Thousands of Treasure Valley schoolkids will be on spring break next week (including my son), which leaves a lot of us trying to figure out ways to entertain them. Here are eight ideas for outdoor recreation during the break — including some I’ll be doing myself.
1. Take a hike
The Boise Foothills are an incredible resource that’s not far from home no matter where you live. With 190 miles of trails to explore, it can be difficult to sort through the options. If you want to take the simple route, hike Table Rock. It’s an iconic hike in our city and a chance to show kids the damage that can be done by fire and some of the hard work volunteers have done to rehab the landscape. The shorter, easier route starts at the Old Pen. The longer, prettier route starts at Warm Springs Golf Course. Just make sure the trails are open — they’re closed when muddy. The latest status is available on the Boise Foothills Trail Conditions Facebook page. If you want to branch out, the Corrals trail off Bogus Basin Road is a terrific, quiet hike. A little closer to town, Hillside to Hollow has some new trail options and beautiful views of Downtown Boise. I’ll probably go to Table Rock to check out the sagebrush seedlings my son and I planted last fall.
2. Take a camping trip
Camping options are limited this early in the year. I’m headed to Bruneau Dunes State Park for a one-night stay midweek for a story on sand sledding. The park also has hiking, fishing and the observatory, which is out of service right now because of a power issue but should be running sometime next week. Bruneau Dunes was very busy for spring break last year, the park reports, but has plenty of weekday campsites available next week.
3. Go for a bike ride
The Boise River Greenbelt has some significant flooding issues, so look into what’s closed before you go. Consider riding on the east end of town, from Marianne Williams Park toward the Barber Pool Conservation Area, where the Greenbelt is elevated enough to stay dry. Lucky 13 at the intersection of Warm Springs and Eckert makes a good pit stop.
4. Play golf or tennis
I broke out the golf clubs for the first time last week. I’ve been playing tennis for several weeks. This is a great time to get a jump on the season and enjoy some sunshine. For us, we’ll skip the golf because it’s baseball season (the two swings don’t mix well) but hit the tennis courts a couple of times. If you’ve got a youngster, be sure to use kid-specific balls and rackets — they make a huge difference and allow kids to produce extended rallies.
5. Catch some fish
Conditions are still sketchy but our fishing columnist recommends C.J. Strike Reservoir or your local ponds if you want to put a line in the water.
6. Go skiing
Spring weather makes it easy to forget that the ski areas in the region are still enjoying an epic snow year — and there are some deals to be had. Bogus Basin offers junior lift tickets for $30 Monday-Friday and two-for-one lift tickets Tuesday. Brundage Mountain near McCall has a variety of deals, including a free children’s lift ticket (17 and younger) if you buy a full-priced adult or senior ticket Monday-Friday. Kids ski free even without an adult purchase Sunday. Or, on April 2, you can take the whole family for the price of one adult lift ticket. Also, the Activity Barn tubing hill has a buy-one-get-one-free deal Monday-Friday. Tamarack Resort near Donnelly and Sun Valley Resort are still open, too. I’m hoping to get on the slopes one more time this season — spring break might be the time to do it. One note: Bogus Basin will end night skiing this Saturday and Nordic operations this Sunday.
7. Learn about wilderness
Congressman Mike Simpson, former Gov. Cecil Andrus, Idaho Statesman environmental columnist Rocky Barker and Idaho Conservation League Director Rick Johnson will participate in a panel discussion about the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness areas at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Boise State Special Events Center. “Outdoor Idaho” host Bruce Reichert will host. The program is free but registration is encouraged here.
8. Hit the road
Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls is putting on a water show that hasn’t been seen in 20 years. At 900 feet wide with a 212-foot drop, it’s one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States. It’s worth the roughly two-hour drive east.