A Note on Accessibility
For many locations we've indicated the type of trail — paved, dirt, or gravel —but for a quick reference, here are some of the more accessible birding locations with flat, paved trails:
Kathryn Albertson Park, the Boise Greenbelt, Esther Simplot Park, Marianne Williams Park, and Barber Park.
The City of Boise manages this beautiful 44 acre reserve. It is dubbed a 'haven' for birds and also serves as a storm water treatment area. There are some lovely short gravel walking trails that wind through ponds and overlook the reserve.
124 species have been recorded at this reserve. A great place for waterbirds year round. Look for an osprey hunting the ponds during the spring and summer months.
Type of trails: Fairly level gravel paths.
Hulls Gulch Reserve
This beloved reserve is at the interface of the city and the foothills on the north side of Boise. The area is managed by the City of Boise for recreation including hiking, bicyclists, horseback riders, and more.
Many people enjoying watching a pair of nesting great horned owls on the sandstone hills across form the Foothills Learning Center (FLC). As an environmental education center the FLC offers some great programming for kids and families. This year they also had a family of American kestrels nest in their nest box.
Type of trails: Dirt paths.
Boise River Greenbelt
This paved trail runs 25 miles along the Boise River. Much of the length of the Greenbelt features riparian habitat and views of the river. The trail is easily accessed from a number of locations and connects to several great city parks.
Type of trail: Level, paved path.
Blacks Creek Bird Reserve
This newly dedicated bird reserve is located 10 miles southwest of Boise and is easily accessible from I-84, exit 64.
A 600 acre reserve with sagebrush uplands, riparian strip, and reservoir. The area is habitat for over 150 bird species and is also home to many mammals such as pronghorn, badger, and coyote. It is recognized as a Audubon Important Bird Area and is called a 'jewel of the desert' by the Ada County Open Space Plan.
The reservoir can dry out during the summer, but is a great place to look for migrating shorebirds during spring.
Type of trail: Gravel and dirt paths.
Lucky Peak Field Station
Boise State University's Intermountain Bird Observatory runs a long-term bird banding station on the top of Lucky Peak each fall. It is a popular destination to see birds in hand, learn more about what species live and migrate through this corridor, see what research is being conducted, and also is a beautiful place to bird. The crews there catch and band songbirds, diurnal raptors, and owls. Don't forget your camera!
The field station is located northeast of Boise. Accessible by high-clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles, the unpaved Highland Valley Road turnoff is located about three miles north of the the Lucky Peak Dam off Highway 21. Please visit the IBO webpage for further directions and hours of operation.
Indian Creek Reservoir
One of the important "jewels of the desert," this site provides important stopover habitat for many migrating bird species. Over 180 different bird species have been recorded at this site, and GEAS hopes to petition to designate the reservoir as an Important Bird Area.
This reservoir is located just minutes off I-84, but is about 30 minutes southeast of Boise. Take Exit 71 and turn south, once past the truck stop look for a dirt road that is signed for the reservoir.