Surrounded by the Boise National Forest, Garden Valley/Crouch, Idaho is an outdoor recreation playground. Sly Owl Ranch is the ideal basecamp for boaters, hikers, mountain bikers, skiers & snowshoers.
The Middle and South Forks of the Payette River converge just beyond our mountain town, a short 2 miles away from the ranch. The confluence of the Main and North Forks at Banks is six miles to the west. From the scenic Canyon stretch to the wild roar of the North Fork, Sly Owl is the perfect place for boaters to wrap up the day.
The Idaho Hot Springs mountain bike loop, a 500-mile mix of trails, passes right through Garden Valley. Trails for riding and hiking in the area range from short and mellow to exhilarating, rugged, all-day epic adventures. Have we mentioned there are a dozen hot springs within a mile or two of the ranch? All this is just an easy, 1-hour drive from Boise.
Many consider Idaho the whitewater capital of the US. The Ranch is 1.5 miles off the S. Fork of the Payette and put-ins are accessible within just a couple miles. The Main is 6 miles west at Banks. Run on your own or go with one of the nearby outfitters.
Need a shuttle? Call us to arrange for a minimal fee.
Nearby runs: Staircase, Swirly Canyon, the Canyon, Helende,
the Main, Cabarton. American Whitewater posts conditions.
Bear Valley - at Banks. (The cafe makes awesome breakfast sandwiches. Lunch/dinner are also tasty)
Idaho Whitewater Unlimited - HQ is only 1.5miles from the Ranch toward Crouch
Payette River Company - just past Lowman Ranger Station
Cascade Raft & Kayak - between Horseshoe Bend & Banks
Floats - there are great lazy floats in the area. Try the N. Fork north of Crouch and the S. Fork at Aldercreek. Be prepared (PFD, know the river, be smart!) You can likely find an inflatable at Middle Fork Trading Post.
Idaho has a lot of them! Several guidebooks and websites detail what the pools are like and how to get to them.
Natural hot springs near Sly Owl Ranch: Little Anderson, Hot Springs Campground, Pine Flats, Rocky Canyon, Fire Crew, Pine Burl... For more info, look for hot springs in Banks, Crouch & Garden Valley.
Maintained hot springs nearby: Terrace Lakes pool, Silver Creek Plunge
The rules at one apply to them all - DO NOT bring GLASS in or near a hot springs. And don't leave litter.
We have a lot of hills nearby! Sled on Sly Owl Ranch property, at your own risk of course.
Or, head to Terrace Lakes for longer runs on the front nine of the golf course. They have a restaurant and bar onsite for getting cocoa and other warming beverages, and snacks after your sledding session.
Garden Valley's trail system is growing! There are miles of trails to explore. We might not have lifts, but a little sweat pays dividends with fast, fun descents, and stunning scenery. Find a trail on your own, ask us for recommendations or check the following:
Boise County Adventures shares maps and directions on local trails free for the taking
Adventure Cycling recently released a 500+mile Idaho Mountain Bike Hot Springs Route map (with a 200+mi singletrack supplement) that runs through Crouch. Riding through and want a lift to Sly Owl? Give us a call.
The Garden Valley HS mtb club has put in two, easily-accessible trails - one at Schoolhouse Gulch in Garden Valley and the second off Aldercreek Rd at MM6
There are endless miles of trails in the area to explore. Gentle, well-trodden paths for an easy stroll with youngsters. Hard-charging trails that make quads burn. Long multi-day routes. There are trails for all abilities. A couple favorites:
Julie Creek Trail - 6+ miles following the Deadwood River and Deadwood Ridge
Moon Dipper Hot Springs - 4+ miles of moderate trail
Find more trail options in the Emmett Ranger District on the Forest Service website. Or pick up a copy of The Hiker's Guide to Greater Boise at the library or your local bookshop. The Ranch has a few copies that can be checked out as well.
SKIING & SNOWSHOEING
Backcountry skiing - there's a lot of terrain around here for backcountry/AT skiing. We're happy to give recommendations or consult your best topo maps. Pack and prepare for backcountry conditions: avi beacons, gear, and the knowledge how to use it.
Cross country & snowshoeing - ski/snowshoe the road at Sly Owl Ranch, keeping an eye out for our neighboring deer and elk. Head to Terrace Lakes and use their trails along the golf course.
Golf - Terrace Lakes has an 18-hole course tucked in a pretty valley. Check out their natural hot springs pool too - a great end to any day! They have a variety of events throughout the year including a summertime wine and art festival, too.
Trail Rides & Sleigh Rides - Let your inner cowgirl/cowboy out on a gen-u-ine horseback trail ride. Or snuggle close with loved ones on a winter wonderland sleigh ride.
Outdoor Theater - Always a fun night, Starlight Mountain Theater puts on a handful of different shows from mid-May through early-September. Shows are at an outdoor theater in Crouch and word-to-the-wise, bring a sweater or jacket even in summer. This is the mountains after all! The shows are so fun. Not so into musicals? You'll still have a great time!
Crouch - There are many events in town from the summer farmers' market, to art gallery events, whitewater festivals, summertime outdoor movies, and the infamous 4th of July parade and fireworks free-for-all. Stroll through the handful of shops in town for local crafts and gifts. Check out local artwork at the Garden Valley Center for the Arts, or tree carving at Tom's Tree Creations. Grab a read at the used book store "house". Or grab eats and drinks at one of the restaurants in town. Garden Valley Market has a good selection of groceries, rents movies and also has the only Idaho State liquor store inside a grocery store. The Garden Valley facebook page is a great resource for happenings.
Crouch Farmers Market - Come see us at the Crouch Farmers Market, Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9am-1pm where we sell fresh produce and culinary mushrooms! Located in downtown Crouch. **Farmers Market 2020 opens on June 27, per Idaho State reopening plans.