Thursday, September 9, 2021

Cooler temps this weekend will make hiking, biking in the Snake River canyon a dandy choice!

Old homestead by the Snake River canyon trail.

Hi all, 

A cold front will pass through Idaho on Friday, bringing a 50% chance of rain that afternoon, but the rest of the weekend looks dandy, with cooler temps in the high 60s and low 70s in the mountains, and nudging 80 degrees in the valley. 

For my outdoor tip this week, I'm recommending several hikes in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. The weather in the Snake River canyon looks really nice Saturday and Sunday, with low temps in the 50s and highs around 80 degrees.

Golden eagle on the Snake River Rim ... Courtesy BLM

We are moving into mid-September by next week, temperatures are moderating into fall mode, and that means fall hiking and biking in the Snake River area and the Owyhee Canyonlands will be prime-time in the next couple of months. 

1.  Hike or bike on the Snake River canyon trail to an abandoned homestead - Distance: 4.3 miles from the east trailhead. Difficulty: Easy. You can also access this trail from Celebration Park. The trail is mostly flat and easy to walk or ride. It's sandy in places. Bring a lunch, and hang out at the abandoned homestead with a view of the Snake River. When I visited the trail, I rode from the east trailhead over to Celebration Park and went back to the east trailhead, probably closer to 8 miles or so, but still an easy ride because the terrain is mostly flat.

Directions: Drive to Kuna. Take the paved Swan Falls Road to Swan Falls Dam, south of town. Take the dirt road running along the north side of the canyon several miles to the trailhead. The dirt road ends at the trailhead. The hiking and biking trail is non-motorized.  

The abandoned homestead is located near the ruins of a mud-and-rock house once occupied by a hermit named Doc Hisom. He died at age 94 in 1944 and was buried in Canyon County. He lived on the two-room rock house in a place called "Halverson Cove" about 20 yards from the Snake River. People visited him frequently. Something to think about when you visit.

More information about Doc Hisom courtesy Boise State University. 

From Boise State Powerpoint presentation about Doc Hisom

2. Hike to Halverson Lake from Celebration Park. You can enjoy a very moderate 6-mile round-trip hike to Halverson Lake and check out the petroglyphs on the rocks at Celebration Park. The park is managed by Canyon County. Great place to take kids. Teachable moment about the Bonneville Flood by the parking lot. 

You'll walk along a sandy trail next to the Snake River for several miles and then hang a left to walk through a series of large basalt boulders to Halverson Lake, next to the Snake River rim. 

Hike to Halverson Lake features an easy-going walk along the Snake River.

Driving directions: From downtown Boise, take I-84 west to Nampa. Take the Franklin Road exit (City Center) in Nampa. Go left. Follow Franklin to the intersection with 11th Street. Turn right and take 11th into downtown Nampa. Follow signs for ID 45 south. Proceed several miles south to Walters Ferry at the Snake River. Just before the river crossing, turn left on Ferry Road. Follow Ferry to Hill Road. Go right on Hill. Follow Hill to Sinker Road; turn right on Sinker and proceed to Celebration Park. You can see petroglyphs on boulders next to the parking lot, and learn about the Bonneville Flood. The artwork on display can be seen between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.

Halverson Lake

Celebration Park also is near Guffy Bridge, where you can do some hiking and exploring.


3. Explore the trails around the Guffey Bridge.


About the Guffey Bridge
(from the Idaho Heritage Trust) - The Guffey Bridge is Idaho’s largest historic artifact and was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The bridge is the only Parker-Through-Truss Railroad Bridge in Idaho. It was designed to facilitate the hauling of gold and silver ore from Silver City mines at the turn of the century. The 450-ton steel structure is 70 feet tall and spans 500 feet over the Snake River. The cost of construction and other circumstances concerning the Boise, Nampa and Owyhee Railroad precluded hauling any ore across the bridge but it was instrumental in the agricultural development of the area. The bridge was abandoned in 1947, saved from demolition in the1970s and purchased and restored by Canyon County in 1989.

Here are more details about Snake River canyon hikes from All Trails.  

