Greenbelt

Members of the Maywald family explore the rock gardens along the Idaho Falls River Walk before heading to the airport to head back to their home in Texas on June 12, 2019.

After a brief recess last weekend, summer seems to be back in eastern Idaho. With warm weather and sunshine came crowds of people to Idaho Falls’ River Walk on Wednesday.

The River Walk, 5 miles of recreational green space and walking and biking paths along the Snake River, provides an opportunity for all kinds of activities — and with a view.

One can feast their eyes on the beautiful trees and the thundering falls.

“Are the falls natural?” one visitor asked. (They aren’t.)

Or, if one prefers people-watching to nature, they can watch frustrated drivers maneuver the traffic cones on West Broadway.

Idaho Falls residents and tourists, old and young people, cyclists and walkers and even one angler were enjoying the River Walk on Wednesday.

“We’re going to walk,” said Nancy Carpenedo, 74, of Idaho Falls, who was joined by her husband, Bob Carpenendo, 74. “We walk all sections — not all in one day.”

The River Walk has four sections, varying in distance. A walk or ride around Freeman Park is 1 mile. From West Broadway to John’s Hole and around is 2.3 miles. John’s Hole to Freeman Park is about half a mile. And West Broadway to Pancheri and back is a mile and a half.

“We love it down here,” Nancy Carpenedo said. “It’s beautiful, it’s peaceful.”

The Carpenedos come to the River Walk at least once a week, sometimes more. On Wednesday they were waiting for a walking group from Friends for Learning, an Idaho State University educational and social program for people 50 and older.

The Carpenedos prefer to walk the south end of the River Walk. That’s closer to where they live.

“We usually like to walk the Snake River Landing side,” Bob Carpenedo said. “It’s really pleasant to walk through that neighborhood.”

Nancy Carpeneno said the River Walk has changed a lot in recent decades, thanks, in large part, to the Idaho Falls Rotary Club and its annual Duck Race, which raises money for beautification projects near the Snake River in Idaho Falls.

“It’s changed so much since we moved here 44 years ago,” Nancy Carpenedo said. “It’s expanded. You can see how popular it’s getting because they had to put a divided road in.”

Doris Maywald, 73, and Archie Maywald, 75, of Tomball, Texas, were enjoying the River Walk with their extended family on Wednesday before their flight back home, near Houston.

While the younger ones played on the rocks, Doris and Archie stood in the shade of a tree.

The Maywalds were here visiting Yellowstone National Park.

While the River Walk is “pretty,” Archie Maywald said, it doesn’t compare to what they saw up north: animals and hills.

“We had a really good time,” Doris Maywald said.

Like the Snake River itself, the Maywalds — after seeing bears, moose, bison, mountain goats, antelope and a wolf — made their way through the hills of Caribou-Targhee National Forest to Idaho Falls. Here they got one last look of eastern Idaho’s natural beauty before flying back to the subtropical humidity of the Houston area.

They’ll be back, they said.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-542-6762. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.