Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Steep hike to Cervidae Peak close to snow-free; first Grand Slam peak to melt out

Got the first Grand Slam peak notched for 2021!

Hi all, 

Over the last few weeks, with cool, dry and breezy spring weather, the trails are beginning to dry out, especially in the lower Boise foothills and Owyhee front country. I blogged about Ridge to Rivers green-lighting some lower Boise foothills trails last week. 

This week, I thought I'd check on the snow level on Cervidae Peak, typically the first of the Boise Grand Slam peaks to melt out. The summit of Cervidae is 5,009 feet, and today, the peak was mostly snow-free, with patches of snow on top. The trail itself was dry as a bone, with a few long patches of snow covering the trail on the ridgelines within a mile of the top.

Airplane ridge with great views in all directions.

It's always an ass-kicker of a hike since it goes straight up a ridgeline for 2,000 vertical feet over 2.2 miles. Over 500 feet of climbing per mile = STEEP! But that also means it'll provide a great workout, and get your hiking legs warmed up for the season. No pain, no gain!

How to get there: The trailhead is on a road-side dirt pull-out (right-side) past Spring Shores Marina on the road to Lucky Peak and Arrowrock. A two-track road opposite of the parking area is your trail. The hike today took me a little over an hour to the top, and slightly longer on the way down. Maybe my time was a little slower because I was stopping to marvel at the beauty and take pics. 

Lucky Peak was absolutely still and smooth as a glass pane lake-wide today. The deep blue-green color of the water contrasts with blah-looking brown landscape that has yet to green-up.  

Lucky Peak on a calm spring day ... L.P. Nursery is off to the right on the flat.

Viewing the other Grand Slam peaks from the top of Cervidae, it appears the other three are snow-bound for now. Kepros will open up next, then Shaw Mountain, then Heinen. That's the order I would recommend for knocking out those hikes this spring. All of them are delightful through May, until it starts to get hot. Wildflowers on Kepros last year were PHENOMENAL! Let's hope we see that again! 

Arrowleaf Balsomroot going off on Kepros last May. With Quinn Stuebner. 

For background on the Boise Grand Slam peaks, you can check on out my previous blogs on the other individual Grand Slam peaks - Kepros, Heinen and Shaw Mountain/Lucky Peak. You can climb Lucky Peak via the BLM road accessed from Highland Valley Road, via Rocky Canyon Road or Homestead Trail above Harris Ranch. 

The Grand Slam peaks also are featured in my Boise Trail Guide: 95 Hiking & Running Routes Close to Home.  

Tom Lopez, a retired attorney who lives in Boise, was the person who pioneered the Boise Grand Slam peaks as a way to tune-up the legs for a summer of hiking in the Sawtooths and other mountain ranches that are snow-bound right now. Tom's book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide, is the best source of information for climbing Idaho mountain summits statewide. I highly recommend it. 

Mt. Heinen is the hulk of a mountain off in the distance. Still quite a bit of snow. 

The weather in SW Idaho is supposed to be crummy on Friday, but it looks good on Saturday and Sunday with mostly clear skies and high temperatures in the mid-50s. Perfect weather for spring hiking! 

Be sure to keep an eye on the Ridge to Rivers Facebook page for updates on trail conditions. 

Also, if you take your dog to Cervidae, be sure to carry a leash in case there are any mule deer or elk in the area. The trail lies inside the Boise River Wildlife Management Area. Thank you.
- SS

No comments: