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Lucky Peak State Park: Water, water, everywhere

Lucky Peak Reservoir in Idaho from Idaho highway 21
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June 22, 2018 10:13 AM

Take a 10-minute drive from downtown Boise on a summer weekend, and you’ll find scores of Idahoans lounging, swimming, picnicking and boating at this popular park.

Facts and figures

  • The park was established in 1956, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the Lucky Peak Dam.
  • Like all state parks in Idaho, the fee to enter Lucky Peak is $5 per car.
  • Especially popular among locals, Lucky Peak is the second-busiest park in Idaho’s state parks system.

History

The park was made possible due to construction of the Lucky Peak Dam, which began in 1949 and was completed in 1955.

Initially, the dam was built with a single outlet, without hydroelectric power generation. But when this proved to be inadequate, a second hydropower outlet was installed in 1986.

Lucky Peak Dam on the Boise River
Lucky Peak Dam on the Boise River

Things to see and do

The park contains three day-use units—Discovery Park, Sandy Point and Spring Shores Marina—that boast distinct attractions and activities.

Situated just 8 miles southeast of the state’s capital, Discovery Park is known for its impressive trees and rocky canyons. The beautiful setting provides an idyllic backdrop for family reunions and group gatherings. Canoers and kayakers appreciate the flat waters of the Boise River. Whether picnicking, fishing or simply stretching out on the grass, visitors will share the space with a range of waterfowl and even bald eagles in the winter.

The 34-acre stretch of Sandy Point is the park’s most popular family hangout. The water here is shallow and generally warmer than Discovery Park’s, which makes for great swimming. Kids flock to the “mushroom fountain” located near the center of the sandy swimming area. Adults can have extra peace of mind thanks to the complimentary life jackets.

Interested in boating and water sports? Head to Spring Shores Marina, located 18 miles southeast of Boise, accessed via State Highway 21. Offering lakeside access, this area includes a full-service marina, a convenience store, two boat ramps, ample trailer parking and boat and jet ski rentals.

Walking a dog in Discovery Park

Lucky Peak offers two programs geared to children: Idaho’s First Time Adventure Program introduces kids to the basics of fishing, camping and cooking in the outdoors, and provides all required gear; and the Junior Ranger Program teaches the 6- to 12-year-old set how to stay safe, have fun and protect our natural resources by earning stamps and prizes along the way.

Lucky Peak is exclusively day-use, but nearby camping options are available. Macks Creek Campground, a small, primitive park just 4.5 miles off Highway 21, offers 5 RV camping sites and 10 tent camping sites. Each features tables, covered shelters, fire pits, vault toilets and potable water via hand pump.

Best time to go

Idaho residents take advantage of the park’s many offerings after work and on weekends throughout the spring, summer and fall. But if you’re an out-of-towner planning a trip, you’ll enjoy the most pleasant temperatures between March and May and again between September and November.

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January 18, 2018 09:48 AM