Hiking is a favorite pastime in the Treasure Valley. Many people enjoy getting out into nature to exercise and hiking is a fun way to do it. With its rolling hills and rambling countryside, the Treasure Valley is an ideal place to go hiking. You might even say it has a treasure trove of hiking trails. Here is a list of what the experts would say are the best hikes in the valley, both short, and a few longer ones.
Table Rock is about 1.7 miles long and is one of the most popular hikes for locals. So, at times it is very busy. The trail is not ideal for bikes, but it is doable. Located in the far eastern part of Boise, the top of Table Rock offers amazing views of Downtown Boise. It is a dog-friendly hike. At the base of the hill is the Old State Penitentiary. At its top is a large cross which can be seen from downtown. If hiking the entire way doesn’t appeal to you there is a road that can be driven to nearly the top.
Table Rock Quarry Trail
Table Rock Quarry Trail is 0.7 Miles and branches off from the main Table Rock trail. It is dog-friendly and is a challenging trail for biking. Quarry Trail has an interesting terrain. Exploration is what this trail is all about. With caves, rock chutes, interesting boulders, and cliffs to explore, you can’t help but have a great time.
Lower Hulls Gulch
Lower Hulls Gulch is a dog-friendly hike that is 2.5 miles long. This is a popular trail for hiking, biking, and jogging. Trails can be crowded and with the occasional blind corner, bikers are cautioned to take it slow. Hikers and joggers, as well, should be on the lookout for bikers. This trail starts at the Foothills Learning Center on 8th Street, just a short distance from downtown Boise. Its gentle slopes and closeby brook make this hike a favorite for many outdoor enthusiasts.
Upper Hulls Gulch
Upper Hulls Gulch is an extension of Lower Hulls Gulch or you can park at the designated 8th street parking lot. At 5 miles long, this lovely trail would fall more into the medium length category. It is open to hiking only because of its narrow pathway. Biking may be prohibited, but not your furry friends. This trail is classified as dog-friendly.
Five Mile Gulch
Five Mile Gulch can be done as two separate hikes. The first 1.4 miles of this 3.4 miles hike has a gentle slope and can be appropriate for those who prefer a more gentle slope. The remaining half of the hike is considerably more challenging. Before taking this portion of the hike you should seriously consider your health and hiking strength. This hike is also open to dogs and biking.
Shoshone-Paiute Tribes Loop
Shoshone-Paiute Tribes Loop is also known as the Castle Rock Trail. This dog-friendly hike is a good option if you want to avoid the more popular Table Rock Trail. This short 1.5 miles loop is an interesting hike with a lot of rock outcroppings to scramble along. Bikers, though, beware. These same interesting outcroppings of rock can make for a dangerous ride. The reward of this hike is a majestic view of the Treasure Valley.
Elephant Rock Trail
Elephant Rock Trail is a short (.5 mile), pleasant hike which some might consider a walk. The elephant shaped rock is a fun part of this hike. People and dogs of all ages and abilities enjoy climbing, or just viewing this interesting rock formation.
Cottonwood Creek Trail
Cottonwood Creek Trail is a delightful 0.9-mile hike which meanders amongst the trees and along the creek making this a pleasing, shady hike. Dogs are welcome as long as they remain on a leash. Biking is also welcome but just make sure to watch out for pedestrians.
Watchman Trail is 3.5 miles long. This trail is most popular more so with bikers than hikers or joggers. Bikers like to combine this trail with Five Mile Gulch trail and the Three Bears Trail. The Watchman Trail is known for its beautiful scenery and especially for its spectacular, springtime wildflower display.
Three Bears Trail
Three Bears Trail is 2.7 miles long, but don’t let the name fool you. This is a very challenging hike. Bikers love this trail because they can combine it with Watchman Trail, and the Five Mile Trail which makes for a ride that’s demanding. Although it is ideal for bikers, hikers need to be prepared for a real leg burner of a hike.
Dry Creek Trail
Dry Creek Trail is a 7.8-mile hike. It has grown in popularity and therefore has more traffic. Most hikers and bikers prefer using Shingle Creek Trail, or Hard Guy Trail for the ascent then take Dry Creek for the descent, because the top or easternmost part of the trail is steep and slippery. You will find this trail does not live up to its name. With multiple water crossings and passing through moist, green forest, it is anything but dry.
Shingle Creek Trail
Shingle Creek Trail has something for just about every hiking, jogging, and biking enthusiasts. The rugged terrain is definitely challenging, and at the time somewhat treacherous. Shingle Creek is 4.7 miles long but can be combined with other trails to make it longer.
Stack Rock Trail
Stack Rock Trail is an easier hike at 3.6 miles. This is a shady trail that doesn’t require a lot of hiking experience. It has recently become one of the more popular trails. It has some amazing views and leads to Stack Rock a striking land formation which looks like some has piled a bunch of rocks together.
Hiking is a great source of exercise. Not only can get your exercise but do it on a trail that is beautiful, and interesting. Having the opportunity to commune with nature, to be able to develop strong emotions or spiritual feeling for nature is priceless.