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Best of Boise: Hiking in the Foothills

Explore a bounty of trails that begin from the city and extend to the hills and mountains above.

Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Photo: Shutterstock


Boise is quickly gaining a reputation among the country’s best cities for access to trails. All around the town where the paved roads end, dirt paths extend onto the prairie slopes above and stretch to forested peaks on the horizon. This recreational bounty is largely thanks to Boise’s location at the foot of a mountain range, but the real credit goes to the city’s support of full-time crews which manage the trails. For many years, Boise has worked with intent to establish a world-class trail system, known as the Ridge to Rivers network.

There are trails for all kinds of uses, but hiking is by far the most popular pastime in the foothills. All the paths are open to foot travel, and most are shared with bikes and horses as well. In this guidebook, you’ll find all the best hikes that are easily reached from the city. Some even begin from the streets of downtown. Others are higher in elevation, among conifer forest above the heat of the valley. There’s a hike for every season––when wildflowers pop in spring and summer, foliage turns in the fall, and snow settles in the winter.

Whether you live in Boise or you’re just passing through, you can easily enjoy these beautiful trails that range from short to long. Please treat them with respect. The clay-rich soils of the Boise Foothills are highly erodible, so the trails get badly damaged when muddy. As signs at some trailheads say: “If you leave a track, turn back!” Luckily, Idaho’s climate provides many dry days and frozen mornings, so you can often find a time to stroll among nature at the edge of the city.

Routes included

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