Disc golf courses have been springing up like wildflowers over the last 10 years in Boise Valley and across Idaho. Enthusiasts of the sport can now choose from an incredible variety in playing on courses that feature mellow parklands to mountain terrain, such as Bogus Basin Ski Area.
“It’s amazing how it’s growing,” says Joe Koehler, who came to Boise in the late 1970s and played before there were even legitimate golf discs available in the area. It was a time before formal courses, when players used Frisbees to hit trees, utility poles, and other “holes” like park benches.
Nowadays, professionally planned courses are everywhere, and Koehler is overseeing one of the largest selections of discs and other disc golf supplies at McU Sports in Downtown Boise. He points to several reasons for the sport's growth: It's inexpensive, fun to play at any level, and offers an enjoyable way to keep fit.
Koehler has watched seven or eight courses pop up around the Boise area in recent years, and that’s not counting new ones in outlying cities and at Idaho state parks, where disc golf is a hole-in-one way to provide another activity besides hiking, camping, boating, or fishing.
Several courses located in and around Boise make great day outings. For a longer excursion, golfers can plan camping trips to try courses at some of Idaho’s state parks. The group Gem State Disc Golfers also offers resources. Here, the best disc golf courses near Boise and beyond.
Ann Morrison Park
Located off Americana Boulevard in Boise, Ann Morrison Park was one of the first parks in the area with a course. It offers a 20-hole, grassy, well-maintained course with flat terrain, trees, and fun water hazards like swampy ditches and ponds. Road tees are wheelchair-accessible, and the park also has summer and winter courses.
Bogus Basin Ski Area
When the snow melts, two loop courses test golfers on mountainous terrain at the Bogus Basin Ski Area. There are plenty of trees on the mountain and lots of beautiful mountain views. Experts recommend wearing hiking boots on the mountain courses.
The Simplot Lodge (lower lodge) course is beginner-friendly and all holes are visible from the patio of the lodge, while Pioneer Lodge (upper lodge) has a challenging 18-hole course.
This is a primitive 20-hole course in Lydle Gulch on the south side of Lucky Peak Dam, just seven miles east of Boise, off State Highway 21. Located in hilly sagebrush terrain, near Sandy Point, the year-round course can get very hot in the summer because of the dry landscape with no shade trades; a better bet is to hit it early (or in the winter).
Sandy Point beach, below Lucky Peak Dam, has a 12-hole course in a well-groomed park setting from September to May. The area doesn’t get much snow, so the course is usually accessible most of the winter. No golf is allowed in the warmer months because the area is very crowded with swimmers. It can be a challenging course with lots of mature trees around, as well as some hilly areas that demand accuracy; tee pads are a combination of grass and pavement. There is a $5 state park entry fee if you don't have an Idaho State Park pass, and maps available at the entrance kiosk.
West Park (in Nampa)
This nine-hole course is located in Nampa’s West Park on Lone Star Road, east of Midland Road. It is in a park-like setting, mostly flat and lightly wooded with a pond. The park is a very popular spot, so for a less crowded excursion on the disc golf course, hit it early or during the week.
Eagle Island State Park
Eagle Island is an urban, day-use state park with swimming (and a waterslide!), fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. However, there's year-round disc golf with a nine-hole course available May through October, as well as an 18-hole course open November through April. Golfers like the woodsy feel of the park and also some of the water and brush hazards. It is located west of Boise in the Eagle area on Hatchery Drive, east of Linder Road between Idaho 44 and East Chinden Boulevard.
Rock Creek Park (Twin Falls)
Located in the town of Twin Falls, about 125 miles from Boise, Rock Creek offers great views and a good course layout, with nine holes and a few water hazards. Get there by taking the Twin Falls exit off the freeway and hitting Blue Lakes Boulevard. Then take Filer Avenue all the way west. Stay straight at the turn in the road. Go down the hill and right into the parking lot.
Lake Walcott State Park
The state park is known for its fishing and boating, but the 21-hole disc golf course gets raves from pros and families alike. Located in a grassy part of the park, the course features mostly flat, easy terrain and short holes. The challenge is upped in several spots with water hazards, too. It's 11 miles northeast of Rupert off State Highway 24, the park is located several hours from Boise via I-84 East.
Massacre Rocks State Park
You’ll have to drive about three and a half hours from Boise to reach Massacre Rocks State Park , and once you arrive, the course is almost as menacing as the park's name would suggest. Its slogan—"It ain't your momma's disc golf course"—indicates that what's in store on the front nine and back nine have some tougher-than-averaga terrain, with juniper and sagebrush, narrow fairways, elevation drops and rises, and several holes that golfers will be throwing over ravines. In other words, we would be surprised to see Survivor contestants attempting a challenge there one day.
Tamarack Ski Resort
It’s a ski resort in the winter, but there’s a disc golf course in the summer (along with mountain biking, hiking, and traditional golf). The disc course is nestled in a mountain pine forest, with elevation gains on the first nine holes and sensational views overlooking Lake Cascade. The last nine holes are in the open with long downhill drives. This area is very scenic overlooking Lake Cascade, and an easy day trip from Boise. Drive 90 miles north on State Highway 55 from Boise to Donnelly and follow the signs.
Three Island Crossing State Park
About a 90-minute trip from Boise, Three Island is known for its Oregon Trail history and bird watching, but also keep an eye out for flying discs. The park has a nine-hole course, but park officials plan to expand it with another nine holes. The current course is set on a grassy parklike flat in the picnic area near the Snake River. Take Interstate 84 east from Boise about 70 miles to Glenns Ferry and follow the signs.
Farragut State Park
This beautiful state park in North Idaho is known for boating on its Lake Pend Oreille. But it also has three 18-hole disc golf courses—the Wreckreator, Northstar, and A.W.O.L.—that offer a fun long weekend getaway from Boise. It also has The Little Black Bear, a nine-hole short course that offers a fun and entertaining course for beginners. It might be best to make the trip from the Treasure Valley up U.S. 95 (or State Highway 55 and U.S. 95). It is reached off U.S. 95 at Athol. Go east on Idaho 54 for four miles. There is a $5 day use fee.
Hells Gate State Park
This state park, located in Lewiston, offers a good stopover for one night on the way to Farragut. It encompasses a nine-hole course on flat parkland, with weedy areas and some trees. Discs can get lost in the willows along the Snake River, so keep a focus on accuracy. Turn off U.S. 95 into Lewiston and follow signs to the park; there’s a $5 day use fee.