Hike the winter away
This article first appeared in the Boise Weekly on February 20, 2013.
Actor-director Carl Reiner once quipped, “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
If this resonates with you, perhaps it is time to get out for a snowshoe hike. For a quick outing close to downtown Boise, look no further than this little gem.
The route departs from Bogus Basin Road just above the treeline and travels east through dense forest. Because the route is along an old dirt road, the wide trail is easy to navigate. There are a few spur roads offering secluded snowshoeing in forested gullies.
The first mile of trail gets a bit of use and, depending on how recently it snowed, the snow is often packed enough that hiking boots can suffice. The hike offers sweeping vistas of the Treasure Valley, the Owyhee Mountains and the Boise Front Range. There are no dog restrictions–just make sure to pick up after your pooch.
From the parking area (elevation 5,500 feet), head east along the wide trail, which forks within 250 yards. Keep left as the route ascends a gentle grade. At 0.7 mile, a spur trail forks to the left. Take the right fork and the grade steepens and gains 150 feet in elevation to a knoll on the south side of the trail at 1 mile. Rock outcroppings and dense forest make a nice destination for a 2-mile out-and-back jaunt.
From here, ascend 120 feet as the trail’s grade increases and plateaus on a open knoll. There are lovely views east to the forested 6,457-foot Gardiner Peak. Beyond this point, the route gets much less use, and you will certainly need snowshoes, otherwise you will be postholing through the snow.
At 1.5 miles, the trail rounds a ridge and descends 400 feet in the next mile to where it flattens and turns north. From here, the trail climbs alongside willows and forest and crosses one of the tributaries of Dry Creek at the 3-mile mark. The views continue to improve as you ascend, and there are many fine points at which to end the hike. The trail eventually leads to the east of Little Deer Point and continues to the 7,032-foot Doe Point, just south of Bogus Basin.
Trailhead directions: From the intersection of Hill and Bogus Basin roads, drive north on Bogus Basin Road 12 miles to a small pullout on the right (east) side of the road. Parking is limited to three vehicles. If the parking area is full, additional parking for up to six or seven vehicles can be found by driving less than one-quarter mile north on Bogus Basin Road to the large parking area on the east side of the road. Be careful walking to the trailhead along narrow Bogus Basin Road.