Thursday, April 1, 2021

Super Duper spring weekend coming up! Two hikes and Wilson Creek bike ride in the Owyhee Canyonlands + Spring Skiing!

Stopping to check out the cool rock formations along Bingo's Trail, #500,
heading over to Reynolds Creek Canyon. Paul Hilding enjoys the views. 

Hi all, 

Similar to last week's weather, we are seeing warm afternoon temperatures rising a bit more each day to a big crescendo on the weekend. This week, that situation is especially true, with a high temperature of 75 forecast on Friday, 80 degrees on Saturday and 77 on Sunday! WOW! 

Looks like a great weekend to do just about anything outdoors! 

For my outdoor tip of the week, I'm recommending a two hikes and a mountain bike ride in the Owyhee Canyonlands, the last weekend of spring skiing at Tamarack Resort (closing at the end of day, Sunday, April 4), the next-to-last weekend of spring skiing at Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain and Sun Valley (all closing April 11), and lower Boise Foothills trails.

A few key points from Ridge to Rivers when visiting Boise Foothills trails: 

A few key points to remember:
1) The trails are busy with lots of folks looking for the same experience you are - happiness and relaxation in the Foothills. As such spring time is the perfect opportunity to take the Happy Trails Pledge:
2) As you venture higher into the Foothills, you will still encounter sections of muddy trail. Remember to travel through these, not around them so that you don't widen the trails. And please turn around if you encounter longer stretches of mud - there are lots of dry opportunities available in the lower and mid-Foothills.
3) Trail crews and Adopt-A-Trail groups are out maintaining trails now. Please slow down and say hello when you encounter these folks - they are working hard for you.
Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

Lower-elevation trails in the Owyhee Canyonlands are in great shape right now. A lot of people have been flocking to Wilson Creek for hiking and biking, which is a fine idea. Here's a blow-by-blow description riding the Wilson Creek Northwest Passage Loop, starting from the lower trailhead on Wilson Creek Road. This trail is a strong intermediate/advanced ride, 16.25 total mileage, ride time is 3+ hours, depending on length of stops for lunch, snacks and scenic locations.

Two other locations that I'd recommend in the Owyhees are Succor Creek State Park and climbing Three Fingers nearby. Both of these areas are featured in my guidebook to the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Succor Creek State Park is a popular spot, about 30 minutes from Homedale, Idaho, for families and kids to do a little hiking, exploring caves, checking out the creek and hanging out. You can camp there overnight. Get there early if you want a spot!

Things look quite interesting as you approach Succor Creek State Park. 

Drew had fun with us exploring Succor Creek. Note how the creek is at flood stage. 

Climbing Three Fingers is an easy hike for families and kids. This could be a side trip while you're camping at Succor Creek park, or a day trip destination. You'll continue driving past Succor Creek park for several miles up a hill, and then turn right at an unsigned right-hand junction. Follow that dirt road toward the top, and you'll see a two-track road appear on the left side of McIntyre Ridge Road. This is your two-track trail leading to the top of Three Fingers mountain.

Distance is 2.4 miles round-trip. 833 feet of vertical gain. Time required is about 1.5 hours, depending on how long you hang out on top. We found that it's possible to hike into the trough of the middle finger area for a cool place to hang out and enjoy the view. There was a little notebook inside a canister in that area. Make a note about your group so you can enjoy seeing that in a few years from now.

The two-track trail to Three Fingers 

Great views of "The Big Wide Open" from the top of Three Fingers. 

Three Fingers when dressed in velvety green (courtesy Summit Post) 

Have fun and enjoy the sunshine! Don't forget the sun screen!
- SS