Recreation & Nature
Find your oasis
Garden City has always been green thanks to its location along the beautiful Boise River. Here, you can fly fish in the middle of town, meander down a nature path, or test your skills on our famous surfing wave. Whether you’re looking for thrills or a little bit of peace, you’ll find it outside in Garden City.
BOISE WHITEWATER PARK
This gorgeous park celebrates the lifeblood of the Treasure Valley: the Boise River. It is bounded on one side by Garden City and by Boise on the other, and it has quickly become an essential for the region’s kayakers, river surfers, and stand-up paddleboarders. The centerpiece of the park for adventurers is a man-made wave that varies depending on the water level in the river. That makes just about every week a different experience with the waves.
Boise River Greenbelt
The Greenbelt is one of the Treasure Valley’s points of pride and is a favorite of walkers and cyclists alike. This 25-mile pathway is flat and an easy walk for everyone from children to the elderly. Cyclists will love the ability to speed toward Lucky Peak on a road bike or meander to a Hawks game on a cruiser. The Greenbelt is lined by sweeping cottonwoods, mesmerizing views, and unparalleled access to the Boise River. The Garden City stretch is one of the most admired in the whole system and teems with wildlife and scenic vistas.
It’s not out of the ordinary to see people in office attire casting in the middle of the river. And why should it be? The Boise River is so accessible in Garden City that it’s part of everyday life. This urban fishery boasts wild and stocked rainbow trout, native whitefish, and brown trout.
Floating the Boise is a time-honored tradition. The river opens for floating once summer turns hot (opening dates vary, but usually sometime in June) and is a favorite pastime for young and old, locals and visitors. It’s two hours of pure relaxation and summer fun. Bring your own raft or inner tube or rent from Boise Army Navy.
Garden City is Idaho’s first Bee City, U.S.A. — a natural fit for a place with a long history of agriculture and easy access to nature. This free, public pollinator habitat was designed to help educate people about the importance of these essential insects. It’s a lovely space, but it’s also important: You can attend lectures and demonstrations here and play a part in saving our native species.
This half-acre riverside park is one of Garden City’s newest green spaces. The Greenbelt runs through the area, and recent improvements include steps down to the river and a seating area for taking in the view. You’ll find parking nearby, as well.
ESTHER SIMPLOT PARK
Esther Simplot Park stretches over 55 acres is ideal for water lovers: 23 of those acres are devoted to ponds used for fishing and swimming. It’s also great for wildlife watchers, especially birders, who will enjoy its wetlands. Reserve your picnic or party spot at one of the two shelters or Friendship Island.
Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve
The Boise River offers outstanding habitat for many types of birds, including bald eagles, geese, ducks, and more — but the Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve is exceptional for its heron rookery. A number of herons watch over their nests here (the number of nests varies), and it’s an ideal place to take the kids or spend a quiet morning.
RIVER POINTE PARK
River Pointe Park is tucked in behind City Hall and provides easy access to the greenbelt path. It’s a quiet spot to enjoy a picnic lunch or a quick rest before exploring the nearby Pollinator Garden and the Garden City Library (the 2019 Idaho Library of the Year!).
This 8,000-foot stretch of unpaved pathway is a refuge from the bustle of the Greenbelt. It’s open only to pedestrians, which makes it an ideal place to enjoy the outdoors in peace. The Nature Path runs along the north bank of the Boise River, stretching from Strawberry Glenn Road to the West Bridge at the head of Eagle Island. Long Lake is located along the Nature Path and is a haven for wildlife (and wildlife watchers).
Put on your walking shoes or hop on a bike and head for the Boise River greenbelt path. Stretching for 26 miles from Lucky Peak Reservoir, the path winds through Boise, Garden City and Eagle and is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors when you visit. The Garden City section has exceptional views of the Boise River and is a natural habitat for dozens of birds and other wildlife species. And with restaurants and Garden City’s craft beverage locations both on the pathway or nearby, it’s easy to make a day of it on the greenbelt!
This park is the largest in Garden City and serves as a playground for the local Boys & Girls Club, nature enthusiasts, and recreationists. It’s located along the Greenbelt at the north end of 42nd Street and features playground equipment for the kids, a small picnic pavilion, restrooms, and tables and benches for relaxing and meals in the fresh air. Pick up a game at the basketball court (complete with bleachers) or take a stroll along the walking path.
This park is a favorite of local anglers thanks to its easily accessible, tree-lined pond — cast here for rainbow trout, bluegill, and largemouth bass. You’ll see plenty of waterfowl here, and don’t miss the wildlife viewing area! Riverside Park is just upstream from the nature path and a great place to get closer to nature in the middle of the city.
Mystic Cove Park
Why not stop at Mystic Cove next time you’re walking along the Greenbelt? It’s easily accessible and is adjacent to 48th Street. This park has playground equipment and benches for folks who want to take a break from strolling or cycling.