Thursday, August 9, 2012

Get up early for a quick workout before work to beat the heat ... you'll feel SO much better

Hi all,

With this blasted hot weather settled over the lowlands of SW Idaho for weeks on end, we're left with really no choice but to get up early for a quick morning workout before the "work" day begins during the work week.

I've been trying to do that several times a week, and I've noticed that the parking lots at foothills trailheads are surprisingly busy at 6:30 a.m.! Fine minds think alike!

This week, for my tip of the week, I'm recommending several biking/running loops that take an hour or less. If you're hiking, allow more time. All of these routes are featured in my Boise Trail Guide and Mountain Biking in Boise. To make a quick escape, take a few moments in the evening to gather up your gear and replenish the water in your pack, so you're ready to roll in the morning ...

Table Rock trails
1.  Table Rock - The out-and-back South Face "grunt route" to the top of Table Rock is short and abrupt, guaranteed to make you sweat, with almost 1,000 feet of climbing. Distance is about 3 miles. Take Trail #15 from the Old Pen Trailhead by the Bishop's House and climb to Table Rock. If you have time, you can loop back on Trails #16 and #17. Or just go out and back.

2. Military Reserve - There are many short options in Military Reserve Park, but my current favorite is what I call Jumpin' Jeepers Figure 8 Loop. Distance is 6.75 miles; climbing is about 1,000 feet. Take  Central Ridge Trail #22 to the top of the first hill, and continue to Shane's Junction. Ride to the top of Shane's and do the loop back to Central Ridge and Bucktail junction. Take Bucktail downhill and slalom back to the top of Trail #20 and descend the switchbacks to Toll Road Trail and cruise back to the trailhead.

2a. Two Coyote Loop - My friend Maggie Lawrence loves this route. It's 6.5 miles (705 feet of climbing). Running time is about 1:15; Riding time is about an hour. Hike or ride along Freestone Creek to the police firing range area. Climb up to Bucktail and follow that to Shane's Junction. Go left on Shane's and take that to Trail #26, go left and cruise downhill over to a dirt road. Take the dirt road downhill back to the police firing range area and return on the trailhead via Freestone. Maggie and the Boise B's named that Two Coyote because they saw two of those pups on their run.

3. Corrals-Bobs Loop - Highlands neighborhood special. This one is a little longer at 8.4 miles and 1,230 feet of vertical gain. Riding/running time is more like 1.5 hours. Go up Bogus Basin Road to the Corrals Trailhead. Ride Corrals to the summit, descend to Bob's, and rip down Bob's, watching for the rare person coming uphill. A quicker alternative here is to drive to the Corrals Trailhead, and do an out and back to the top of Corrals or add the climb on Scott's Trail for spice.
Boise B's on Corrals morning run in the winter ... 
4. Crestline-Hulls Loop - North Ender special. Starting from Camelsback, this one is 10 miles (1,600 feet of gain), but if you start from the trailhead by the Foothills Learning Center, it's less than 8 miles. Quickest way is to ride up Kestrel to Crestline, and return to the trailhead on Hulls. My friend Molly said that takes her a little over an hour to run that one.

5. Polecat Gulch Loop -  The full loop is just over 6 miles (800+ feet of climbing), and I typically ride it in 45 minutes to an hour. Running time would be an hour or less, depending on your pace. The trailhead is off of Cartwright Road, near the junction with Pierce Park. Excellent choice for people who live in NW Boise or Hidden Springs.

6. Hillside to the Hollow Loop - There's a quick loop in Hillside to the Hollow (the island of open space between 36th Street and Bogus Basin Road). Start at the 32nd Street trailhead, climb to the top of the mountain, keep going east and then take the trail that wraps around the frontside of the mountain and returns to the trailhead. If you leave nearby, just ride or run from home, and you can notch that loop is less than an hour.

7. Squaw Creek Loop - The long loop is 6.25 miles and over 1,600 feet of climbing. This route is most convenient for folks in the Harris Ranch and SE Boise areas. It can be shortened by climbing the Homestead Trail out and back. The trailhead is off of Council Springs Road, near Lucky 13.

Eagle Cycle Park (courtesy Mari Briggs)
8. Eagle Cycle Park - For west Boise residents and Eagle folks, these trails are very close to home. Take old Horseshoe Bend Road north from ID 55 to the Eagle Cycle Park Trailhead. Here's one suggested loop that's 6.5 miles (800 feet of climbing). Ride uphill on Rabbit Run and follow that to the end; go back on Twisted Sister, do another loop on D's Chaos, and finish by looping the Junk Yard Trail. All of these twisty singletracks are fun, and you won't experience any climbing that lasts very long. Fun place to run and ride.

9. For the road cyclists out there, the best recommendation I have is the Cartwright-Pierce Park Loop (fastest option) for a quick morning workout. That one usually takes less than an hour, while the full
Three Summits Loop (aka the "Dump Loop") is more like an 1:15 for me.

There you have it! Hopefully you've got some comp time or flexible schedule that allows coming into work a little later than 8 a.m.!  Even if you work at home, it's best to get started early to enjoy a cooler environment. It is getting kind of smoky out there, however, because of all the fires burning in Idaho and Eastern Oregon.

If you've got a favorite early-morning route that I've overlooked here, please pipe up in the comments below and let us know what we're missing!

PS - If you'd like more detailed descriptions and maps, all of these routes are available a la carte for 99 cents each on my web site,

- SS

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