Boise Highlights: Greenbelt & Former Penitentiary

A Return to Boise, ID

Two years ago, while driving back to San Antonio from the solar eclipse, we bypassed downtown Boise, only seeing Idaho’s state capitol building. Finding ourselves just an hour away, we decided to explore two of the city’s highlights: the Boise River Greenbelt and the Old Idaho Penitentiary.

Discovering the Boise River Greenbelt

Boise should be proud of its Greenbelt – an urban 25-mile stripe of nature winding through the heart of Boise! Every city should strive for such a green space, allowing residents to reconnect with nature in the city’s heart. We were pleasantly surprised to discover a hidden connection with the Netherlands. Anne Frank’s name is given to a human rights memorial on the Greenbelt. Her statue is beautiful.
After a two-hour walk, we headed to the Owyee Tavern downtown for a delightful lunch on the outdoor patio. Vegetarian burgers and wine while soaking in the sunshine on their outdoor patio were the perfect reward for our exploration.

A Step Back in Time: The Old Idaho Penitentiary

Refueled and refreshed, we continued our walk to the “Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site,” which was operational from 1872 to 1973. Constructed in the Victorian era, the Old Idaho Penitentiary housed over 13,000 inmates throughout this time frame.
The sign outside mentioned we should have preordered tickets online to avoid large crowds inside. However, we could still buy the entrance tickets because it was quiet. Stepping inside, we encountered an undeniably chilling atmosphere within the death row cells and the gallows. The outside looked friendlier with a rose garden; however, this spot was also used to hang prisoners.
Having never visited a prison with a history of capital punishment, the Old Idaho Penitentiary offered a fascinating yet unsettling look into Idaho’s past. While the experience was undeniably chilling, I was grateful to be back outside. The thought of executions on the very ground I stood on caused a sense of unease. Regardless of the crimes committed, I hope those souls found peace.


Friday, April 2, 2021


7.84 miles

Moving Time

2:34:33 hours


73 °F, light breeze, sunny