Make Memories All Year Round at the Bogus Basin Recreation Area
There are not many places in the nation where the commute to your local ski resort can rival many people’s commute home from work. Then again, not many cities have a ski resort less than 45 minutes away – one of the many unique perks of living in Boise.
The Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area and Ski Resort, located just 16.5 miles north of Boise, is beloved in the Treasure Valley. The drive alone – along a switchback road that transitions from high desert sagebrush to coniferous evergreens, all the while offering breathtaking views of the valley across to the Owyhee Mountains – is worth the trip, regardless of the season.
One of the best things about Bogus Basin is that you don’t have to be a skier to enjoy the outdoors. In recent years, the nonprofit recreation area has branched out to include more summer and winter outdoor adventure options for everyone.
In honor of one of our favorite outdoor getaways, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to plan a great time at Bogus, whatever the season.
Bogus Basin Opening Day 2020: November 27th
How to Enjoy Bogus Basin’s Winter Wonderland
Each year shortly after Thanksgiving, Bogus Basin opens to the public. It may not be Idaho’s most famous ski resort – that honor goes to Sun Valley – but as far as size goes, Bogus has Sun Valley beat by about 300 skiable acres, and by costing less than half the ticket price.
The Best Time to Go to Bogus Basin
While the resort is often open in November, peak skiing season is January-February. Not only is the snow usually fresh and powdery at this time, Boise is often under inversions in the winter, which can cloak the city in grey clouds for days on end. Heading up the mountain is your best chance to get some sun.
Getting to Bogus Basin
You can buy lift tickets, day passes, ski school passes and even lease equipment at Bogus’ downtown office before heading up the mountain.
To avoid the possibility of encountering full parking lots (it happens), utilize the free downtown park-and-ride lot and take a shuttle up, or grab some friends for a day of skiing, as Bogus offers priority carpool parking for vehicles with three or more people. Insider tip: Check out the info board at the base of Bogus Basin Road for alerts on parking capacity.
The coronavirus pandemic has added another challenge to the 2020-21 season. Be sure to check here for all Bogus Basin covid-related updates before planning your trip.
Up the mountain, you’ll find 11 lifts servicing 82 runs, roughly 23 miles of groomed Nordic ski and snowshoeing trails, and of course equipment rentals and lessons galore. In addition to the 2,600 acres of downhill day skiing, Bogus also illuminates 175 acres for a breathtaking night skiing experience.
Avoiding the Crowds
Mid-week skiing and night skiing are generally less crowded times to hit the slopes, if your schedule allows for it. Once you’re on the mountain, head to the backside for runs with fewer people.
If you’re a Nordic skier or a snowshoer, you’ll also see far fewer people.
Show Stopping Runs
If you’re looking to impress visitors, Nugget Cat Track, a blue run on the resort’s outer edge, has the best panoramic views of the valley. Wildcat, a black diamond run, is also a favorite. At just under a mile long, it also features incredible views and challenging drops.
Bogus Ticket Prices and Season Passes
Bogus offers a few tailored season pass options for winter athletes, including Nordic, night and mid-week passes. Adults can purchase a winter day pass for $69 or a night pass for $34. The resort also offers deals for new residents, military personnel and students.
But insiders know to buy next year’s season pass when they debut during the Early Bird Season Pass Sale in mid-February. The trick is, Bogus allows you to use your “early bird” pass for the remainder of the current season and the following one.
Best Non-Skiing Winter Activities at Bogus Basin
But for those who never saw the allure of cutting full-speed down an icy mountain in below-freezing temperatures, Bogus didn’t have much to offer by way of entertainment. That is, until 2003 when the resort unveiled its new 800-foot tubing hill to the public.
Winter Tubing on the Mountain
For the $20 ticket price, you get a rented tube and unlimited rides during your reserved time. There’s a cap on tubers allowed on the hill, so unlike the ski lifts, it never gets too crowded.
The key to having a great tubing experience is being prepared:
- Ensure everyone in your group can tube – Bogus has weight limits (no one over 300lbs) and height limits (no one under 38 inches) for tubing.
- Make your reservation in advance, as space is limited. Insider tip: Bogus doesn’t give out refunds for the tubing hill, so be sure you can keep your reservation.
- You will find food options at Bogus, but it's a good idea to pack water, snacks and extra sunscreen.
- Dress warm and have fun!
Idaho’s Only Mountain Coaster
In 2018, Bogus unveiled Idaho’s only mountain coaster. You can find the highly popular Glade Runner Mountain Coaster east of Bogus Basin’s Simplot Lodge.
Each two-person cart is pulled to the top of the track and then released to travel down 4,330 feet of twists and turns through the trees. The best part? The driver controls their cart’s speed, which means you can choose your own adventure, from slow and scenic to fast and thrilling.
The coaster runs in the summer, too!
Summer Activities at Bogus Basin
If you take a drive up in the summer months, you’ll find the mountain bustling with activity: scenic chairlift rides, new downhill mountain biking trails, summer tubing and more.
The Mountain Bike Park
In summer 2020, Bogus opened more than 20 miles of downhill trails as part of its new bike park. These trails are only open to mountain bikers, so you won’t have to watch out for hikers or joggers that share the multi-use trails.
The resort also keeps the Morning Star or Deer Point chairlifts running during the summer. The scenic lifts are open to mountain bikers, hikers and sightseers.
A bike park season pass currently runs at $149 for adults and $99 for children ages 12 and under. Lift ticket prices to get to the trailheads are $34 and $25, respectively (or you could always bike up).
Unlimited day passes for the resort’s other offerings, which cover the Glade Runner Mountain Coaster, scenic chairlift and summer tubing (described below) are available for $39 for adults and $29 for children 12 and under.
Rock Climbing, Trampolining and Other Kid Activities
The lawn in front of Bogus Basin’s main lodge hosts a trampoline bungee course and a 32-foot-tall rock climbing wall, both of which are very popular with kids. Three-hundred feet of the tubing hill is also open and divided into two lanes so kids can race each other (or their kid-at-heart parents).
For $10 worth of “pay dirt,” kids can also search for gold, gems, fossils and arrowheads in the old Shafer Butte Mining Company sluice.
The Best Hiking Trail and Other Free Activities
Bogus’ Around the Mountain trail has been a hiking and biking favorite for decades. The 10-mile loop is suitable for intermediate riders and hikers (who often just do an out and back hike – the full loop is pretty ambitious). One thing to watch out for: it usually still has some snowpack until mid-June, so wear appropriate shoes and bring a sweater.
Many other biking trails, hiking trails, as well as the bike skills park and disc golf course are also open to the public for free. You can find helpful trail maps on the Bogus Basin website.
Or simply pack a picnic and take a leisurely hike down one of the resort’s Nordic ski paths, keeping an eye out for butterflies, wild onions, owl pellets and dazzling quartz rocks to take home. These are some of the best memories from our childhood hikes up at Bogus and the best part is, they are free for all to enjoy.
Bogus Basin has been beloved by locals for generations, and with so many more activities to choose from, it’s loyal community base is only growing.
2600 N Bogus Basin Rd, Boise, ID 83702 (map)
Call for general info: (208) 332-5100
Alpine Lift Tickets (full day)
Adults 18-69: $69
Teens 13-17: $49
Junior 7-12: $27
Children under 6: $10
Seniors 70+: $4
Coach Chairlift and Convey Lifts 7+: $15
More helpful info:
Lisa 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.
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