Thursday, October 4, 2012

Enjoy super-smooth new greenbelt pathways in Marianne Williams Park in East Boise

Aerial view of Marianne Williams Park (looking east to west). 
Hi all,

This week's tip focuses on a new park in East Boise called Marianne Williams Park that has a number of sweet new pathways to enjoy, including a brand new super-smooth 1.5-mile greenbelt section from Bown Crossing to Eckert Road. The park also has a beautiful nature trail along the Boise River.

Below, I'm also highlighting several events coming up, including a two-day ride on the full length of the Weiser River Trail, and a fun, season-ending SWIMBA event.
My GPS tracks on the Greenbelt and Nature Trail loop. 
If you've grown tired of riding over the many cracks and bumps on the old greenbelt as you're riding out to Lucky Peak Dam or Discovery Park -- riding parallel to the highway east of Warm Springs Golf Course -- you can take a small detour on the new greenbelt pathway in M.W. Park and enjoy the sweet ride out to the Eckert Road pathway. Then, you head north a half mile and rejoin the greenbelt near Lucky 13, and continue your ride.

I noticed that several roller-bladers have discovered the new pathway, but for the most part, the paths are pretty quiet in M.W. Park because the park hasn't officially opened yet. Boise Parks & Recreation officials say the 70-acre park will open next summer after several buildings and rest rooms have been built and completed. Some landscaping remains to be put in place as well.

Another very cool opportunity for hikers, runners and anglers has been created with a new nature trail in the park. The trail runs alongside the Boise River, on the north side, for more than a mile, and then it joins the paved greenbelt for a half-mile before landing at the Bown Crossing area and the East ParkCenter Bridge. Combine this new trail with the existing nature trail from the Barber Park area, and you have a new 3.5-mile loop that you can enjoy. A Figure-8 loop could be done as well if you're walking or running from Municipal Park out to Barber Park. Or, you could run or walk on the greenbelt in M.W. Park and loop back on the nature trail.

BPR officials say the nature trail will be open to walking and running only when the park opens.

Families with young kids will find plenty of pathways to enjoy on an easy-going bike ride in M.W. Park. Besides the greenbelt pathway, there are a number of wide sidewalks that you can ride on that loop around a large pond and fountain. Cap off the outing by stopping in at one of several eateries in Bown Crossing for a meal and beverage.
Park master plan by the Land Group
Many thanks to the Larry and Marianne Williams family for donating the land for the park. It's a huge addition to the "Ribbon of Jewels" -- the wonderful series of parks that we have adjacent to the Boise River that are tied to together by the Boise River Greenbelt.

If you're ever wanted to ride the whole length of the 84-mile Weiser River Trail, there's a great group ride going on this weekend that presents a perfect opportunity to ride the trail downhill from the north end near New Meadows to the town of Weiser over two days. They're calling it the "October Trek."

Weiser River Trail officials will haul your personal and camping gear to the overnight spot at Mundo Hot Springs,  3 miles north of Cambridge. Mundo Hot Springs is brand new ... a grand opening was held in late September. The photos I've seen make it look very similar to Gold Fork Hot Springs near Donnelly.

The two-day ride will cover a little over 40 miles each day. That's a perfect pace for recreational cyclists of all abilities, and you can enjoy all the sights along the way. Just so you know, the top part of the Weiser River Trail runs downhill as it winds through the Weiser River canyon between New Meadows and Council. But once you're out of the canyon, the trail is mostly flat, even though it runs slightly downhill, you'll have to pedal the whole way. I would rate the difficulty as moderate.

Contact Craig Kjar, event director for the October Trek, at 571-7447 or email

Next week, on Oct. 13, SWIMBA is hosting a member-appreciation event and pub crawl from Joe's Crab Shack to the Dutch Goose and back. Costumes are encouraged! "Classic lounge wear" is the theme. Think Dean Martin. These guys know how to have fun! See you there.