My Favorite Hikes in Idaho

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.

IMG_7060

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…

Cervidae Peak: Boise, Idaho

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.”

Just kidding. Kind of.”

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

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Adelmann Mine Trail: Boise, Idaho

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.

IMG_6803 (1)

IMG_8030 (2)

IMG_8034 (1)

IMG_6805

Table Rock Trail: Boise, Idaho

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.

IMG_1732

Box Lake Trail: McCall, Idaho

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.

IMG_6546 (1)

IMG_6578

IMG_6575

IMG_6566

IMG_6586

Louie Lake Trail: McCall, Idaho

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!

IMG_6595 (1)

IMG_6600

IMG_6050

IMG_6029

IMG_7667 (1)

IMG_7680

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!

Love, Kari

 

5 Things to Do in: Boise, Idaho

Okay so let me preface this post by acknowledging how weird it is to post a “travel” type blog post in the midst of a pandemic. I understand that unless you are living around Boise, Idaho you are probably not rushing to get there anytime soon HOWEVER I cannot tell you how many people have asked for Idaho related posts and how dear to my heart it is. SO if you do live in Idaho maybe I give you an idea of something to do and if you don’t maybe this is inspiration for your future non-COVID related travels.

I spend a lot of time in Idaho because my fella’s parents live there. For the longest time while A and I have been long distance it was a mid-station for us (though from South Carolina to Northern California I’m not sure how much “mid” there was). To be honest it was basically it was a place to stay, explore and fall in love with in every season.

There is so much I love about Boise and Idaho in general that I’m going to need to break this shit up so take this as a first post but most definitely not the last centered around this hidden Gem (of a) State.

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

 

With incredible hiking, golfing, and floating down the river on a hot summer day to snow tubing in the winter. Throw in it’s amazing restuartants, tons of shopping, and just generally interacting with the super nice Idahumans, my Boise suggestions list is a mile long but let’s just start with these 5 things.

1. Explore the Oregon Trial

While the Oregon Trail computer game (circa 1999 for me) was beyond brutal this walk is actually amazing. It’s a 2.8 mile trail set along the ridge to the east of the Boise Airport and provides amazing views of the foothills. It includes multiple overlooks and is very flat for anyone trying to get a little exercise while also learning about the history of the Oregon Trail and how it fits into Boise history. Visit the Oregon Trail Reserve here.

IMG_6689 (1)

Processed with VSCO with c7 preset

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

2. Eat Boozy Ice Cream at The STIL.

Wait you have to card me? For ice cream? Where do I sign up? If you feel me on this let me lead you right to The STIL! With fun flavors like Licking the Spoon which lays heavy on brownie batter to Idaho Wilderness with lavender and berries (Idaho is known for it’s huckleberry flavored things) this place has a little bit of everything and let me just tell you, everything is delicious! We bought the Ed & Carl Take Reno which is a boozy honey bourbon option for the 21+ crew and it was amazing! Rich, creamy and yet not too strong that a non-bourbon lover like myself is still very happy with it. They also have ice cream flights with beer/wine pairings which I did not know when we went so I must return immediately to experience. The STIL has two open locations (one quite conveniently located not too far from the Oregon Trail Reserve mentioned above) and one downtown which both make for an excellent stop on your Boise adventure.

IMG_6777

3. Bike The Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt is 25 miles long and covers SO MUCH OF THE CITY! It starts a little beyond the Oregon Trail Reserve, winding right through downtown and Boise State University’s campus (including the famous blue field) and all the way over to Garden City. This trail includes what’s called the “Ribbon of Jewels” which are parks named for various incredible women and their impact on the community. On a hot summer day you will find so many people wading in the water, floating the river and otherwise just enjoying the casual toe dip. Should you start over by the Oregon Trail Reserve you can take the trail for about 8-10 miles and bike right in front of the Capital building and into the vibrant downtown of Boise.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

4. Brewery Hop

Downtown Boise is filled with shops, restaurants and my some of the most beautiful murals by local artists. It’s also a little brewery haven and if you’ve just biked all this way you are probably ready for a cold brew or two. Disclaimer: there will never be a time where I don’t admit to the fact that I am a beer snob so let me be the first to say that Boise, Idaho CAN HANG. It’s actually hard to put this in one little paragraph because I have so many suggestions for breweries so I’m making this just a downtown specific post about 3 breweries. What a problem to have, narrowing it down to just 3 fun breweries within a mile and a half to spend a day at… I’m truly not sorry for us.

Boise Brewing is a community owned brewery which is pretty cool to learn about and how the brewery came to be so check that out on their website. If you go you have to taste their Jillijuice & Broad Street Blonde! Jillijuice is so delicious on draft, I get it pretty much anytime I see it.

