Guidebook

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.

Jesse Weber

Description

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.

Table Rock Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Table Rock Loop

1 - 2 hrs
6.2 km
275 m
275 m
Boise's #1 hike, plus bonus scenery by making the loop.
Difficult
Private
Quarry Trail and Eagle Rock Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Quarry Trail and Eagle Rock Loop

0 - 1 hrs
3.0 km
111 m
111 m
Quick hike in the foothills near downtown, with striking geology and sweeping views of the city.
Moderate
Private
Ridge Crest and Central Ridge Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Ridge Crest and Central Ridge Loop

0 - 1 hrs
3.9 km
114 m
114 m
A loop with some elevation gain and varied scenery, using Ridge Crest and Central Ridge trails
Moderate
Private
Hull's Gulch Interpretive Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Hull's Gulch Interpretive Trail

2 - 3 hrs
10.5 km
342 m
342 m
A hiker-only trail with gorgeous views and lessons on nature in the Boise Foothills.
Moderate
Private
Harrison Hollow and Kemper's Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Harrison Hollow and Kemper's Ridge

0 - 1 hrs
3.3 km
121 m
121 m
A scenic jaunt close to downtown, in a network of many popular trails.
Moderate
Private
Wild Phlox and Seamans Gulch Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Wild Phlox and Seamans Gulch Loop

0 - 1 hrs
3.5 km
68 m
68 m
A short and hilly trail loop with excellent views.
Easy
Private
Homestead Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Homestead Trail

1 - 2 hrs
7.0 km
289 m
289 m
A steep hike through prime wildlife habitat, and with exceptional wildflowers in spring.
Moderate
Private
Adelmann Mine
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Adelmann Mine

2 - 3 hrs
7.2 km
392 m
392 m
Reach an abandoned gold mine with buildings still standing, by walking up a rough road through mountainside meadows.
Moderate
Private
Stack Rock Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Stack Rock Trail

3 - 4 hrs
13.1 km
325 m
325 m
A hike through mountainside meadows and conifer forest high above Boise, overlooking the valley and reaching a stand-out rock formation at the end.
Moderate
Private
Mores Mountain Interpretive Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Mores Mountain Interpretive Trail

0 - 1 hrs
3.4 km
172 m
172 m
A pleasant loop in the forest reaching the top of Mores Mountain, high above the heat in Boise
Moderate
Private