The Barber Valley is one of the most unique areas in Boise, with a rich spirit of history and a sense of excitement for the future.
Barber Valley residents and city planners have worked carefully to preserve natural wonders while making room for expansion, and there’s a shared understanding that even while Boise booms, the Barber Valley will never become a haphazard suburbia.
With big skies, backyard access to the foothills, and a growing community, neighborhood residents know they’re putting down roots in an uncommonly beautiful area.
Situated just southeast of downtown Boise, the Barber Valley is a substantial neighborhood of over 1,700 acres. Despite its location on the Boise map, the neighborhood is technically located in the southern portion of Northeast Boise commonly referred to as East Boise.
Bordered by the foothills, the Boise River, State Highway 21, and Warm Springs Mesa, the Barber Valley is tucked into a naturally quiet, scenic oasis, and a growing number of Boise residents lovingly call it home.
Why People Move to the Barber Valley
If you drive through the Barber Valley these days, you’ll see sure signs of expansion everywhere you look. Against the stunning backdrop of the Boise Foothills, construction is everywhere as developers like Brighton Homes, Blackrock Homes, and Boise Hunter Homes continue to build out the area.
The Barber Valley is home to 5,000 Boise residents, and by 2025, that number is projected to increase to around 7,000. With houses, apartments, grocery stores, assisted living centers, shops, restaurants, and even schools in the works, the Barber Valley is poised for a population boom and continued growth over the next decade.
As you watch the Barber Valley mature, you may wonder: why are so many people drawn to this quiet corner of Boise? It doesn’t take long to see the appeal.
Some choose living in the Barber Valley as an escape from the increased traffic and noise of downtown, North and East Ends. Others prefer it for proximity to the foothills, Boise River and Greenbelt.
Many see the valley’s future as a huge perk: development continues to happen with careful strategic planning and plenty of community buy-in. In the Barber Valley, you can have an ideal mix of tranquility and fun, outdoor recreation and urban living.
Outdoor Access and Amenities
The Barber Valley is nestled right into the Boise Foothills and is the eastern gateway to the city. Deer, grouse, foxes, rabbits and other native wildlife still call the Barber Valley home thanks to reserves such as the adjacent 712-acre Barber Pool Conservation Area.
Access to the Boise River Greenbelt, Lucky Peak State Park, magnificent parks, and outdoor recreation all entice incoming residents.
The proposed planning of the area seeks to preserve the serenity of the area’s habitat. Parts of the Barber Valley show what Boise looked like before development, with plenty of wildlife and natural beauty.
Outdoor amenities in the Barber Valley include:
- The Boise River Greenbelt: Whether you’re a walker, runner, biker, or just want to meander into nature once in a while, the Boise River Greenbelt is at your doorstep in the Barber Valley. Many of the trails in the Barber Valley wind through marshland habitat, so you’ll catch glimpses of deer, herons, and even beavers and foxes if you’re lucky.
- Gorgeous parks: Marianne Williams Park and Barber Park are both located in the Barber Valley. These large parks are beautiful and walkable, and many of the new and proposed housing developments border them for added value. The City of Boise has also announced plans for another park, Alta Harris Park, on a 20-acre parcel near Eckert Road.
- Direct Foothills access: You can’t beat the Barber Valley for views of and access to the foothills. For hiking, exploring, trail running, and walking your dog, the foothills are an incredible opportunity and a desirable amenity.
Serenity and Community Minutes From Downtown
While the Barber Valley is minutes from downtown Boise, it’s still quiet and not densely populated. Many residents choose this area for a change from the bustling, highly trafficked neighborhoods you will find in other parts of the city.
The Barber Valley residents feel part of their neighborhood community. Many homes in the valley are built closer to one another than you see in many other new construction communities, but that's the point. A sense of community and even old-fashioned neighborly values are part of what makes this neighborhood such a special place to call home.
When you drive through the Barber Valley, you’ll notice quickly how the new road construction has created natural corridors to downtown, Southeast Boise, and the foothills.
The Barber Valley is close to everything, and the expansion projects on Warm Springs Avenue and other main thoroughfares have connected the valley to its surroundings even more seamlessly. The proximity to I-84 and the airport make commuting or a trip out of town a breeze.
Barber Valley’s Rich Past Informs Its Exciting Future
In the late 1800s and into the 1900s, the Barber Mill employed a large portion of Boise’s early residents. The mill was large and prosperous, prompting a company town called Barberton to pop up at the base of the foothills. With a population of 650 and an elementary school, Barberton was the second largest city in the county.
