Zoe and I have been biking or triking to Givens Hot Springs for many years now. It’s about a 100 mile round trip from our doorstep in Boise. The trip out usually involves a lunch stop at the Kuna high school which is conveniently located at about the right point on our route and offers some protection from wind and rain. Kuna was once a sleepy agricultural community that has grown dramatically in recent years as a bedroom community for Boise and Nampa. It borders on the northern edge of the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area which offers some excellent road cycling in the high desert with smooth roads, rolling hills, and excellent views of the Owyhee mountains and many varieties of birds. After Kuna we hang left south of Nampa on highway 45 and head down into the Snake River Valley. This descent into Walter’s Ferry is one of the highlights of the ride. Here’s a video Zoe shot from the stoker’s chair during this summer’s ride.
Walter’s Ferry was the way folks crossed the Snake River until the bridge was installed in the 1920’s. Swayne’s Museum is always a stop for us where we take a stroll through elaborate, kitschy, and sometimes slightly creepy figurines, inspirational quotations, and religious symbology. Givens is a short ride after turning right onto Highway 78 south of Walter’s Ferry. In the 20’s and 30’s a popular resort hotel and spa, givens is now a pleasant oasis in the desert where families can camp and enjoy the hot springs in a clean and fairly modern concrete pool. Like so many historic buildings in the west, the hotel burned down long ago and was never rebuilt. There is usually a family of Great Horned Owls hanging out in some of the trees surrounding the site, it is always fun to hear them hooting to each other before flying off in the evening to hunt. We’ve encountered some intense thunderstorms at Givens as well, an exciting change from the generally more subdued weather we experience in Boise.