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Take a Break from Treefort, Without Leaving the City

Rent a bike or hit the slopes this weekend

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It's all fun and games until... well, there is no "until" during Treefort Music Fest, when music fans descend on the City of Trees for four days of nearly nonstop concerts and parties.

But sometimes you just need a breather from all the high-volume fun. Thankfully, Boise is an outdoorsy kind of place, where there are plenty of ways to stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh air--other than by walking from venue to venue, that is.

Here are a few tips on how and where to do some in-town recreating between concerts.

Biking

Boiseans love their bikes, and there are plenty of ways to get around on two wheels.

The jewel of the city's bike network is the Greenbelt, a 22-mile-long paved pathway along the Boise River connecting Lucky Peak Reservoir in the east to the edge of Garden City to the west.

The path leads through or past some of the area's favorite outdoor playgrounds, including Julia Davis Park and the Boise River Recreation Park, as well as providing connections to Boise State University and other local points of interest.

Greenbelt maps and details can be found at parks.cityofboise.org.

If you're more interested in paths of the single-track, non-paved variety, Boise is also home to the extensive Ridge to Rivers trail system crisscrossing the Foothills. Spring can be a touchy time for the trail system since conditions can change so quickly and riders are asked to stay off wet or muddy trails.

The recent dry weather, though, means that lower elevation trails are dry and ready to ride. Trails in the Table Rock area (that hill with the cross on top overlooking the Old Idaho State Penitentiary) are in great condition, as are trails in the Hulls Gulch and Camels Back area--all of which are just minutes from downtown.

The folks who maintain the trails have made it easy to find not only maps, but daily updates on trail conditions online at ridgetorivers.org.

If you didn't think to bring a bike to a music festival (duh), you're not completely out of luck. Several bike shops in or near downtown rent bikes for hourly or daily use.

Idaho Mountain Touring, 1310 W. Main St., rents city bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes for between $15 and $35 (not counting demo bikes) for four hours or $25-$65 for a full day.

The IMT folks are offering a special deal for musicians in town for Treefort--any band member who comes in with a wristband and ID can rent a bike for free for two hours.

The store ran a similar offer last year and was caught a little off guard with how quickly the bikes were claimed, said general manager Chris Haunold. This year, the system has been refined and time limits placed on rentals to give more people the chance to use a bike.

Bikes 2 Boards, 3525 W. State St., also offers bikes for rent, starting at about $20 for a city bike. Would-be bikers can also pick up a rental at McU Sports, 822 W. Jefferson St., which rents both cruisers and mountain bikes for $25-$50, depending on the bike.

Kayaking

OK, so the Boise River is a little cold and running a bit low right now, but those with the right equipment can check out Boise's in-town whitewater park.

The Boise River Recreation Park--located near where Pleasanton Avenue runs into the river--opened less than a year ago, but is already a favorite haunt for local kayakers.

Get details and check out the live webcam at boiseriverpark.com.

Climbing

Those in search of some vertical action can head to one of the area's climbing walls.

The Downtown YMCA, 1050 W. State St., boasts a respectable wall, but those without a membership can also head to Urban Ascent, 308 S. 25th St., where a day pass costs $15.

Anyone in search of a bouldering wall can head to Asana Climbing Gym, 3235 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City. A day pass runs $12 and, as a bonus, Payette Brewing Company is next door.

Skateparks

Those who brought their boards with them can check out two skateparks in the downtown area.

First up is Rhodes Skatepark, 1555 W. Front St., located beneath the I-184 overpass. The park boasts plenty of rails, ledges, ramps, a brick bank, pyramid and a half pipe.

Farther to the east, hit Fort Boise Skatepark on the corner of Fort and Reserve streets. The concrete park includes bowls, a pyramid and a spine.

Skiing

Want to hit the slopes for a little spring skiing? Boise's hometown hill, Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area overlooking the city, is still open for the season, although night skiing has ended.

A day pass runs $48, while a half-day pass costs $38. Gear rentals are available on the mountain, as well as at numerous area ski shops. Get more details online at bogusbasin.org.

Golf

If you're the type of music fan who travels with his or her clubs, then spring is a magical time to visit Boise--when you can ski and golf in the same day.

Boise even has its own city course on the eastern edge of downtown. Warm Springs Golf Course, 2495 Warm Springs Ave., offers 18 holes along the river--although goose droppings can be considered a hazard along certain holes.

Green fees during the week run $21 for nine holes or $26 for 18, or $22 for nine and $30 for 18 on the weekend. For more info, visit wsgc.cityofboise.org.

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