An insider’s guide
By Anna Wilson
Idaho is well known for its vast mountain ranges, beautiful green forests, and amazing lakes and rivers. It’s also known for the wide variety of trails that lead people from all over to explore this wonderful state. From flat paved trails along the greenbelt to gently sloping hills to mountainous climbs, Idaho offers so many amazing sights to see, and it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into when you decide to explore.
There are all different kinds of trails with different levels of difficulty, elevation, distance, scenery, or even the necessary route to find the trail. Although she is no expert, Renee Wilson, a local Idahoan and avid trail hiker, has experience with many of the trails here in
Idaho. Many of the trails she has hiked vary in different aspects. Cervidae Peak, a part of Boise’s 4 “Grand Slam” peaks, is a steep trail rising just over Lucky Peak, east of Boise. Chamberlain Basin, a hike located in the White Cloud Mountains in the Sawtooth National Recreation area, is a gorgeous 18-mile out-and-back trail. It begins at the Fourth of July Creek Trailhead and is perfect for those who are looking for a bit of a challenge. Lastly, at an elevation gain of 1,842 feet and a distance of 14.6 miles, Edith Lake and the Sand Mountain Pass trail is located in the Sawtooth Mountains. Slightly less challenging than Chamberlain Basin, this hike is beautiful and perfect for intermediate hikers.
While hiking is meant to be a fun activity that allows you to connect with nature, it is always important to make safety a number one priority. Knowing where you’re going, what dangers you could potentially face, and having a plan is extremely important. “I tend to avoid extended off trail hiking or poorly maintained trails to reduce my risk of injury or getting lost. I admire those who do, but I think it’s important to know and respect your personal physical limits and comfort level when hiking,” Renee says. Researching trails before you explore them is a vital part of the process, and that’s where finding trustworthy resources comes in.
There are countless books, apps, and websites that allow anyone to find the perfect trail they’re looking for. Boise’s Ridges to Rivers website is a great resource for navigating through the extensive
trail systems of the Boise Foothills. Renee suggests guidebooks written by Scott Marchant. These books are readily available at local bookstores and sporting goods stores. His books include trail rating (easy/moderate/strenuous) along with detailed trail descriptions, accurate mileage and directions to get there. Another helpful resource is the AllTrails app, which helps you discover trails right from your phone. Being outdoors allows one to connect with nature and escape the stresses of daily life. Hiking is the perfect way to destress and exercise, and what better way to do that than explore some of the wonderful trails right here in our very own Gem State.