On Boise’s northern border sits an oasis of a neighborhood that truly has it all.
The Highlands neighborhood has something for everyone: outdoor access, closeby schools, a sprawling golf course, and a short commute to downtown. It’s nestled against the foothills and has unparalleled access to Bogus Basin Ski Resort.
The Highlands is one of the most unique communities in Boise because unlike many newer developments, it isn’t built with a standard urban grid in mind. Instead, Highlands streets curve and twist along with the geographical landmarks that border it. The neighborhood is made up of over 35 distinct subdivisions, all with their own defining characteristics. However, the area has a sense of community and cohesion and is defined by several remarkable identifiers.
First, its location is ideal: with a straight shot to Bogus Basin and less than 10 minutes to downtown Boise, this neighborhood is uniquely situated to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Second, it has incredible outdoor access and natural beauty. Residents can bike, walk, hike, or run to a foothills trailhead or Camel’s Back Park just minutes outside their front doors, while the fresh air of Bogus Mountain is only a half-hour drive away. Finally, Highlands offers a serene, cool escape from urban life, with lush yards, quiet streets, and idyllic cul-de-sacs.
Is the Highlands neighborhood your next home? Read on to find out more.
Why People Choose the Highlands Neighborhood as Their Home
The Highlands has a distinct feel to it that sets it apart from many other areas. When Boise was being settled in the mid to late 1800s, many homes were built around landmarks like the geothermal deposits around Warm Springs Avenue or the Boise River. But a few pioneers decided Highlands was the place for them, developing farms along Crane Creek. By the 1950s, when post-war Americans were eager to attain homeownership, the Highlands saw a new era of development.
Today, the neighborhood features verdant lawns and several decades of architecture. It’s not hard to see why residents love the Highlands neighborhood when you take a close look.
As mentioned, the Highlands neighborhood is in an ideal location. Many residents choose north Boise for the benefits of its convenience: since the neighborhood sits between the foothills and downtown, residents have easy access to both. The Ridge to Rivers Trail System beckons for mountain biking, walking, hiking, and running. The Crane Creek Country Club, the Hillside to Hollow Reserve, and foothills trails define the area’s appeal.
The houses in the Highlands neighborhood are steeped in history, and it shows.
Homes for sale in this part of Boise tend to be bigger and are set on generous lots with mature landscaping. Many have views of the city, Crane Creek Golf Course, and the foothills. Because of Highlands neighborhood layout, there’s more privacy for each homeowner than in other more compact neighborhoods, and residents get to have a taste of their “own private Idaho” while enjoying their proximity to downtown. The homes in this neighborhood tend to be more affordable than other areas of north Boise.
Quiet, Less Crowded Streets
If you take a drive through the Highlands neighborhood, you’re likely to notice something quickly: it’s an incredibly serene community. Few cars drive through the neighborhood, and you’re likely to see kids playing in their front yards while neighbors chat over iced tea. There’s little traffic in the area, and Crane Creek meanders its way right through the neighborhood, adding to the relaxed and nature-inspired vibe. The curvilinear streets in the area were specifically designed to slow traffic and minimize access to the neighborhood, adding to the sanctuary feel.
A Rich Sense of History
After World War II, Boise boomed, growing along with the rest of the nation. The demand for suburban housing rose, making neighborhoods like Highlands experience a sudden renaissance as more and more of Boise’s residents sought homes outside of city limits. Developers began to favor the area north of J.R. Simplot Company's Boise Heights, and residents took a second look at the Highlands neighborhood.
In the mid-50s, construction began on the Highlands neighborhood. The first Parade of Homes—now a Boise area staple—helped propel the neighborhood into popularity in 1956. Because of this early development, many Highland homes in the original Highlands Unit neighborhood feature the coveted mid-century modern style. Although many homes were built from plans, there are also many custom-designed homes in the area, as well.
Houses in the Highlands today have marks of that early boom, including mature trees and landscaping that has transformed the once arid hillside into a grassy escape.
Highlands Real Estate
The Highlands Neighborhood has a population of just under 5,000 and is made up of more than 35 smaller neighborhoods and subdivisions. Some of the most sought-after developments in the area include Highlands Unit—the original Highlands subdivision—Highlands Hackberry, Hackberry Ranch, El Pelar Estates, and Highlands Cove.
The original development in Highlands, the Highlands Unit neighborhood has some of the oldest homes in the area. This part of the Highlands is where you are most likely to find the classic mid-century modern and atomic ranch home. These 1950-60s houses are found east of Bogus Basin Road and south of Curling Drive.
The remainder of the Highlands Unit (1970-80s) and the “Highlands Nine” (1993-1999) portion of the subdivision can be found between Hearthstone Drive and Braemere Road, encompassed by the Crane Creek Golf Course. The Highlands Nine includes the gated “Nines Ridge” at the very end of Braemere Road.
El Pelar Estates
Located between Cartwright Road and Simplot Hill, El Pelar Estates is the most architecturally eclectic Highlands neighborhood. You will see everything from the classic Ranch and Tudor Revival to brick and Pacific Northwest traditional. Built from 1978 to the early 90s, the semi-custom homes here average 2,800 square feet with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Developed beginning in 1988 with the majority of the building continuing until 2007, Highlands Hackberry offers some of the best views in the area, particularly of the Crane Creek Golf Course. The median home size is around 3,800 square feet with four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms.
In one of the newer neighborhoods in Highlands, Hackberry Ranch, construction began in 2014. Just off Bogus Basin Road, this development promises luxury homesites and spectacular views. Pocket parks, foothills trails, and the natural beauty of the area make Hackberry Ranch an attractive neighborhood.
Highlands Cove is a new construction community that began in 2018. Technically a phase of the original Highlands subdivision, Highlands Cove features stunning views of the natural beauty around the Highlands.
A brand new neighborhood, Hackberry North features 14 view lots surrounded by open space and the foothills. Set in an ideal location, Hackberry North can offer natural beauty and downtown skyline views all at the same time.
Highlands at a Glance
- Location: The neighborhood is situated on both sides of Bogus Basin Road, northeast of the North End and south of the Central Foothills neighborhood.
- Distance from Downtown Boise: 10 minutes
- Walk Score: 15
- Bike Score: 32
- Median Home Value: $579,714
- Average Rent: $2,309
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.