2014 Best of Treasure Valley: Outdoors & Sports

rphillips@idahostatesman.comJune 20, 2014 

Braxton, 8, gets a head-first snow day experience

Braxton, 8, gets a head-first snow day experience coming down Camel's Back hill Friday, Feb. 7.

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com Buy Photo

We love our outdoors, because we have a great climate and a wealth of destinations and amenities for everyone. If you live in Boise, it starts with the Greenbelt, which popped up in three categories: Best Hiking Trail, Best Mountain Bike Trail and Best Picnic Spot. Whether you’re a hardcore outdoors person or one who rarely leaves pavement or the city limits, you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time on the Greenbelt.

But the Outdoors & Sports category shows the breadth of our love for the outdoors, from ski areas to golf courses to gardening stores. We just love to get outside and enjoy nature and recreation.

We head out to scenic campgrounds in the rugged mountains around Stanley, McCall and other destinations. Stanley — site of two of the Best Idaho Campgrounds — is a favorite road trip. We are happy to take a nearly three-hour, twisty drive to enjoy a weekend on a lake with the Sawtooths looming in the background.

We hike, bike and walk our dogs on the vast trail network in the Foothills, where Table Rock gets the nod as our local Best Hiking Trail, and Camel’s Back Park in Boise’s North End finished No. 1 for Best Dog Park and Best Mountain Bike Trail.

Then we picnic and relax at beautiful urban parks. Boise’s Ann Morrison, Julia Davis and Kathryn Albertson parks swept the Best Public Park awards, and it’s probably no coincidence they are connected by the Greenbelt.

Getting outdoors means more than communing with nature. We love our Boise State Broncos, and we love Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, and what makes living in the Treasure Valley so cool is how we can blend some of our favorite activities. Ski all day and then catch a Broncos football game at night? Why not?

Or maybe a few runs at Bogus followed by a round of golf at BanBury in the afternoon? No reason not to do it.

Our love of the outdoors and the variety it offers extends to where we buy the toys and gear to enjoy it. Nationally known chains such as Cabela’s were favorites with voters looking to shop. But we prefer to spend our cycling dollars at locally grown stores; George’s Cycles & Fitness topped the three all-local finishers for Best Bike Shop.

Voters gave a green thumbs-up to family-owned Edwards Greenhouse as Best Gardening Store/Nursery. It only has one location, but it’s a biggie: 10 acres! It’s also been around for more than 80 years.

The Treasure Valley’s outdoor recreation is conveniently located right out your front door, so get out and enjoy it.

Dog Park

1. Camel’s Back Park

2. Nampa Dog Park

3. Ann Morrison Park

Bike Shop

1. George’s Cycles & Fitness

2. Bob’s Bicycles

3. Boise Bicycle project

Mountain Bike Trail

1. Camel’s Back Park

2. Boise Greenbelt

3. Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area


1. Redfish Lake

2. Ponderosa State Park

3. Stanley Lake

Gardening Store/Nursery

1. Edwards Greenhouse

2. Zamzows

3. Greenhurst Nursery & Garden Center

Golf Course

1. BanBury Golf Course

2. Shadow Valley Golf Course

3. Warm Springs Golf Course

Hiking Trail

1. Table Rock

2. Camel’s Back

3. Boise Greenbelt

Picnic Spot

1. Idaho Botanical Garden

2. Boise Greenbelt

3. Ann Morrison Park

Public Park

1. Ann Morrison Park

2. Julia Davis Park

3. Kathryn Albertson Park

Ski Area

1. Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area

2. Brundage Mountain Resort

3. Sun Valley Resort

Sporting Event

1. Boise State football

2. Idaho Steelheads hockey

3. Twilight Criterium

Sporting Goods/Outdoor Gear

1. Cabela’s

2. REI

3. Dick’s Sporting Goods

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