dam. In 2014, Idaho Power completed a major renovation of the park and the camping areas. The boat ramps above and below the dam have been upgraded. Improvements have been made to campsites and roads. All campsites have fire rings and level parking areas. Some sites also have picnic tables. New vault toilets were installed, and additional trash facilities have been put in place. All camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors are asked to camp in designated areas only, due to the fragile nature of the soil and plant life in the area.

Swan Falls Dam

Arrorock Resevoir

Arrowrock Reservoir is formed by Arrowrock Dam. The Reservoir is managed by the Boise National Forest, (Boise National Forest map). This 18 mile narrow canyon reservoir of 3,150-acres has limited access to 60 miles of shoreline. Boating, canoeing, windsurfing, and fishing are the major recreation activities at Arrowrock, located east of Boise. The reservoir is only 30 minutes from Boise and provides access to the city's nearest national forest. Fish species include rainbow trout, kokanee, yellow perch, whitefish, and the protected bull trout. Season open year-round. Reservoir acre feet and total reservoir capacity and cubic feet/second release rates for rivers below Boise & Payette River Basins reservoirs and select river locations are updated daily and graphically provided. Site offers: vault toilets, boat ramps and dock, parking, and dispersed camping.

Directions: From Boise, north on Hwy 21. Turn east after crossing bridge to Lucky Peak and Spring Shores Marina. Drive on to Arrowrock Dam & you are there!

Arrowrock Resevoir

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