Boise’s Backyard – The Boise National Forest

A Summer Spent on The Water

Exploring the Middle, North and South Fork of the Boise Rivers and Beyond


Let’s look back at 2016 quickly. I gave up my apartment to move to Colorado. That move ended in disaster; but opened the door to many exciting adventures. I began my 8 month adventure in Pagosa Springs Colorado. My goal was simple, see as much of the North West States as possible before the snow flies, that was the plan anyway. My home while traveling, my 2006 Toyota Tacoma and an Alps Mountaineering tent, keeping it light and simple. My traveling companion as always is Gizmo, an equally adventurous Maltese and my best friend who will be turning 12 years old this December of 2017.

Toyota Tacoma
Toyota Tacoma on the Blacks Creek Road just above the South Fork of the Boise River
Gizmo on The South Fork of the Boise Riv

I lived a nomads life while on the road, searching out the most amazing places, bathing in rivers, lakes and an occasional hot springs. Seriously though, what a life. Not an easy way to live but well worth the uncomfortable times that took place now and then but always having amazing scenery, great fishing and the serenity of the mountains over shadow such difficulties if they occurred.


First off, the fishing has been incredible here in the Boise National Forest. I consider this place to be my backyard and this is where I spent the summer of 2017. This area screams camping, fishing and simple day trips away from the city. Just a short drive relatively speaking from Boise are some of the most beautiful mountain ranges, lakes, and rivers located around the Boise Idaho area. Within an hour or two you can access major lakes and the rivers that supply them. Hundreds of small lakes, rivers, creeks and hot-springs are found just around each corner of the road it seemed, creating easy opportunities for exploration and photography.

Hot springs
Shower Hot springs. Middle fork of the Boise River. One of many Hot Springs located on the Boise River System.

It’s easy to fall in love with this type of beauty.The simple fact is, you would be hard pressed to find any excuse not to take the drive and visit these very accessible areas of Idaho. Of course there are those areas that having a 4 x 4 vehicle comes in quite handy. No trailer or motor home access on many of the narrow and rough roads I traveled. So keeping it light and simple was the goal.

Rainbow trout
Not that long but this Rainbow was a fatty

I made numerous trips up the Middle and South Forks of the Boise River this summer, it had been a long time in waiting since our last winter thaw. So I was stoked about driving the narrow winding roads through-out the summer. Roads that can drop off to 100 feet or more in some places along  the lake and canyon roads. Adding speed to the drive always seemed to produce that touch of adrenaline that left me with a happy grin on my face.

The Boise river has amazingly clear turquoise water after the spring run off settles and snorkeling is a constant past time for me when I’m on the water. Many hours were spent diving the pools that formed against the cliffs and bends in the river, some snorkeling holes can reached 15 feet deep or more in certain areas of the river. The visibility can be as much as 20 or more feet at times, allowing for under water sight seeing of the rock formations that hide below the surface as well as the potential fish and occasional mussels I harvested. One particular day I spotted an orange-red Mazda pickup in about 6-8 feet of water at the Willow Creek Campground, slowly being covered up by sand as time went by. Definitely something new in the river to look at. I never did find out why or how it got there.

It turned out to be a fantastic summer, loaded with great fishing and camping. Please enjoy the photographs and if you ever find yourself in this part of the country, get up on the  rivers and lakes of Idaho and experience what I call “My back yard“.

Get out and make it happen…


Willow Creek

I didn’t even fish here at Willow Creek this week out. My foot was acting up again, so I stayed off it and made the best of what I had. I sat and swam in the river for hours at a time. I was the only one here at Willow Creek this week and it reminded me once again how lucky I am to be able to get out and spend time in the mountains. Mountains that are within an hours drive of Boise. I do things a little different nowadays. I do things a little slower and I see more and I enjoy more.



Please follow and like us: