Oregon Trail Reserve

ACRES: 77  |  TRAILS: 3.5

Protected in 1990

The Oregon Trail Reserve is a 77 acre site in Southeast Boise. The area features a scenic view of the Boise Front and the historic Kelton Ramp, a path forged by overland travelers heading down the rim to the Boise River.  This site was made a "reserve" with the goal of preserving remnants of the Oregon Trail and educating the public about this valuable historic resource.

A partnership between the Boise City, the Bureau of Land Management and the residents of Surprise Valley was forged during the creation of the reserve. The Boise Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for maintenance of pathways and restrooms. The Bureau of Land Management assisted with the production and installation of interpretive signage. Surprise Valley residents help with upkeep of pathways below the rim.

Columbia Development LLC added a .4-mile gravel walking path that connects the west end of the reserve to surrounding residential neighborhoods in the Columbia Village, Surprise Valley and Homestead Rim subdivisions.  Located on the rim of the basalt cliffs separating Surprise Valley and Columbia Village, the new pathway provides spectacular views of the Barber Valley and Boise Foothills.


Health of the Reserve

In 2018, ecological health of the reserve was assessed by field technicians. Monitoring plots were strategically located across the reserve, data was collected at each point to include a species inventory, percent cover of structural functional groups (like invasive species vs. natives), shrub density, erosion and soil stability assessments, and others. Those data are summarized below and help to guide future management treatments and practices for Oregon Trail Reserve.