The small town of Boise, located northwest of Boise, is situated in the middle of a fertile valley known for its fruit production. This once-arid area was first irrigated in the early 20th century. It soon earned the nickname “Valley of Plenty”.
Summer is a great time to visit Emmett. There are U-pick farms that welcome visitors, an active farmers’ market, and the Emmett Cherry Festival.
Emmett has many small-town attractions and amenities with a downhome vibe and loyal clientele. The dramatic beauty of the Boise Mountains can be found at Squaw Butte. It dominates the northern horizon, Black Canyon Dam, and is flanked by tall, green hills.
The Payette River flows through Emmett and is known for its whitewater rafting. There are Class II and Class III rapids about half an hour upstream.
1. Emmett City Park
Emmett’s biggest urban park is located just a few blocks east of downtown. It is absolutely packed with facilities.
This well-kept area is dotted with mature trees and has picnic shelters as well as tennis courts, exercise stations, tennis court, and more.
Emmett City Park hosts large-scale events such as the Cherry Festival in June.
The Emmett Show and Shine is also happening in the same month. It features 1000+ cars, many of which are rare, and there will be a swap meet. The event features a wide selection of food and live music.
2. Gem Historical Village Museum
This museum features a collection from historic buildings and documents Emmett’s early days.
The main exhibit reflects on the early days of prospectors and miners, trappers, early settlers, and Native Americans who lived here for centuries.
Emmett’s past is highlighted here by irrigation, which enabled the city to grow its fruit industry.
For a glimpse into Emmett’s past, you can visit a parlor, general store, doctor/dentist’s, or laundry room.
Other buildings include a blacksmith shop and a bunkhouse, school house, and the cottage of Frank W. Hunt (1861-1906), which is furnished with original family possessions.
3. Black Canyon Park
Just a few miles downstream from Emmett is the Payette River, which is impound by a dam that was built in the 1950s for irrigation or hydroelectricity.
The Black Canyon Reservoir is a long and narrow reservoir with more than 12 miles shoreline and four parks along the water.
Black Canyon Park is the largest, at 12 acres, and offers a stunning view of the canyon’s steep, tall face.
You’ll find amenities such as a beach, swimming area, large tree-shaded grassy area, barbecues and picnic tables, gazebos and a horseshoe pit. There are also restrooms and a boat launch and docks.
4. Tyler’s Rocky Point Orchard
This family-owned orchard is located on the outskirts of the city. It has a stunning location at the foot the Emmett Valley ridge.
This idyllic location allows you to pick your own plums, blueberries, blueberries, cherries and apricots.
The picking season runs from mid-June through the end October. You can check the facebook page of the orchard to see what fruit is ripe.
Rocky Point is a great place to see the entire valley from after picking your own fruits.
5. Squaw Butte
The Emmett Valley’s highest peak is visible from the valley. It is also capped with snow in late April.
Squaw Butte (5894 feet) can be seen from Emmett. It appears to be an isolated mountain but has a ridge that stretches eight miles and connects to the Boise Mountains.
Squaw Butte has an interesting fact. It was used for wintering by Native Americans for hundreds upon hundreds of years. The potentially offensive name was probably invented by them, not European settlers.
Emmett, which is the main entrance point to gravel roads for hiking trips, is ideal as the eastern slopes can be very steep. If you are looking for solitude and stunning views, the main 13-mile track can be used as a hike or driving route.
6. Freezeout Hill
This spot is located on the ridge near Tyler’s Rocky Point Orchard and offers a panoramic view of the valley.
Freezeout Hill was named in the 1860s, when the valley was still being settled. To negotiate the slope, old-timers had to lock their wheels. It would take up to a day for a freight wagon to be hauled up the hill by 12 horses.
A group of freighters had no choice but to camp at the top of the hill in winter 1864, rather than risking the treacherous slope. This is where the name “Freezeout” was born.
Robert M. McCracken, a former Congressman, was killed in his car after it crashed through a guardrail and fell down this hill.
Today’s memorial consists of a flagpole, more than 950 engraved bricks and a plaque that pays tribute to all who have served in the military or are lawyers.
7. KT’s Lanes
This small, but well-maintained bowling alley is a favorite among Emmett residents. KT’s Lanes is located on the south side Emmett and hosts tournaments and leagues for all ages.
Book a party or a slot for casual play. Unlimited bowling is available Friday night from 6pm to 12am, and cosmic bowling with a blacklight starting at 8 pm Saturdays.
There are ten lanes, so it is a smart idea to make a reservation to ensure a slot.
8. Frontier Cinema
This family-run cinema is located in the heart of Emmett and has been there since at least 1920. The Frontier Cinema, formerly known as the Ideal Theater, was a cinema that was open for the majority of its existence. It still has a charming Art Moderne façade.
It’s like stepping back in time to watch a movie. Tickets are available at a concession price of $2.50 on Tuesdays. You’ll also be welcomed by Roy upon your arrival. On your way out, he’ll ask you how the show was.
9. Gem Island Sports Complex
A 55-acre sports complex has been built on an island in the Payette River. It was once an abandoned feedlot.
There is a skatepark, eight softball and baseball fields, as well as two soccer fields. There are also volleyball and basketball courts.
It is also available for passive recreation with a 1.1-mile paved pathway, picnic areas and a fishing pond. The island has begun to receive wildlife with nest boxes for woodpeckers, ducks and owls.
Gem Island Sports Complex hosts the Fourth of July Celebrations in the county. There are fireworks displays and food trucks.
10. Roystone Hot Springs
Idaho has hot springs that bubble up, creating mini resorts. This is located just a few miles from Sweet, Idaho.
Roystone Hot Springs offers a pool and 12-seater spa that can be rented out for an hour or half an hour. Both hot tubs are heated by natural mineral water. The hot tub heats up to 104 degrees F.
Roystone Hot Springs water contains high levels of potassium and silica. It also has high levels bicarbonate and chloride. This helps blood pressure, blood circulation, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. If you’re just passing by, the pool often offers public sessions.
11. 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards
You can find the largest family-owned winery of Idaho just a few miles from Emmett, in the Eagle Foothills AVA.
Although this remote ranch is hidden in the hills might seem unlikely for a vineyard location, 3 Horse Ranch has been thriving since 2002.
This estate, which is constantly growing, now covers approximately 50 acres and produces a large portion of the grapes used in the winery’s range.
These include Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris. Syrah, Syrah. Grenache. Cabernet Sauvignon. Petit Verdot.
The patio at the tasting room is a great place to relax with a glass of wine and a snack tray. 3 Horse Ranch offers many tasting experiences and tours if you are interested in learning more about the wine’s journey.
12. Emmett Farmers’ Market
You can’t miss the chance to visit the local farmer’s market in a city called the “Valley of Plenty”.
The Emmett Farmers Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday in the spring and the summer. It offers world-class produce and vegetables direct from the grower as well as herbs and nuts, homemade salsas, jams and delicious baked goods.
You will also find a variety of arts and crafts such as jewelry, knitwear, crocheted products, and polished rocks. Market takes place right under the trees of Blaser Park, just off Washington Avenue.
13. Emmett Cherry Festival
The Payette River’s verdant banks are lined by stone fruit farms around Emmett. Cherries are a local specialty.
They are also the stars of Idaho’s oldest local festival which has been going since the 1930s. The Emmett Cherry Festival attracts thousands of people from the area and offers four days of entertainment in mid-June.
The program includes a carnival, a parade and kids’ parade, a 5k race, more than 100 vendors, free concerts, and a host other games. There are also a cherry pie eating contest, and a cherry pit spitting competition.
14. Gem County Fair
The Gem County Fairgrounds are located on the south side. They host tons of events throughout each year, including horse racing, sled pulls and livestock shows, as well as the annual Harvest Festival in September.
The Gem County Fair and Rodeo is one event you should mark on your calendar. It takes place over four days, usually at the very end of July or the beginning of August.
This includes the traditional livestock and crop demonstrations, contests, and fashion revues. There is also a wealth entertainment on the midway stage, including many vendors and a wealth.
The rodeo is the heart of entertainment. There are 14 events that range from steer wrestling to bareback bronc riding.
15. Whitewater Rafting on The Payette River
Payette River is well-known for its whitewater. Its wild sections of the North Fork or South Fork are particularly notable. They meet at Banks, approximately 30 miles northeast from Emmett.
Cascade Raft & Kayak is a little closer to Emmett. They are based in Horseshoe Bend and can offer thrilling trips on Class I, III, and IV rapids on the North Fork, South Fork, and along the main stem downstream of Banks.
If you take a moment to look up at the river, you will be amazed by the beauty of the landscape as you glide through canyons and along densely forested slopes that are teeming in wildlife.
The “Splash Half Day” package is a favorite for families. It’s a three-hour adventure on the main stem that tackles Class II and Class III rapids along the route from Banks to Cascade River Center.