|Elk in Garden Valley along the Banks to Lowman Road (courtesy Buzzfeed.com)|
|Pine Flats Hot Springs next to the South Fork Payette River|
I suppose you could try to ski this weekend, but it seems the conditions might be pretty weird depending on how much it rains or snows after the rain goes away. We've been receiving a big deluge of rain mid-week with snow levels over 8,000 feet on Thursday, which really screws up the snow in the mountains! Plus, flooding is expected Friday in multiple locations -- cross your fingers that there aren't any major mud slides! Avalanche danger is very high as well. Be safe!
The good news is that it's supposed to be sunny and clear on Saturday and Sunday in Boise, with temperatures in the 40s during the day. So for this weekend, I'm recommending a low-key Greenbelt loop in East Boise or a scenic drive to see wildlife in Garden Valley and maybe hit a hot springs as part of the trip.
Marianne Williams Park-Barber Park Loop - Foothills trails are going to be duck soup, so I'm recommending that you take a 4-mile hike starting and finishing in Bown Crossing, with optional coffee, lunch or beer afterwards. Pick up the Greenbelt on the north side of the Boise River in Marianne Williams Park and follow that pathway east to the nature trail. Go right on the nature trail and continue to the Eckert Road bridge. Cross the river, and walk west through Barber Park on dirt pathways back to Bown Crossing. Be sure to wear your snow boots for the walk! The dirt trail will be muddy or slushy. Carry some water, take your time, bring the bino's and look for birds and wildlife along the way.
Garden Valley Wildlife Tour - Take Idaho 55 north to Banks and drive east on the Banks to Lowman Road through a deer and elk winter range to see wild turkeys, elk and deer. Bring your camera and bino's. You should see quite a few animals, particularly between the Garden Valley airstrip and Pine Flats Hot Springs.
Potential primitive hot springs to visit on the trip include Skinny Dipper, Pine Flats, Kirkham Hot Springs, or Bonneville Hot Springs, 25 miles east of Lowman. See the Idaho Hot Springs site for details. Circle back through Idaho City on the way home via Idaho 21, if you wish, to make a big driving loop. If you do that, the Springs in Idaho City would be another potential hot springs stop. Advance reservations are required.
Let me know if you see some wild game!