When the mill closed in 1935, the town quickly dissolved. This rich history of rapid growth is apropos for the Barber Valley, now a flourishing neighborhood center and the home of the community that bridges downtown Boise and the foothills. The expansive 72-acre Marianne Williams Park and the Harris Ranch master-planned community sit on the former site of the Barber Mill.
The Barber Valley Lifestyle
Barber Valley residents love their community, but what do they do during the week and on the weekends? Here’s a peek at the Barber Valley lifestyle.
Barber Valley homeowners eat, shop, and play in their community and around town. They’re spending their weekdays in Bown Crossing at the library or grabbing a bite to eat at Lucky 13. They’re taking an evening bike ride along the Greenbelt or strolling through the stunningly beautiful Marianne Williams Park.
On the weekends, you’ll find Barber Valley residents heading downtown to one of Boise's farmers' markets or catching brunch at some of the best restaurants in the state. Neighborhood favorites such as Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria and Locavore also tempt locals out for a bite and a drink.
In the summer, residents are likely to pack a lunch and spend the day on the water at Lucky Peak, swimming and boating and lounging in the sand. They might end their day at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival on weeknights and weekends, catching a world-class show at Boise’s unique amphitheater under the stars.
They start many mornings during the warm months at the Cobb and Homestead trailheads in the foothills, taking a cool hike above Boise. The Warm Springs Golf Course is just minutes away, as well, if golf is your pastime of choice.
In the colder months, Barber Valley families never miss the Winter Garden aGlow or a walk through the Scarecrow Stroll at the Idaho Botanical Gardens. They’ll likely warm up after a fall or winter hike by enjoying the area’s shops and restaurants.
- Lucky 13: Pizza, craft brews, and a beautiful patio define this neighborhood favorite.
- Coffee Mill: Coffee, tasty treats, and beer and wine combine to make the Coffee Mill a popular spot.
- Trolley House: This classic American food restaurant is in a historic building on Warm Springs Avenue that was originally the end of the line for Boise’s streetcar in the 1920s.
- Bown Crossing: The Bown Crossing area is close to the Barber Valley and has exciting options for shopping and dining.
Barber Valley Real Estate
From Harris Ranch to River Heights, the Barber Valley is home to many of the most popular communities in Boise.
While the area is commonly referred to as Harris Ranch, Harris Ranch is a master-planned community while Barber Valley is the actual neighborhood. At the same time, the two are synonymous. To most residents, Harris Ranch is where they live and the Barber Valley is where they call home.
In 1976, Dallas Harris created a master plan to develop the Barber Valley area, envisioning tree-lined streets, riverfront walks, pathways, and plazas. Today his vision, Harris Ranch and the surrounding areas look much like Dallas Harris imagined they would.
There are several existing and proposed communities within the Barber Valley neighborhood including:
- Arboretum (apartments)
- Park Place at Barber Station (newer townhome development)
- Veranda Senior Living
Harris Ranch Master-Planned Community
Greater Barber Valley
Looking Toward the Future
Everywhere you look in the Barber Valley, you can see glimpses of what the future will hold. Boise Dance Alliance recently moved into the Barber Valley just west of the Veranda development, and a new restaurant by Barry Werner is slated to begin construction, as well.
The Boise School District is planning an elementary school near Barnside Way within the next five years, and Albertsons has a 35,945 square foot store planned near Warm Springs Ave and Parkcenter Boulevard.
Predictions for the Barber Valley suggest that jobs will increase rapidly in the next decade, with job opportunities growing to over 3,000 by 2025. It’s an exciting time to move to the Barber Valley, an area steeped in Boise history and poised for growth.
Whether you’re choosing the Barber Valley as your home for the outdoor access, the growing restaurants and shops, the proximity to downtown, or the rich sense of community, you’ll find this beautiful area is a Boise treasure.
Barber Valley at a Glance
- Distance from Downtown Boise: 13 minutes
- Walk Score: 9
- Bike Score: 44
- Median Home Value: $506,200
- Average Rent: $2,284
Lisa Kohl is a top Idaho Realtor and creator of WeKnowBoise.com. From Southeast Boise to The North End, up to Eagle and West to Meridian, or right in the middle of the Boise Bench and downtown - We Know Boise. Whether buying or selling a home, we provide full-service real estate solutions dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals.