FATMAP difficulty grade
This is undoubtedly one of the best loops in the Boise Foothills.
It’s a grueling climb up Shingle Creek, into the cool pines Boise National Forest, then a bomber downhill on Dry Creek, with lots of splashes through the stream which is not actually dry! There’s a sprinkling of technical obstacles throughout, but for the most part it’s smooth single track for nearly 2500 feet up and down.
The distance and difficulty of the climbing keeps this loop feeling exclusive, though the lower reaches can get congested with hikers. Start from a large pullout on Bogus Basin Road, and get there early if you want to beat the hiker crowds as well as the heat.
A majority of the climb on Shingle Creek is exposed to the sun.
You’ll start with a quick drop into the canyon, which is quite picturesque with granite outcrops all around.
The trail then starts an ascent that’s mostly mellow, but with some tough sections cutting through the rocks.
The gorge actually widens a bit farther up, and the trail gets easier.
It winds through sagebrush meadows and crosses the creek a couple times on footbridges. At the junction with Shingle Creek is where things get tougher.
You should be warmed up by now, so turn on Shingle Creek and start pumping.
This trail is almost all climbing, and has some fairly technical sections.
It goes in and out of forest around the creek, and bounces through the water a few times.
The steepest sections are just before reaching the switchbacks.
Then, as the trail twists up toward the divide, it breaks onto meadowy slopes where you’ll enjoy hard-earned views over the foothills.
Where the trail turns and makes a north-facing traverse, be prepared to plunge through piles of snow in April and early May. The Dry Creek junction marks the start of the glorious downhill.
This trail dives through deep forest for more than 1000 feet of elevation, with surprisingly smooth turns in between splashes through the creek.
Expect to get a little wet! The next 1000 feet takes you in and out of the trees, as the slopes become more open farther down.
The trail remains beautiful singletrack through the meadows, all the way back to the Shingle Creek junction.
From there you’ll enjoy the rest of the descent down the canyon (watch out for hikers) before the final short climb back up to the road.