Hello friends! Look at this lovely sunny (sometimes cloudy) day! I know, the snow yesterday was kinda ew.. but I have to say the collision of seasons has the foothills looking extra stunning.
I've been working on some really cool stories for y'all that I'm excited to share, but with a forecast full of sun (81º on Sunday!) I thought you might enjoy some Boise spring activities. Here's my go-to spring fun list:
Take a wildflower walk
Idaho is very much a wildflower state & spring in Boise is the perfect time to see them. Through the summer, the weather gets too hot for many wildflowers, making spring prime time for wildflower walks. However the higher you go, the more flowers there are, so in late summer head up to Bogus or Stack Rock, or even higher toward McCall and Stanley.
A few great places for a spring wildflower walk:
- Watchman Trail
- Corrals (there’s a ton of lupine up there)
- Hulls Gulch (don't forget even days of the month are pedestrian only; odd days are downhill only)
- 3 Bears Trail
- Central Ridge Trail
- Cottonwood Creek Trail
- Polecat Reserve (the backside gets real muddy with rain/snow, also this is a directional trial now)
- Hillside to Hollow (lots of balsamroot here)
- Check out Boise Front's list of Wildflower Walks
And while you are out, keep an eye out for:
- Arrowleaf Balsamroot - These look like baby sunflowers and they are indeed part of the sunflower fam. They grow in clusters and have super long taproots, some growing up to 8 feet long! They also take quite awhile to mature – the flowers you see are already 5-7 years old. Arrowleaf Balsamroot is a medicinal plant and is also a very important food for deer, elk, and sheep.
- Lupine - One of Idaho's quintessential wildflowers, Lupine is part of the pea family (Fabaceae). They grow upright on a ~1-foot stem sprouting little pea-shaped blue and purple flowers. In the foothills you can sometimes find white and pink lupine. There are nearly 200 different species of Lupine, but the one you will see most commonly around Boise is the Silver Lupine. These delicate little flowers can't withstand hot temps, so go see em while they are around.
- Aase's Onion - This is a rare plant that grows only in the Boise Foothills and the hills around Emmett, Payette, and Weiser. Yep, you can't find these little guys anywhere else in the world. Aase's onion sprouts pink blooms in March, April (and maybe May this year with the weather) and then become dormant. You *technically* can eat these, but because of their rarity we are not allowed to harvest Aase's onion.
- Biscuitroot - A member of the carrot and parsley family, biscuitroot is known as "desert parsley" and even smells like the common herb. There are five different species of biscuitroot in the foothills, most with little yellow flowers, and are usually found near clay soil.
- Sagebrush Buttercup - another little yellow flower, these are not as tall as the others listed. Sagebrush buttercup blooms as early as February and have five-petal, bright yellow blooms.
- Syringa - Idaho's state flower! I've never seen this in the foothills (have you??) but it grows in higher elevations near Idaho City, McCall, and Anderson Ranch areas. Syringa grows as a shrub with little white flowers that small like orange blossom on straight, sturdy stems.
Go chasing waterfalls
While we don't have any waterfalls directly in Boise, there are several in the areas surround the valley, including multiple in Twin Falls.
- Jump Creek - A 60-foot waterfall located about an hour from Boise, Jump Creek is a year-round falls accessed by a short half-mile hike. The hiek is day-use only and it's safe to bring dogs along. Keep an eye out for poison ivy along the trail!
- Shoshone Falls - Named "the Niagara of the West", Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls is one of the largest natural falls in the country. At 212-feet tall and 900-feet wide, it's taller than the real Niagara Falls! Spring is when the falls are at their biggest.
- Thousand Springs State Park - A testament to the Magic Valley's namesake, there are multiple waterfall & river sights to see around here. Check out Box Canyon Springs, Niagara Springs, Crystal Springs & Lake, and Malad Gorge.
- Perrine Coulee Falls - Another one in Twin Falls, Perrine Coulee Falls is a 200-foot year-round waterfall. You can see the falls from the canyon rim, or hike down and walk behind the falls.
