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Chief Eagle Eye Reserve – formerly Castle Rock – a sacred healing place for Native Americans

This story is an excerpt from our new book Boise: City of Trees, available for purchase NOW! Order here.

Near the Old Idaho Penitentiary in the Boise Foothills, a rock cropping stands out in dramatic fashion.

The exposed bedrock is part of a 49-acre site known Chief Eagle Eye Reserve, formerly called Castle Rock Reserve. Today, this preserved and protected area is associated with a popular hiking trail that surrounds it, Castle Rock Loop, but many years ago, it was a sacred place of healing for Native Americans.

Geothermal hot springs used to flow into small creeks, forming bathing ponds at the reserve. The ponds were frequented by the Shoshone, Bannock, and Paiute tribes and used for healing and spiritual purposes. The surrounding area was also a burial site for their ancestors.

According to the City of Boise, in 1990, Native American tribes and the East End Neighborhood Association campaigned to protect the area from development. Their efforts were successful, and the property was purchased from the developer with funds raised by the neighborhood association, the Shoshone – Bannock tribes, and the City of Boise.

The area was officially named Castle Rock Reserve at the time. Hiking trails were rerouted in an effort to be respectful of the burial ground and 3,000 native plants were reintroduced to the area.

In 2019, Castle Rock Reserve was renamed Chief Eagle Eye Reserve. Chief Eagle Eye was the leader of a group of Native Americans who refused to relocate to the reservations and instead lived discreetly in the Idaho Mountains for twenty years in the late 1800s.

Chief Eagle Eye Reserve is a place where people can enjoy nature’s beauty and honor the Native Americans who first called these lands home.

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Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons is BoiseDev's managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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