|Took my boys out on the Five Mile-Orchard Loop on Father's Day|
|At the Orchard-Five Mile saddle ... big views everywhere ...|
|Sweet trail ... Orchard Gulch|
|Five Mile Creek didn't have much water in it last time I was there ... pack water for your pets.|
|Doug Lawrence on Eastside|
|Paul Hilding and Doug on Eastside|
|Doug finishes the Mr. Big steep-ass climb|
After all the moisture this week -- Yay! -- the trails should be nice and tacky this weekend, and the temperatures will be in the low 80s in the Boise Valley. So it should a great weekend to get out on some local outings close to home.
I'm recommending a couple of sweet hikes and bike rides, and also, I'd suggest heading out to the Avimor Bike Demo Days on Saturday or Ride for the Red on Sunday. More about those events in a moment.
First, the hikes. Both of these are a little off the beaten track in the NE foothills, and they're very scenic.
1. Five Mile Creek - Orchard Gulch Loop - This one is 5.35 miles. Allow about 2.5 hours hiking time. It's rated moderate to strenuous in my Boise Trail Guide: 75 Hiking & Running Routes Close to Home.
Take Rocky Canyon Road to the end of the pavement, and keep going for about 2.5 miles to a parking area and trailhead for Five Mile Creek. Park here. Climb Five Mile Creek Trail for about two miles, and you'll come to a junction for Orchard Gulch connector trail. Climb a steep hill to a saddle, and then drop into Orchard Gulch. Find a spot in the shade for lunch. And then finish hiking down the draw and you'll come to Rocky Canyon Road. It's about a mile back to the car.
2. Five Mile Creek - Watchman - Three Bears Loop - This is a much longer hike, about twice as long at 10.2 miles if you do the whole thing. (It's an awesome bike ride, too.) But I'll recommend something that's a little shorter, and nice for hiking. Follow the same directions to the Five Mile Creek trailhead as the hike above. Climb Five Mile Creek past the Orchard connector, and you'll merge with Watchman Trail. Following the Watchman Trail as it winds around the upper tier of the foothills. It's very scenic and enjoyable. At the end of a long downhill, bear left at the junction with Trail #6, and head for Three Bears. After a short climb and another downhill, you'll come to a junction with Three Bears on the ridge. Go left and do the steep descent on Three Bears back to Rocky Canyon Road. Go left and the Five Mile trailhead is about 100 yards to the left.
Here's a video of the Five Mile Creek - Watchman - Three Bears Loop ...
Here are a couple of bike rides that are real smooth right now. Both of them are featured in my guide Mountain Biking in Boise.
1. Eastside Loop - I've been amazed at how popular the Eastside Trail #120 is this summer. We rode it last Saturday, and it was super-smooth. The standard Eastside Loop is done by going up Bogus Basin Road about 12 miles to a large vehicle pullout on the left. Park here. Ride your bike on the pavement almost to the Bogus Basin base area, and then go left on Eastside Trail. Along the way, you'll see some optional big-air or technical features that you can either ride or bypass. I'd rate this ride as strong intermediate/advanced. It's about 10+ miles. The only thing I don't like about the ride is you go slightly downhill on Eastside, and then you have to climb back to the parking area on a pretty steep trail. There are a couple of options for climbing back to the parking lot. On Saturday, we took Eastside to Mr. Big, descended a short section on Mr. Big, and then did a steep, arduous climb on Mr. Big to Freddy's Stack Rock/Sweet Connie junction, turned left, and rode that back to the parking lot connector and finished the climb to the parking lot.
2. Freddy's Stack Rock Loop - This one is 9.5 miles. I'd rate this strong intermediate/advanced. Drive to the same parking area as the trailhead for Eastside. Drop into the singletrack next to the parking lot and descend to Eastside Trail #120. Bear left on the singletrack. At mile 2.5 from start, you'll come to a junction with Mr. Big and Freddy's Stack Rock Trail. Go straight on Freddy's #125. In another half mile, you'll come to the Freddy's loop junction. Here, you can decide to do the loop clockwise, or counter-clockwise. I recommend clockwise. At mile 4, you'll reach Stack Rock. Take a break and have a snack. Follow the loop around the rock, and return to the Eastside parking lot. Allow 2.5-3 hours for the ride.
See the SWIMBA web site for information about Avimor Bike Demo Days. Should be a lot of activity with the Knobby Tire race going on, plus the demo day, BBQ and beer. I got there in the afternoon last year, and none of the 29ers were available to demo. So show up early! Avimor has a lot of cool trails to explore. Worth driving up there to check them out, if you haven't already.
On Sunday, George's and the American Red Cross are sponsoring Ride for the Red, a group road ride from Barber Park in east Boise to Celebration Park next to the Snake River, south of Nampa. You can sign up to ride 50, 75 or 100 miles. Should be a very interesting course. Registration closes on Friday.