Heyyyyyy youuuuu guyyyyyssssss (said like Sloth from the Goonies obviously).
Ah what a great movie, it’s actually my favorite of all time fun fact. If you haven’t seen it you must stop what you are doing and go watch it because honestly we can’t even be friends if you haven’t.
Okay today’s post is another Idaho adventure planning one for you guys because well it’s my blog and I’ll post whatever I want to… and because it’s basically the only place I’ve been outside of my bedroom since March.
I’m one of those people who both loves and loathes hiking. I like the idea of it, I like when I’m done and can say woah I did that but the whole middle of actually doing it is quite hard for me. I love using AllTrails because I can get a better idea of all the levels of hikers using the different trails I research. Plus it’s great that nearly every time the map takes you right to the trail heads. I actually may like researching hikes on AllTrails more than I like the hiking… kidding, but not really. I promise my reviews are always brutally honest so without further ado let me present some of my favorite hikes in the Boise/McCall area…
4.5 Miles Out/Back
“Alex asked “have you come up with your AllTrails review yet?
And I said “Yes, they say there are rattlesnakes on the trial. At first you’re scared but eventually you start hoping one comes along and puts you out of your misery.”
Woof. This b#$%@. This is the hardest hike I’ve done in Boise and maybe one of the toughest I’ve done ever. You gain a little less than 2,000 feet of elevation and follow a ridge up and down a pretty narrow path overlooking Lucky Peak Reservoir and multiple other mountains in the distance. Every single step is more gorgeous than the last and no matter what direction you look there is a beautiful view that makes it hard to believe the trail head is less than 20 miles from downtown Boise. It is incredibly steep and much of it is loose gravel which makes for a tough hike up but what makes it truly one of the hardest I’ve done is going back down. I highly recommend trekking poles for balance and to maintain footing. There is literally NO shade so if you’re going in the summer go early and bring lots of water! I wouldn’t do this hike if it was more than 80 degrees out because you truly are exposed. It does get windy up there though so bring an extra layer! We did it on a week day so I don’t know how busy it gets on the weekends but the parking lot is not very big so keep that in mind.
It was the first hike in a long time where I finished it and literally couldn’t believe I got to the top, it was incredibly rewarding! I would highly recommend but I would probably go on a few hikes before you do this one to prepare haha
4.7 Miles Out/Back
“It was 90 degrees and everyone else was boating but we don’t have a boat so we had to go hiking (not my logic).
The crickets and beetles were bigger than my hands which swelled up so bad I couldn’t get my rings off for hours.
Absolutely no shade so if fine Irish skin is involved, beware!
Would only recommend if you are promised ice cream after.”
I started with the hard but now we move onto a more moderate option for hiking in the Boise area. This hike is in the same Lucky Peak Reservoir area about 20 miles from downtown but it’s trail head is very deceiving. It looks like a private driveway with a big gate and everything but that’s the parking lot. Maybe only 5 spaces so not many people on the trail at any given time which is nice. There isn’t much shade so I wouldn’t go on a 90 degree day like we did nor would I go past 10/11 am on a summer day but we are dumb. The first mile isn’t too steep but it definitely starts getting steep after that. This hike has 1,4000 feet of elevation gain so I’d put it on the harder side of moderate. I will admit I didn’t make it all the way to the mine because I was overheating but it did look really cool over that way and starts to be more of a tree-lined forest the closer you get. The views are pretty spectacular but not nearly as beautiful as Cervidae Peak if I’m being honest.
3.7 Miles Out/Back
“I don’t really like this one.”
Table Rock Trail is okay. I’m keeping it on the list because it’s the only one that’s truly not far from downtown Boise and I think it’s the most accessible for different levels of hikers that could be visiting. The reason I don’t love it is I think it’s super crowded, no shade but also not enough views to feel worth it. It takes a little over an hour to get to the top and is still a moderately steep trail but it isn’t terribly hard with less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain. If you want to hike in Boise to say you did, do this one. If you’ve got a car and time- do one of the first two I mentioned.
7.1 Miles Out/Back
“At one point I thought I was having a heart attack and then I found out I had only hiked a single mile.”
Once again starting with the hardest one I’ve done in the McCall area of Idaho but man was Box Lake beautiful. At 2,247 feet of elevation gain this beast is not an easy hike by any means. It’s actually listed as “hard” on AllTrails which you know means they aren’t lying. I swear some people are out here reviewing hikes like “17 miles, 90 degrees of steepness and no shade- easy 20 minute hike that I do every morning while carrying my 3 children and cooking a lasagna.” But I digress…
Box Lake is a tough first couple of miles of steep and then it flattens out a bit into this gorgeous meadow that makes you want to Julie Andrews on through it. Tons of wild flowers and beautiful mountain peaks to view along the way but once you see Box Lake itself the whole hike is worth it. We went last July and there wasn’t any snow but I do know they got a shit ton of snow this season so I’ve read the meadow is a big snowfield currently. Bring lots of water and a few snacks, we wish we would have brought a picnic lunch to have at the top so next time that’s definitely our plan. Trekking poles wouldn’t hurt but I didn’t personally use them so I don’t think you’d need them. The road up to the trail head is quite bendy and filled with pot holes, my little Civic would have been murdered so just keep that in mind when you go. I absolutely recommend this hike, it’s hard but it is beyond worth it when you get to the top.
2.6 Miles Out/Back
“Louie, Louie, oh no, you take me where you gotta go, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah, baby”
Ah Louie Lake, such a fun little hike. This one is definitely used for lots of different activities like fishing and camping because you can drive up part of it to cut some of the hike off of if you’re carrying a bunch of stuff but we started at the first trail head each time we’ve done it. It’s not a very difficult hike at 813 feet of elevation gain though there are some parts more steep than others. It’s a wide trail in most places so it’s good for a larger group with mixed levels of ability. Once you get up to the lake it’s the most gorgeous clear blue water you’ve ever seen. We’ve done the hike in the dead of summer and in October when the snow started to fall and both were absolutely beautiful. If you want to do a shorter hike and are visiting the McCall area I would give this a 10/10 every single time. It’s one of my favorites of anywhere I’ve been!
I plan on updating this post as I complete more hikes in Idaho but I truly hope you add a few of these should your travels take you to the Boise/McCall area.
Hiking has been such a difficult, rewarding, and most importantly fun hobby for me to get into over the last few years. Especially now when we all could use a little getting out of the house safely it’s been amazing for me to be able to hop on the trails and forget about how hard these last few months have been.
I’m also in the market for new hiking boots because I don’t love mine, not enough ankle support for these gams of mine so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments!
Happy Trails, Friends!