Thursday, February 1, 2018

Hike the Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve or dust off the road bike for a weekend ride

Ducks on the pond! There are some large, scenic ponds in the Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve and lots of habitat for waterfowl. 
Hi all,

I've been working on updating Boise Trail Guide: 90 Hiking & Running Routes Close to Home for the next printing, and I wanted to share a sweet hiking and birding spot in West Boise that I'll be featuring in the next edition of the guide. With weather projected to be in the mid-50s this weekend, this would be a nice low-key outing.

It's called Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve. It's a hidden gem located near the junction of Maple Grove and McMillan. The 54-acre reserve has large ponds and wetlands areas that have the dual purpose of filtering stormwater runoff and serving as a home to large numbers of birds, waterfowl and small critters.

There are more than 10 interpretive signs in the reserve.
The park is set up perfectly for birding -- for pros and amateurs. There’s a pathway in the upper bench of the park where you can look down on the ponds with your binoculars, and there are places where you can get much closer, depending on your preference.

Managed by Boise Parks & Recreation, the park was dedicated in 2012. The Hyatt Family donated 22 acres of the property to the city, and the rest was acquired. In December 2008, the Boise Public Works Department received a $1.3 million EPA grant to create an innovative stormwater treatment pilot project at the site. The project has turned out to be a great success from a water-quality and wildife-enhancement standpoint, so hat’s off to the city and its partners. It's my understanding that ACHD and Nampa-Meridian Irrigation District also were involved in the project.

This is also a place to learn ... there are multiple interpretive sites that provide educational information about stormwater, wildlife habitat, wetlands as nature’s filtering systems and more. Please note that there’s no fishing, boating, swimming, wading or bikes allowed in the park to protect wildlife.

The Golden Eagle Audubon Society will be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count at Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve on Monday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to noon. This would be a good opportunity to learn about birding from the pros.

The Hike: Start from either the parking area next to Marigold or McMillan. There’s a main loop that tours the ponds below, and an upper trail that connects back to the main loop. If you travel both trails, you’ll cover about 1.5 miles. Hikers and runners who want to do more mileage can double or triple the loop. There's a long sidewalk along Maple Grove to Marigold that can be added to your loop.

Another tip for the weekend would be to dust off your road bike and go for a ride on the Greenbelt, Hill Road, City to Farm Loop in SW Boise, Swan Falls or any number of rides that you do in the Boise Valley.

Check out my Boise Road Cycling Guide, which has 30 detailed rides for beginners, intermediates and experts in the valley. It's a two-sided, color, waterproof map that you can find at most any bike shop in Boise and Boise REI. The rides include routes in Emmett, Meridian and Nampa as well as the Boise area.

At Bogus Basin, there's a fun event going on Saturday called the Goggle Tan Tour. The beer starts flowing at 11 a.m. Bogus Basin will have a BBQ going on the patio by the lower lodge as well. Entry is free. It's a traveling show, and this is their fourth stop. There will be live music, ski beach games, "badass give-aways" including goggles from Smith Optics, and beer.

Brundage has Diva Day happening on Saturday, with $30 discounted lift tickets for women 18 and over, free yoga practice, live music, and Happy Hour giveaways in Smoky's Bar & Grill. Sounds fun, too!

Have a great weekend! Go Patriots!
- SS

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