Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. But we also love exploring new places and finding new places to run, stay, eat, and experience. Matt wrote about his runcation planning and things to do in Boise, but read on for a recap of his Road Trip experience.
Here’s a little snippet from our initial planning post:
Growing up in Salt Lake City, and going to school in Oregon, I have been through Boise quite a bit. But I have never actually stayed in town a bunch as it was mostly just a place to stretch my legs before hitting the road again. I have been to a single Boise State vs. OSU football game, and have been able to check off a few breweries in the Eagle area when I found myself in Ontario, but besides that, Boise is still an enigma to me. We can’t wait to explore downtown and beyond!
In reaching out to Idaho Tourism for some suggestions as to the best places to run, we were put in contact with a great resource – Ridge to Rivers. Ridge to Rivers employs one of the few full-time trail crews in the country, and with over 190 miles of trails, its awesome they are doing this. They have an interactive map dedicated to the trails in the area – including what is open and what isn’t, as well as daily (yes, daily!) trail reports to make hiking and trail run planning as easy as they come
We lucked out with some pretty dry (yet chilly) days – knowing that we have to be careful as snowy/muddy conditions as we want to avoid damaging and/or widening the trails. Responsible recreation is on all of us as it applies to trail running. You can check the status of the trails at the link above, but its on each of us to avoid muddy trails and seemingly “duh-worthy” items like not leaving trash that we really need to make sure we respect the land.
Here are some great options for running!
Boise River Greenbelt
I kept my first run excursion simple – paved, flat, and dependable. And the Boise River Greenbelt was all that. Heading south of our hotel landed us on the trail in about a quarter mile. From there, there were miles of trails to explore on both sides of the river and plenty of bridges along the way to make your run as long or short as you have time for. It’s a super simple and great option for pavement seekers!
Boise Military Reserve trails
Obviously, we needed to hit the Boise foothills and the Military Reserve area seemed like a great start. It is just over a mile from our hotel, so it’s easily accessible by foot right from the lobby and proved to be a nice warm up and cool down. We were pretty blown away by these trails. Whether it was the amazing (yet chilly) weather blue skies in the morning or the trails themselves – it was truly an epic experience. There was a surprising amount of trails to explore in this area as well. We put in an 8 mile route that went from mild to challenging as we progressed up the hills, but there were options to get even more vert OR cut things off shorter and explore in the more intermediate terrain.
Boise Hulls Gulch Reserve
After our experience in the foothills, we elected to make our last run of the trip on the trails yet again – this time in the famed Hulls Gulch Reserve. As population has grown in Boise there have been some parameters put on a few of the trails – specifically the Hulls Gulch trails. Read above for more detailed info, but essentially there are certain days ONLY for running / hiking and other days only for mountain bikers to ride downhill – and for good reason! I would not want to be running uphill on this beautiful narrow trail as some bikes come rushing down!
Even if your scheduled doesn’t line up perfectly – there are a ton of other great trails within this reserve to explore. I only ended up running downhill on Lower Hulls Gulch, with the rest of my trek on a number of ample side trails in the area.
Boise is the capitol of Idaho, so there are clearly a number of places to set up as a running basecamp during a trip to the Gem State. There are obviously a bunch of vacation rentals and hotels across the region, but if you are looking for something right in the heart of downtown, it’s hard to go wrong with a reliable option like Home2 Suites by Hilton.
I have travelled alone many times, but on those instances where you are travelling with family, or with a group of running buds, having a little more space is always welcome. This Home2 Suites is one of the newer properties in downtown Boise, and has added benefits like pet rooms, an on-site workout room, pool (with kids amenities!), and an outdoor patio. The rooms themselves were large and comfortable and had amenities like a full fridge, microwave, dishes and dishwasher – making planful eating a cinch. They also have a free breakfast every morning with solid staples (and beyond).
Of the three runs we were able to do, there wasn’t one that was more than a 10 minute drive away, and all are actually runnable right from the lobby, so it’s primed and ready to be your run hub.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Details:
Address: 202 S 6th St, Boise, ID 83702
Playing (Things to do in Boise):
While Portland and Seattle are generally kings of the NW when it comes to craft beer, Boise is no slouch in this department and have upwards of 20 options – a sizeable number for a city that is about 1/3 the size of Portland. It’s doubly great that a large number are right in the heart of downtown – making it easy to walk between them. Honestly, if you are staying near downtown Boise, everything is extremely walkable. We ended up keeping our car parked in the garage for days on end and just trekked by foot nearly everywhere!
Here are a few places we ended up checking out and recommend:
Food and Drinks in Boise
- Boise Brewing (a ~2 minute walk)
- Payette Brewing (a little bit of a jaunt, but the Greenbelt makes it easy!)
- Lost Grove Brewing (just off the Greenbelt)
- Teleya Wine (a little further away – but again right on the Greenbelt)
- Devil’s Den (we stumbled into this underground, pirate-themed, tiki-drink and ramen restaurant – and became obsessed)
- Western Proper (great for brunch / happy hour and for fun arcade and bowling options)
- Stil Ice Cream (try their ice cream and wine/beer flights!)
In all honesty, when we were mentioning to friends and family that we were going to Boise for vacation, the common response was “why?” The answer to these queries are all the more clear now. How about:
- 60+ more days of sunshine/year than Portland?
- Local breweries to explore and nearby Wine Regions
- Amazing running trails to explore
- “Big City” events with a small town feel
- Activities for kids regardless of the season
- 75 minute, typically-cheap flights from PDX->BOI OR a straight 6-7 hour drive
There is a lot to love about Boise – way more than I ever imagined there would be. We spent ~4 days in town and felt like there was still more we wanted to do and explore – both with running and leisure. We will be back and YOU should absolutely consider making Boise your next runcation destination.
Many thanks to the Idaho Tourism for lodging assistance. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.