Thursday, March 14, 2013

Boise Foothills trails teeming with people, low- and mid-elevation trails ready to ride

Climbing from Military Reserve to Crestline ... Doug Lawrence and Huck 
Trail-runners on Bucktail Trail 
Hi all,

The recent cool, windy weather, combined with unseasonably warm weather this week have dried out the trails in the Boise Foothills. People have been out hiking, trail-running and biking in droves. I've been one of them. I'm excited about riding this year. With every ride, I feel my legs getting stronger, my lungs have greater capacity, and my pointer, Huck, can pretty much run forever.

Here's the official Ridge to Rivers report dated today. They are encouraging people to get out and hike, run and ride:

Great Day for Trail Use
"A THANK YOU to all the people posting their trail adventures on our Facebook Page, Boise Foothills Trail Conditions! Not much change in conditions for today. Expect to see those short muddy sections get even shorter with some becoming packed tread. Get out and enjoy the trails."

For this week's tip, here are some recommendations for dynamite hikes, trail-runs and bike rides in the Foothills. The tips come from my trail guides, Mountain Biking in Boise  and Boise Trail Guide. It's important to focus on the mid- to lower foothills trails right now. The upper trails and the Boise Ridge Road are still snow-bound. The trails in the mid- to upper foothills, such as the Watchman Trail, are still wet and greasy in some places, so it's best to wait for them to dry in the coming weeks.
  • Cross-Foothills Ride (Intermediate; strenuous in places) - 10 miles. 2 hours riding time. Strong intermediate. Today, I rode up to the Corrals Trail (trailhead is 1.8 miles north of Curling Drive on Bogus Basin Road), rode Corrals to Corrals Summit, and then rode downhill on Corrals and Trail #1 over to Hulls Gulch. Then I took Crestline to Military Reserve, and dropped out on the Freestone Creek Trail in Military Reserve near Fort Boise. The hardest part of the ride is climbing to Corrals Summit (3 miles uphill from trailhead, 1,200 feet of vertical gain). Then it's mostly downhill to Military Reserve, with a few uphill sections in between. Fun ride! Hardy mountain trail runners would enjoy that route as well.
  • Crestline-Hulls Loop - 7.25 miles. Moderate. 2.5 hours hiking time; 1.5 hours running time; 1.25 hours riding time. Intermediate. Start from Camelsback Park in Boise on N. 13th. Find the trailhead behind the tennis courts. Climb on Owls Roost and Kestrel to Crestline. Follow Crestline to the Hulls Gulch Junction. Turn left and descend on Hulls Gulch. It's rocky and uneven in places. When you reach the 8th Street trailhead by the Foothills Learning Center, turn right, cross 8th Street, and finish the ride on Red Fox Trail, which leads you back to Camelsback Park.
  • Variations on Crestline-Hulls Loop - Advanced. Ride the loop in reverse, or climb Hulls. It's a challenge, but fun! Another favorite of mine is to start at Camelsback Park, climb Hulls to the Crestline junction, ride Crestline back to the Sidewinder trailhead, climb Sidewinder, come down Trail #4 to the Hulls Crestline junction, and descend Hulls and Chickadee Ridge back to Camelsback.
  • Military Reserve Short Loop - 2 miles, less than 1 hour hiking time. Easy, with a short hill. Here's a shorter tour for families and small kids. Start at the Toll Road Trailhead off of Mountain Cove Road. Go up the Toll Road Trail less than a mile to a junction. Go left and climb up to the initial summit of Military Ridge. Turn left and descend on a singletrack trail leading to Freestone Creek Trail over by the dirt road. Turn left on Freestone and return to the trailhead. 
  • Seaman's Gulch Double Loop - 3 miles total. 1+ hours hiking time; 30-45 minutes running time; 30 minutes riding time. Easy. Take Hill Road west in Boise to the Seaman's Gulch/Hidden Springs right-hand turnoff. Go right and follow Seaman's Gulch Road to a nice paved parking area and rest room next to a large water tank. Take the Valley View Trail #111 to the right, and then take the first left on Trail #110 to Phlox Trail #112, turn left and return to the trailhead for a one-mile short loop. Now go back on Valley View, and keep going out to the true "valley view" viewpoint provided by the trail, hanging above the Boise Valley. The trail loops around to Phlox and returns to the trailhead.
Please see the Ridge to Rivers map or check out my books for more hiking, biking and trail-running possibilities in the Boise Foothills. The Boise Trail Guide features 76 hikes and trail runs within an hour of Boise, including routes on the Boise River Greenbelt, the Owyhees, along the Snake River, the Boise Foothills and in the Boise National Forest.

Mountain Biking in Boise provides a guide to 65 rides in the immediate vicinity of Boise, including the foothills, Bogus Basin, Stack Rock area, Avimor and Oregon Trail.
In case you didn't know, you can buy digital color files of individual hiking, biking and paddling trips on my web site for .99 cents each or the whole book as an e-book. See more at

Have fun!