- Pillar Falls - Another Twin Falls gem, Pillar Falls is a series of cascading falls with big Rhyolite pillars set in the middle of the Snake River Canyon. To reach the water, it's a steep 1ish mile hike or you can kayak to the falls from Centennial Waterfront Park. Be mindful of water levels in the spring!
Get your bike tuned up
Do it before the weather is nice and you wanna ride your bike everywhere. Some places to go for a tune (most of these places also sell bikes if you are in the market):
- Bikes & Beans is cute lil coffee shop and bike repair shop under one roof on the Boise Bench. The bike shop is open everyday & they offer pick up/drop off service.
- McU Sports has everything from simple check ups for $35 to basic tunes for $75 to complete overhauls for $300.
- Idaho Mountain Touring offers bike service at its downtown Boise shop and Meridian shop, or home pick up & delivery for a $35 fee. Basic tunes start at $90.
- George's Cycles does tune ups at the downtown Boise shop and State Street shop. They start at $90.
- Boise Bicycle Project is where to go if you want to learn to fix your own bike. You can make a DIY appointment and get two hours in the shop with the help of a BBP mechanic. You can also become a member and go to weekly classes to learn literally everything you possibly can about bikes.
- Meridian Cycles does simple tune ups for $45 to complete overhauls for $200 and everything in between.
- Cafferty's Cyclery in Nampa has tune ups starting at $55.
- Mobile Bike has curbside bike repair throughout the valley. Basic service for $70, or if you do a Group Tune you save $10/bike on 3 or more.
- Dirt Dart Mobile Bike Service is located in Meridian but serves the whole valley. He will come right to you. You can make an appointment for your home, neighborhood, or office! He offers everything from flat repair for $20 to complete tune ups for $130.
See some big birds
About an hour south of Boise, along the Snake River Canyon, there is an incredible display of nature that takes place each spring. Nearly 800 pairs of raptors nest along the canyon walls, in the area known as the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.
It's the greatest concentration of nesting birds of prey in the North America and perhaps the whole world!
Hundreds of hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons make nests along the 700-foot high cliffs in early spring. Around May and June, you can see the offspring of these beautiful birds taking their first flights.
Get out there and enjoy the spring weather! Rain or shine, friends.
Go to a museum
Variable weather = museum weather. We have some really great museums here in the Treasure Valley. A few to visit:
- Idaho State Museum has soo much cool stuff. Lots to learn about Idaho in there. And they have a cool fire photography exhibit up right now. Open everyday.
- Boise Art Museum has a cool Contemporary Cuban Art exhibit up right now. It's open Tues-Sun.
- James Castle House is in Boise's Collister neighborhood. I wrote a story about James Castle and house, it's one of my all-time faves. It's open for tours Thurs-Sat.
- The Basque Museum & Cultural Center is totally worth a stop. Plus you can go eat some yummy Basque food after and make a whole Basque day of it. The museum is open Tues-Sat, plus they have some after hours special events.
- Idaho Museum of Mining & Geology is one of my faves because I love rocks. It's open on Saturdays only and it's free. They have a bunch of rock collections and exhibits to learn the history of mining in Idaho. They just put up a new exhibit about Chinese Mining and History in Idaho.
- The Old Idaho Pen is a must see in so many ways. Seriously, if you have never been you need to. It's really cool. Open everyday.
- Idaho Black History Museum is small but important. They have a current exhibit up exploring how Idaho was one of the first states to afford Black people opportunities like education, jobs, and land ownership. It's open Monday, Wednesday, Saturday to the public.
- Warhawk Air Museum is amazinggg. If you like planes or learning about war history, this is the place for you. It's filled with memorabilia from WWI, WWII, Iraq War, Persian Gulf War, Vietnam War, Korean War, and Cold War. There is allll kinds of things from gear to uniforms to mementos to love letters, all of which was donated by veterans and their families! It's really special. Also the museum has several replica war planes, some of which have been used to war movies! It's a super interesting place. Open Tues-Sun.
Ok that's my springtime fun list for ya. Have a good time out there, y'all! Rain or snow or shine :)
Thanks for reading!
With love from Boise,
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