Thursday, April 15, 2010

Celebrate latest Boise Foothills purchase with an outing in Polecat Gulch in NW Boise

Good views from the trail

Wendy Wilson in Polecat Gulch

(Click on map to enlarge)

It's going to be a freakin' gorgeous weekend, it appears, so many folks will be itching to get outside.

In case you'd like to stay close to home, in between working in the garden or mowing the lawn, consider heading out for a hike, trail run or a mountain bike ride in Polecat Gulch, a relatively new open space reserve and trail system in Northwest Boise.

While you're there, you can ponder that the City of Boise this week announced the purchase of an additional 80 acres of land in Polecat Gulch for $270,000, even though it was appraised at $500K. Check out the article in the Statesman.

Over the last several years, the city has spent more than $2.2 million to purchase 520 acres of land in Polecat Gulch. The area lies in between Cartwright Road and Hill Road near N. Collister Drive. Trails in Polecat are featured in my guidebooks, the Boise Trail Guide and Mountain Biking in Boise.

There are eight miles of trails in Polecat Gulch. It's all singletrack. Several sections that parallel Cartwright Road are sandy, so watch out for that. The Polecat Loop Trail traces the tops of numerous finger ridges as it does a circular tour of the gulch. The Doe Ridge spur trails and Quick Draw Trail add variety. I like to turn on the tunes and just cruise around in there and try different variations.

Overall, it's a 5-mile loop to circumnavigate Polecat Gulch, but by mixing it up, you can add more distance, if you're on a bike. It takes about an hour to do the loop on a mountain bike and a little longer running. Hiking time is two hours.

Check out the map for details and have fun! Watch for wildlife. You'll see red-tailed hawks flying overhead, and if you're lucky, you might see some of the resident deer. This is one area where an albino deer has been seen.


-- SS