- SS

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Oodles of outdoorsy ideas for the last big camping weekend of 2021 in Idaho!

Big Lookout Lake, Trinity Mountains

Hi all,

Labor Day weekend is upon us! It's the typical last hurrah of the camping season, so I'm dishing up some last-minute tips for the three-day weekend, as always. 

Before we get into the camping ideas, Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain and Tamarack Resort all have some fun stuff going on this weekend, and the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic at Ann Morrison Park runs daily through Sunday.  

Courtesy Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic

This weekend will be the final segment of Music on the Mountain at Bogus Basin on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 3-6 p.m., featuring Voice of Reason and the Afrosonics on the lawn outside Simplot Lodge. Plus you can partake in Fun Zone activities, including summer tubing, bungee trampoline, gem panning, climbing wall, mountain coaster or ride the lifts to access hiking and biking trails. 

Bogus will be open on weekends through October FYI. 
 
This will be the final weekend of operations at Brundage Mountain. Jeff Crosby and the Refugees will play live in the grass amphitheather in the final TGIF concert of the year Friday night. The event is free. Food and beverage available for sale on site. Also, Brundage is providing FREE lift service to retail, restaurant, service, hospitality and health care employees Friday-Monday. That's pretty cool! 
 
At Tamarack, they're hosting a super fun Bikes, Brews & Bluegrass event on Sunday, Sept. 5, 1-5 p.m. Ride the lift and check out the hiking and biking trails on the mountain. They've got something for all abilities, including hard-core downhillers! In addition, there will be end-of-season sales with guest shop retailers, live bluegrass music by local Idaho musicians, and up to a dozen different beers all from local Idaho breweries! Guests must be 21+ to purchase cups and tokens for beer, but otherwise it's a family friendly FREE event!
 
Steve fishing Rainbow Lake

Now, on to the camping tips and other Labor Day ideas ... the weather looks stellar BTW for camping, hiking and biking this Labor Day weekend, with daytime highs in the 80s in the mountains, and 90s in the Boise Valley.
  • Trinity Mountains - Go camping, day-hiking or backpacking in the Trinities. I recommend driving there via Featherville. Head for Big Trinity Lake, the trailhead and general dispersed camping area. It's definitely worth backpacking into the high mountain lakes to get away from the car-campers and enjoy some good fishing!

  • Cascade area - Stolle Meadows and Landmark are my favorite camping areas in this neck of the woods. There are tons of primitive car-camping spots in both locations, east of Cascade, off the Warm Lake Highway. I've heard there may be some construction in the Stolle Meadows area so check with the Cascade Ranger District for any closures. Plus, there are hot springs in the vicinity.
  • Lick Creek area in the Payette National Forest 
  • McCall area - Camping, hiking and backpacking in the Lick Creek area NE of McCall should be fabulous. Some of the nice mountain lakes up there include Box, Snowslide, Duck, Hum, Enos and Thirty-three lakes. Pick up a Payette National Forest map or a McCall Adventure Map to get the details for access. Also, check my blog from earlier this summer on five easy-to-access kid-friendly mountain lakes in the McCall area. 
    Stanley Lake 
  • Stanley area - I'm sure the Stanley area will be hopping with lots of campers at Stanley Lake, Redfish Lake, Pettit Lake and points along the Salmon River. Backpacking in the White Clouds should be dandy, particularly from the East Fork side, being a three-day weekend and all. Don't forget the Marsh Creek Trail as another potential destination ... great hiking and fly fishing spot. Hike up to the junction of Bear Valley and Marsh Creeks, and there's a huge glory hole right there. 
    North and Middle Forks of the Boise River ... car-camping mecca 
  • Idaho City area - The North and Middle Forks of the Boise River work great for car camping. See my post from last week.  
  • Salmon River beaches - Upstream from Riggins along the Salmon River Road are some sweet spots for camping, hanging out and swimming. 
Courtesy Winding Rivers Rafting

Also, Labor Day weekend is chock full of big sales at your favorite outdoor retailers in the Boise area, places like Idaho Mountain Touring, George's CyclesBoise REI, Greenwood's, McU Sports, Alpenglow Mountain SportIdaho River Sports, and Shu's Idaho Running Companyall have some fantastic clothing and gear on sale right now. Great deals! Go get 'em! 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Multiple events going on this weekend in the mountains! Sawtooth Festival, Bogus, Brundage, Tamarack all dishing up fun activities!

Chinook salmon (courtesy IDFG)

Hi all, 

The Western Idaho State Fair is in full swing, kids are back in school, and the weather has been fantastic -- the best all summer! -- to go hiking, biking, trail-running, camping or exploring in the mountains! 

For my outdoor tip this week, I'm highlighting a number of events going on at Bogus, Brundage and Tamarack, the Sawtooth Festival in Stanley, and the Gallery 55 Art in the Courtyard event in McCall, where my son Drew will be showing his latest acrylic paintings Friday-Sunday.  

The smoke is supposed to clear by Friday, making for a gorgeous weekend! High temperatures in the 70s are forecast in the mountains! Chilly at night! 

The summer season is winding down at your favorite ski areas, but there are a couple of weekends left to enjoy lift-served service and musical events.

  • The Sawtooth Festival is held each year in Stanley during the spawning season. The event is being held at the Stanley Museum on Highway 75 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Congressman Mike Simpson will be there to talk about his plan to save salmon in the Northwest. Muzzie Braun will be playing at 3 p.m. Salmon spawning tours will be provided by bus. If your kids haven't seen salmon spawning for real, it's something they'll never forget!


  • Bogus Basin will host the Boise Contemporary Theater on Saturday night, and a unique Global Farmer's Market on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Yoga on the mountain in the morning. There's a guided nature hike on Sunday at 2 p.m. Plus, there's the usual assortment of things to do at Bogus from lift-served hiking and biking, to the Mountain Coaster, downhill tubing and more. See the Bogus events page for more information. Last music concert is Sept. 4 with the Boise Rock School. Bogus is operating full services Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    Nature hike at Bogus Basin happening on Sunday at 2 p.m.



  • Brundage Mountain is hosting their last TGIF concert Friday with High Pine Whiskey Yell. Jeff Crosby will cap off the live music season on Sept. 3. General hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Brundage has a new mountain bike trail called "Rock Garden" to try out up by the summit! Looks amazing! They're operating Wednesday-Sunday through Labor Day weekend, closing Sept. 6 for the summer season. Check out this video of Rock Garden.

    Yoga on the mountain (courtesy Tamarack Resort)

  • Tamarack Resort is operating 7 days a week, offering lift-served hiking and biking, zipline adventures, waterfront activities and more. They've got yoga on the mountain in the morning, and live music Saturday afternoon from 4-6 p.m. with Chicago Boise Express. 
  • Boise Goathead Fest - And of course we can must mention the Boise Goathead Fest at Cecil Andrus Park on Saturday. If you stay in town, you must go! Registration starts at 10 a.m., pedal-powered parade at 11 a.m., and then Goathead Fest follows at 11:30 a.m. See the full schedule here

Come see our booth at the Gallery 55 art show in McCall if you're in the hood! It opens Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. and runs through 7 p.m., then 10 am - 6 pm on Saturday and 10 am - 4 pm on Sunday.  You can preview Drew's art work at drewstuebner.com. We will be selling original acrylic paintings, limited edition prints and note cards.  

Go for hike or a bike ride in the McCall area and take a stroll through the Art in the Courtyard art show ... similar to Art in the Park in Boise ...  more than 35 artists are being featured in the show. We will be at booth #34 in the Legacy Park area, near Salmon River Brewery and Gravity Sports. 

Hope to see you there!

- SS

These are a few of Drew's latest acrylic paintings that will be on display.

Bear and Frog 


Polar bear and puffin 



Thursday, August 19, 2021

Please take extra garbage bags with you on your next Idaho outdoor adventure - Recreate Responsibly Idaho!

Abandoned camp and trash in the Boise National Forest (USFS photo)


Hi all, 

I have been working on the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign this year and last, and I wanted to share the story I wrote for the Idaho Press in the Outdoors section this week about the RRI 2.0 campaign. 

