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The Best Places to Swim and Splash in the Treasure Valley

You know it’s officially summer in Boise when the city announces the presence of E. coli in the Esther Simplot Pond and along the northern beaches of Quinn’s Pond recreational area. Or, like in past years, toxic algae blooms. The pond’s unique water filtration system mixed with the pond’s significant use by people, ducks, and geese, and the high temperatures of summer, lead to this problem every year. Dogs have since been banned from the ponds in an effort to reduce the growth of this harmful bacteria, but the city is hoping the new intake pipe of freshwater from the Boise River will make a significant change after its proposed completion in 2022.

So, with the temperatures reaching triple digits, you may be wondering where in the Treasure Valley is safe to swim, snorkel, or paddleboard? Here’s our list of recreational water areas near you:

Bernardine Quinn Riverside Park - the southeast side of Quinn’s Pond has been cleared safe as of right now

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Boise Cascade Lake

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Esther Simplot Park Pond 2 - formerly Veterans Park East Pond

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The Boise River

Beau’s Beach

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Red Bridge

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Eagle Island State Park - $7 per vehicle, free with Idaho State Parks Passport

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Lucky Peak State Park Discovery Unit to Boise River Dam - $7 per vehicle, free with Idaho State Parks Passport

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Sandy Point below Lucky Peak Reservoir - $7 per vehicle, free with Idaho State Parks Passport

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Lucky Peak Reservoir - $7 per vehicle, free with Idaho State Parks Passport

Barclay Bay

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Middle Cove

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Turner Gulch

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Macks Creek Park

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Arrowrock Reservoir

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Robie Creek

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Lake Lowell Park

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Payette River

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Banks Beach Picnic Area

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Swan Falls

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Black Canyon Reservoir

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Jump Creek Falls

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The Treasure Valley is a place of almost never-ending outdoor recreation. As we all muddle through this heatwave hitting the Pacific Northwest, access to free, safe, and cooling waters will help everyone. Though these spaces are public, note that lifeguards are not on duty.

If you’re looking to enjoy the water from the comfort of an inflatable, consider renting a paddleboard from Alpenglow or Boise River Raft and Tube. Need a little more adventure? Hire a professional rafting guide to safely float you and your party down the rapids and waters of the Payette River.

Tips for Swimming in Ponds, Lakes, Rivers, and Hotsprings:

  • Apply sunscreen
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks
  • Don’t swim in any water beyond your ability
  • Children under 14 should wear life vests
  • Don’t drink the water you swim in
  • Don’t use the water as a bathroom
  • Check the weather report
  • Check online resources to ensure the water hasn’t been closed due to swimmer’s itch or cyanobacteria
  • Remove all floatables from the water and leave no trace when you leave
  • Wash your hands and rinse your body with clean water after you swim

Paid Places to Swim in the Treasure Valley:


  • Roaring Springs
  • Borah Pool
  • Fairmont Pool
  • Ivywild Pool
  • Natatorium Pool and Hydrotube


  • Meridian Community Pool


  • Lakeview Water Park
  • Nampa Recreation Center
  • Lincoln Pool

Free Splash Pads in the Treasure Valley


  • Comba Park
  • The Grove Plaza Splash Pad


  • Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park
  • Settlers Park
  • Discovery Park
  • Hillsdale Park


  • Reid Merrill Park
  • Stephen C. Guerber Park

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