Payette Brewing has probably my favorite tap room on this list, the space is big with both outdoor and indoor seating. They have an awesome partnership with local food trucks and of course the beers are amazing. Their Rustler IPA has the perfect amount of citrus that makes it perfect for a hot day!

IMG_5021_Original

Cloud 9 Brewery is a bit further than the other two and located in a strip mall but don’t let that fool you, these beers are legit. I love the Double IPA which is so crisp and hoppy but maybe a bit too easy to drink. The Lemon Ginger Wheat is a fun summer drink to enjoy on their patio. Cloud 9 also has an awesome food menu if you need to fuel up after all this brewery hopping.

5. Shop at Mixed Greens

Did you even go to Boise if you didn’t bring back a souvenir?

I found this adorable little boutique on my first visit to Boise about 3 years ago and I go back every. single. time. I’m in town. It’s an awesome blend of local Idaho creatives and constantly rotating inventory that is in my opinion one of the best collections of curated pieces out there. From prints to jewelry, postcards to candles, home goods and lotions this boutique has a little bit of everything. Whenever I travel I look for these kinds of shops and honestly they are rarely as wonderful as Mixed Greens, it’s just the best.

s595634577526554501_p975_i1_w1280
Shop This Card Here

 

s595634577526554501_p512_i1_w531
Shop this ‘Ho Mug Here
s595634577526554501_p845_i1_w800
Shop This Adorable Boise Print Here.

 

So there you have it, the first 5 things you absolutely must do in Boise, Idaho. If you still aren’t convinced that it must be part of your future travels wait til I post my restaurant and hiking guides.

Have you been to Boise?

Love, Kari

Checking In & Hiking Saint Mary’s Glacier

Well we’re a little over a week into October folks and you know what that means? It means all of the fall content and travel posts I have been planning to post have come to a screaming halt because my computer crashed and I got a stomach flu/food poisoning… jury is still out but moral of the story don’t eat airplane food. Perhaps this isn’t what happens to everyone in October but here I am working through it.

Anyway I’m currently sitting in Newark delayed (like everyone who has ever passed through Newark) and the magic voice just came over the speaker saying final boarding for Burlington, VT however in a rare occasion when connecting through EWR (aka my nightmare) that is not my final destination. In fact I’m about to tackle on of my first big “30 before I turn 30” items and I really can’t wait to share that with you but first- this post- just so you know I’m still alive and I haven’t forgotten about you (I’ve just had to steal my boyfriend’s computer because most likely mine will never live again).

Enough with the excuses though, right?

I had this week off so my human came to visit so we could do all of the Colorado fall things and today I thought I’d highlight one of my favorite parts of our week together with a quick little review of hiking St. Mary’s Glacier.

Located near Idaho Springs this hike is only an hour to the trailhead from downtown Denver so in terms of getting that mountain feel without having to go too far this one is perfect. We went on a Sunday morning around 10am because we wanted to make sure the sun was at least out despite a 47 degree temperature.  Being a Sunday we were expecting some heavy foot traffic but it was surprisingly easy to find a spot in one of the two parking lots at the base ($5 cash only to park). A local with skis strapped to his backpack informed us that this “Glacier” is actually a semi-permanent snowfield and not a glacier at all which I thought was interesting.

The hike was short, a little less than a mile to the top but all rocks all the way up! While it is a short one it still starts at 10,000 feet of elevation so the huffing and puffing starts embarrassingly early- or was that just me? It’s very wide and well-maintained despite being rocky. I’d say confidently almost anyone can complete this and it is so worth the views! I liked that once you got to the top you could just keep climbing on all sorts of side trails to get up higher for better views and closer to the action of the snow-field. It was definitely busy and HOLY WINDY but I can imagine how much fun you could have spending a day picnicking up at the top on a warm summer day. Anyway here’s a few photos of the hike, enjoy!

I would absolutely do this hike again and I really can’t wait for my people to come visit so I can bring them up to it! Colorado is just about to hit peak foliage and yet it’s simultaneously about to drop down to 21 degree temps and half a foot of snow expected in the high country because fall in Colorado people. If you really want to round out your day trip around Idaho Springs are post hike I’d recommend a soak in the Indian Hot Springs and my favorite thing- finishing a giant honey soaked pizza at Beau Jo’s (if you know, you know!!)

Anyway, lots more posts coming soon- I’ve got everything from shit passengers say on the airplane to more travel tips and essential items. I can’t wait to share my travel guide for Belgium and of course tell you allllllll about the bucket list item I’m waiting to board a plane for.

Have a freaking splendid rest of your weeks kids.

Kari