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

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