Bonneville Point

Bonneville—painting of emigrantsThe point is named for U.S. Army Captain Benjamin Bonneville, an early Idaho explorer whose party reached this viewpoint along an old Indian trail in 1833. Later, it became a fondly remembered location for emigrants on the Oregon Trail as they took in their first view of the Boise River Valley.

"The real viewpoint for them is when they get on Bonneville Point. They hadn’t seen trees for many miles and when they are on Bonneville Point and they are looking over the beautiful Boise valley they see the greenness along the river, the trees and the grass they know they’re going to have good water and they are going to have good grass once they get down there. So that was a pretty joyous occasion for all of them when they get up there."
--Larry Jones, Idaho State Historical Society, retired

Bonneville point—BLM gazebo"It was getting late when I reached the top of the Big Hill, around which the road leads to the Plain, which is spread out at its base, almost as far as the eye can reach; broken in the distance by the Mountains in the regions of the Malheur & Burnt Rivers. To the right rose up that majestic Range of mountains, which is the source of the river below, and from which we issued yesterday. Below, thousands of feet below, were seen the water of this beautiful river winding there tranquil course & gleaming like a thread of silver in the rays of the setting sun. The stream seemed as calm and gentle, as if its way was through a meadow, instead of rugged canyons. After reaching the plain, the course of the stream is marked by a line of green timber, which gave rise to Bonneville point—view from pointits name among the early trappers 'Boisse' or the 'Wooded River'. This green strip of vegetation winding its way through the desert sage plain, gave a more cheerful prospect to the view and after gazing once more on the vast map spread out before me I rapidly descended the hill to find a camp for the tired train; but never can the recollection of the grandeur of that scene be blotted from memory... . the sunset from the Big Hill of Boisse will always be a greene spot in the past."
--Winfield Ebey, August, 1864

Today, Bonneville Point is a Bureau of Land Management site complete with interpretive signs and historical markers. And though it has changed significantly in the last century and a half, there’s still a great view from the point.