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Stretching from the Boise River to the Boise Ridge, the Ridge to Rivers Trail System offers hikers and mountain-bikers 75,000 acres of trails. Through the cooperative efforts of several government agencies, private landowners and other organizations, the trail system was created to preserve Boise's foothills. The old roads and trails allow for outdoor exploration conveniently from downtown Boise. Maps are available from the Boise Parks and Recreation, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Boise outdoor stores. Some of the easier trails to hike include #27 Cottonwood Creek, #28 Crestline Trail and #31 Corrals Trail.
Offering a view of the Boise River's underwater world, this unique and interesting center allows visitors to see what happens under the rippling surface of a river. Hands-on computers help visitors understand and learn about the complex world of a living river. This learning center is a must for both tourists and residents, especially if you are a science buff. You will leave the center with a new appreciation for science and river habitats. Student tours are also available.
Sitting next to the Boise River and its old, gnarly trees, this popular park offers year-round access. Picnicking is what the Municipal Park does best and is often listed in the local media as the best place for birthday parties. Providing 10 picnic areas, including a large shelter with electricity, the park has a constant party atmosphere. Spandex-clad cyclists and inline skaters cruise by on the Boise River Greenbelt while groups cook food on the grill. Located adjacent to the Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center, the park offers a full day of activities. Dogs are not allowed.
Established in 1984 on the vacant land of the Old Idaho State Penitentiary, Idaho Botanical Garden is set on the Boise Foothills' base. It was founded initially as a tree nursery but soon became a non-profit botanical paradise. Spread across 50 acres (20.23 hectares), it includes 14 themed gardens and features more than 800 species of indigenous and non-native plants. It is the oldest of its kind in the state and a must visit if you love gardens. Stroll through their various sections like the Water Conservation Landscape, Children’s Adventure Garden, Summer Succulent Garden, Outlaw Field and Labyrinth, Jane Falk Oppenheimer Heirloom Rose Garden and Muriel and Diana Kirk English Garden. Enchanting and informative, the Idaho Botanical Garden is a great spot for a family outing or even with your special someone for a romantic date.