5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
This is a rewarding training hike not far from Boise, on a little-known but respectable peak of the Boise Mountains.
The trail delivers stout elevation gain along with beautiful natural scenery, and definitely earns a checkmark on a list of Idaho summits. Jackson Peak does not command much attention on any map of the region, but it just happens to rise a bit higher than most of its neighbors.
It has a maintained trail going all the way up, but also a service road coming up the other side, and a fire lookout occupying the summit.
So you won't find the wildest of settings upon reaching the top, but the views are still impressive, and most of the hike to get there will feel quite remote. Jackson Peak Trail begins near the Lowman Nature Ponds, just about a mile farther on a rough dirt road.
Drive or walk the road to reach the signed trailhead.
The trail starts uphill right away, taking switchbacks through a regenerating burn area that's colored with flowers and young trees.
Expect some of the trail to be overgrown in summer. After about a mile and a half the trail gains a ridge crest, which it more or less follows the remainder of the way.
You'll pass in and out of timber stands, among a patchwork left by wildfires, and enjoy plentiful views over steep drainages below. Near the top of the ridge, the trail joins with a forest road for the final bit of the ascent.
There you'll find a two-story wooden lookout tower.
It's not generally open to the public, and remains staffed throughout the summer.
The lookout may let you up, but otherwise you can walk around the base and enjoy panoramic views off every side of the mountain. Sources: https://www.idahoaclimbingguide.com/bookupdates/jackson-peak/ https://www.explorumentary.com/adventure-blog/jackson-peak-8124-boise-national-forest-idaho2262558