Here's the web link to the article, and I'll run excerpts from the story below: 

"This year, the consortium of state and federal agencies in Idaho that work on the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign last year pivoted to an urgent need to inform and educate recreationists of all kinds about being good land stewards – remembering to pack out trash, properly dispose of human waste, do your homework on where you’re planning to go before you leave home, be smart about fire safety, and more. 

This situation is apparently fairly typical. (courtesy BLM)

"For 2021, we called it the Recreate Responsibly Idaho 2.0 campaign. We decided that we’d mainly try to get the word out via weekly or twice-weekly social media posts to be shared by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Lands, the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission, and the Idaho Department of Commerce.   

Generally, public use is increasing, based on what we know so far. 

“It looks like we’re going to smash our record year,” said Craig Quintana, spokesman for IDPR. The State Parks had a record 7.7 million visits last year. As of June in 2021, park visits were up by 600,000 people.

"On a national level, the U.S. government is seeing public use in 2021 out-pace 2020 at national parks, in national forests and on BLM lands.

"As for tourism visits, the Idaho Department of Commerce’s VisitIdaho campaign seems to be attracting more visitors to the state, based on July 2021 numbers, said Matt Borud, marketing and innovation administrator. July lodging numbers in Idaho, for example, show a 98 percent increase over July 2020 and a 38 percent increase over July 2019, Borud said.

Courtesy USFS

"Last year, the public agencies saw a disturbing increase in people leaving garbage strewn about at dispersed camp sites on BLM and Forest Service lands, trash being left inside fire rings, trash stuffed into restroom facilities. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the pics.  

"A similar trend is occurring this year, officials said. There also are problems with people failing to dispose of human waste properly, potentially causing an increase in E-coli in adjacent streams, ATV or UTV riders scaling steep hillsides and leaving ruts in their wake, causing erosion issues, and ATV or UTV riders roaming the backcountry in search of a destination, sometimes driving up ranchers’ or landowners’ driveways, thinking they’re a public road.

Similar issues are being seen in other western states.

The state of Idaho is putting more resources into paid media than other states, Borud said. “Seems like we’re a little ahead of the curve, compared to some of the other western states,” he said. “I think you’re going to continue to see a lot of emphasis on being a good steward of the land in the next couple of years.” 

Because of the drought and water shortages in 2021, Idaho agencies are also extremely concerned about fire danger, as 80 percent of wildfires are caused by humans each year. That could be from things like leaving fires unattended, not putting out campfires entirely, not disposing of cigarettes in a safe manner, sparks from shooting, things like that.  

Fortunately, there hasn’t been a huge uptick in forest or range fires in Idaho so far this year, so maybe the fire safety message has been working.

Other issues that the RRI 2.0 campaign has been emphasizing include:

  • Pack it in, pack it out. That means your garbage and anything else you brought with you on your outdoor outing. Bring extra garbage bags and rubber gloves in case you encounter a mess somewhere. 

  • Bring a portable toilet on your camping adventure, if you have one, bring a shovel for digging a proper cat hole, or bring Wag Bags, which are made specifically for receiving and packing out poop.
  • Being courteous on boat ramps, launch your boat quickly and move out so the next group can access the ramp.
  • ATV, UTV and motorbike safety for young riders (helmets are required for youths under the age of 18) and experienced riders.
  • No fireworks allowed on public lands.
  • Having a more than one destination in mind when you head outdoors in Idaho … the campgrounds and lodging properties are super busy and mostly full. So have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and Plan D in mind before you go. You may not get your first choice.
  • Being civil on the trails with other users and practice good trail etiquette … such as the “Happy Trails” campaign in the Boise Foothills.
  • “Mind your wake” when wake-boarding on Idaho’s lakes … keeping in mind that other boaters and non-motorized users may not like getting tossed around by large wakes and knowing that the large wakes cause erosion on the lakeshore.
  • ·Life jacket safety
Steve Stuebner has been part of the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign in both 2020 and 2021. For more information, go to recreate.idaho.gov. Thanks to the Idaho Press for sharing information about the RRI 2.0 campaign.