Boise National Forest

Quick Facts

Boise National Forest

Idaho

(208) 373-4100

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Boise National Forest includes about 2,612,000 acres of forest land located north and east of the city of Boise. Most of the land is an evergreen forest that includes pure or mixed stands of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce, lodgepole pine and subalpine fir. Elevations range from 2,600 to 9,800 feet. Major rivers include the Boise and Payette Rivers and the South and Middle Fork drainages of the Salmon River. Intermingled with the forest are 348,000 acres owned or administered by private citizens or corporations, the State of Idaho, and other federal agencies. Visitors will find over 80 campgrounds and picnic areas providing a variety of recreation experiences.These include over 1,300 miles of trails open to hiking, bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, horses, and in the winter time skiing and snowmobiling. In addition over 7,600 miles of streams and more than 250 lakes and reservoirs offer excellent water sports activities including rafting, kayaking, sailing, and water-skiing.

Map of Boise Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 43.877126, -115.904559

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Activities

  • Boating

    Over 7,600 miles of streams and rivers and more than 250 lakes and reservoirs beckon water sports enthusiasts to raft, kayak, sail, and water ski. Spring brings rafters and kayakers to the Payette and Boise Rivers.

  • Bicycling

    There are miles of roads and trails that are available for mountain bike use. Visitors may use any of these routes year round. There are no permits, fees, or registration required for individuals and small groups. Many mountain biking enthusiasts enjoy the Ridge to Rivers Trail System.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    There are many to enjoy a senic drive through the Forest. The Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway travels along the Banks-Lowman Road and can be accessed either at Banks along Idaho 55 or at Lowman along Idaho 21. It is not uncommon to see elk, mule deer, churkars, wild turkey, eagles and ospreys along this 33 mile route. Another scenic drive is the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway which starts in Boise, and follows Highway 21 north to the historic mining town of Idaho City. There are many fishing and camping opportunities along this 130 mile route.

  • Camping

    The forest offers a wide array of camping choices. In addition to the 70 campgrounds and picnic areas, there are many opportunities for general and dispersed camping. Dispersed camping is available outside of the developed sites. There are no aminities including water or toilets. Some dispersed sites have existing fire rings. The Forest also offers cabins to rent in an array of beautiful settings.

  • Fishing

    Nearly every lake, river, and pond offer great fishing, but especially for trout, bass and panfish including crappie. Kokanee can be found in large lakes and reserviors during spawning season. Oceangoing salmon and steelhead inhabit tributaries of the nearby Salmon River.

  • Hiking

    The Forest maintains over 1,300 miles of summer trails which are open to hiking or horseback riding. These outdoor adventures can consist of a day hike or a longer backpacking trip this forest is the place to come. This area offers many rewards including unique wildflowers, fishing an alpine lake, taking great photos and enjoying miles of beautiful scenic trails. Please inquire at the District offices for more information and maps.

  • Historic Sites

    Many historic and cultural sites can be seen and experienced here at Boise National Forest.

  • Horseback Riding

    The Forest maintains over 1,300 miles of summer trails. Visitors can hike and ride horseback starting at trailheads located within many of the campgrounds. Some areas also have facilities such as corals and troughs, specifically to assist riders. Inquire at the District offices for more information.

  • Hunting

    Big game hunting and trout fishing draw hunters and anglers to the Forest. The major big-game species that live in the Boise Forest are mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, mountain goat, black bear, and mountain lion. Game bird species that are hunted include turkey, blue grouse, spruce grouse, chukar partridge, gray (Hungarian) partridge, California quail, and mountain quail.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Strategically located areas serve as important motorized trail destinations. A system of motorized trails and roads are maintained and managed to provide unique experiences including loop opportunities and links to a larger system of long distance opportunities.

  • Picnicking

    The Boise National Forest provides tables and grills at designated campgrounds. There are many day use areas set up with tables for a relaxing, scenic picnic. Many campgrounds feature group picnicking with tables and grills set up for large groups.

  • RVing

    RV or trailer limitations may apply based on size and available sites.

  • Water Sports

    Over 7,600 miles of streams and rivers and more than 250 lakes and reservoirs beckon water sports enthusiasts to raft, kayak, sail, and water ski. Spring brings rafters and kayakers to the Payette and Boise Rivers

  • Wildlife Watching

    Most of the land supports an evergreen forest that includes pure or mixed stands of ponderosa pine, grand fir, Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce, lodgepole pine and subalpine fir. Wildflowers abound in the spring. The Forest contains large expanses of winter range for big game species like mule deer and elk.

  • Winter Sports

    In winter, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing are popular. Many of the snow trails are regularly groomed. Bogus Basin Ski Area, just north of Boise, is partially located on the Boise Forest. There are seven ski lifts, 45 groomed runs, and 2,000 acres of night skiing, as well as 12 miles of groomed Nordic skiing trails at Bogus Basin.

Directions

Driving

Taking State Highway 55 north of Boise will lead you into the heart of this national forest.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(208) 373-4100

Links