Boise National Forest


The Forest includes about 2,612,000 acres of National Forest land located north and east of the city of Boise, Idaho. Intermingled with the Forest are 348,000 acres owned or administered by private citizens or corporations, the State of Idaho, and other federal agencies.

 Most of the land supports an evergreen forest that includes pure or mixed stands of ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce, lodgepole pine and subalpine fir. Brush-grass or grass is found in the non-timbered areas. There are many different animal species and places for animals to live. The Forest contains large areas of summer range for big game species, such as mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk. Trout are native to most streams and lakes while ocean-going salmon and steelhead inhabit the many tributaries of the Salmon River. Most of the land lies within the Idaho Batholith—a large and highly erosive geologic formation. Through uplift, faulting, and subsequent dissection by stream cutting action, a mountainous landscape has developed. Elevations range from 2,600 to 9,800 feet. The major river systems represented are the Boise and Payette Rivers and the South and Middle Fork drainages of the Salmon River. The average precipitation ranges from 15 inches at lower elevations to 70 inches at higher elevations.

Resource Activity - If you visit the Boise National Forest, you may encounter a variety of activities, such as people improving homes for wildlife and fish and people harvesting timber. The Lucky Peak Nursery, 11 miles east of Boise, grows tree and shrub seedlings used for forests of the future. Improving water supplies for people, livestock and wildlife is important as is road construction and prescribed burning to name a few.

Recreation Opportunities - There are many year round recreation opportunities. Visitors will find over 80 campgrounds and picnic areas providing a variety of recreation experiences. Several of the campgrounds provide access for the physically challenged.

For those who want solitude, a portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness has lots of it as do other undeveloped areas. In addition, the Sawtooth Wilderness, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, are near the Forest. These rugged areas are famous for their spectacular scenery.

There are many opportunities for general or dispersed recreation. Big game hunting and trout fishing are popular. 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.

Visitors can backpack, ride horseback or motorbike on over 850 miles of trails. Four trails have been established as National Recreation Trails: William H. Pogue (motorized/nonmotorized travel), Whoop-Um-Up (cross-country skiing), Hull's Gulch (non-motorized travel) and Crawford-Yellow Pine (snowmobiling).

Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing are popular in winter. Many of the snow trails are regularly groomed. Bogus Basin Ski Area, just north of Boise, provides alpine skiing opportunities with six ski lifts, 45 groomed runs and 2,000 acres of night skiing, as well as several miles of nordic skiing opportunities.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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