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  1. #1
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    Boise area trail conditions/suggestions

    I will be in the Boise area this coming weekend and hope to get some riding in on Sunday 5/21.
    Looking for guidance on how far up into high country can go before snow/trail conditions are an issue. Typically do All Mountain/Cross country riding and want to get in a good ~15+ miles of riding, with 2500’ish climbing is fine. Can’t get to technical as I will have someone with me that is new to MBT, but he’s young in good shape and can suck it up. Have seen the Ridge to Rivers site, and have been doing some searches. Would like to be riding up in the tress rather than the lower foothills. But so many choices, I’m looking for some pointers. Possibly links to some local ride reports. The ‘Hard Guy to Dry Creek Loop’ looks interesting, and hopefully low enough to be open. Any recent ride deports? I’m assuming that ‘Thunder Monkey’ is not open yet. But if it is, any suggestions on where to hook up with a shuttle?
    Open to any suggestions. Post reply or PM me. Thanks in advance.

    ‘Hard Guy to Dry Creek Loop’
    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/665...dry-creek-loop
    ‘Thunder Monkey’
    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/6168331/thunder-monkey
    Last edited by MuddyWheels; 05-14-2017 at 07:32 PM. Reason: spelling and include links to trails

  2. #2
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    trails up at bogus are closed right now, the other option would be to come down sweet conie.

    haven't tried dry creek this year yet, but hard guy is totally fine, but I'm afraid dey creek might still be muddy and have snow, mostly shade, there is still snow up at the ridge road where there isn't much sun

    another loop that's about the same distance/climbing is to go up corrals/scott/ridge road and get down hard guy, you can park at bogus basin road at corrals trailhead, either at the road or a bit further in a parking lot

  3. #3
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    There's plenty of awesome riding in the lower foothills... Don't get too committed to riding up higher or you'll miss out.

  4. #4
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    Mfa81: Thanks for the input. Looks like the loop of Corrals>Road>Hard Guy> Corrals makes for ~13-14 miles. If time/energy allow, would you suggest Corrals>Bob’s>Urban Conn>Highlands. Or is that loop better in reverse order?

    Skiermike: As for other options: I’m open to suggestions.
    Being from Seattle area, I’m partial to trees and love the high country forest. Love trails with good flow (who doesn’t), and I don’t mind climbs to earn that flow. Not big on constructed ramps, ladders, walls and such, but love a good natural challenging feature (roots/logs/rocks). Would prefer to avoid the ‘parks’ with the major gap type jumps and serious gravity junkies.
    Hoping for some pointers by locals to some of that awesome riding you’re talking about.

    Thanks again to any input.

  5. #5
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    Here are two off the top of my head:

    Park at Camel's Back Park, ride to the trailhead at Bob's trail (a mile or two). Then from the Bob trailhead go:

    Up Highlands (not bobs) > Corrals up and over all the way to the Motorcycle parking lot > down Motorcycle trail #4 > Crestline > Red Cliffs > misc. trails back to car. If you want to extend this ride, instead of going down Red Cliffs, go back up sidewinder and down pretty much anything from there (although if you go over Fat Tire Traverse you'll end up at military reserve, fyi, which is not a big deal but it's 5 minutes through the neighborhoods back to your car.

    Or, park at Military Reserve (cottonwood creek trailhead I guess it's called) and go...

    Toll Road Trail > RidgeCrest > Central Ridge > Go left at Shane's (clockwise) > Three bears up and down to the Rocky Canyon dirt road > up Rocky Canyon briefly > Up Five Mile Gulch > Watchman's > Motorcycle trail to top of Freestone/trail 5 > at the bottom of freestone you can go right and straight back to your car, or if you're not wasted by that point, you'll go left (you'll actually be on three bears again) and climb back to where you first got on Three Bears before, then finish with the rest of Shanes > Central Ridge > Ridgecrest > Toll Road.

    Both are super fun. On the second ride, a lot of people don't like the motorcycle trail between Watchman's and Freestone because it can have some sand, and would prefer to go back down Three Bears at that point, but I love that trail. It has a couple gnarly rock gardens and lots of great rollers to launch off, and then you get to finish with Freestone which is super fun: fast, a little sketchy in places, and has lots of rollers that will launch you if you stay off the brakes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiermike View Post
    Here are two off the top of my head:

    Park at Camel's Back Park, ride to the trailhead at Bob's trail (a mile or two). Then from the Bob trailhead go:

    Up Highlands (not bobs) > Corrals up and over all the way to the Motorcycle parking lot > down Motorcycle trail #4 > Crestline > Red Cliffs > misc. trails back to car. If you want to extend this ride, instead of going down Red Cliffs, go back up sidewinder and down pretty much anything from there (although if you go over Fat Tire Traverse you'll end up at military reserve, fyi, which is not a big deal but it's 5 minutes through the neighborhoods back to your car.

    Or, park at Military Reserve (cottonwood creek trailhead I guess it's called) and go...

    Toll Road Trail > RidgeCrest > Central Ridge > Go left at Shane's (clockwise) > Three bears up and down to the Rocky Canyon dirt road > up Rocky Canyon briefly > Up Five Mile Gulch > Watchman's > Motorcycle trail to top of Freestone/trail 5 > at the bottom of freestone you can go right and straight back to your car, or if you're not wasted by that point, you'll go left (you'll actually be on three bears again) and climb back to where you first got on Three Bears before, then finish with the rest of Shanes > Central Ridge > Ridgecrest > Toll Road.

    Both are super fun. On the second ride, a lot of people don't like the motorcycle trail between Watchman's and Freestone because it can have some sand, and would prefer to go back down Three Bears at that point, but I love that trail. It has a couple gnarly rock gardens and lots of great rollers to launch off, and then you get to finish with Freestone which is super fun: fast, a little sketchy in places, and has lots of rollers that will launch you if you stay off the brakes.
    I vote option 1, personally. Highlands is an awesome ride, corrals hurts in a good way, then up sidewinder for some more pain, and Fat Tire Traverse may be my favorite trail here. That or Chukkar Butte/Sweet Connie, but those have been unrideable lately AFAIK. So, option one.

    Option two is also great, but easier to get lost, at least for me. I mostly have it down by this point, but just FYI.

  7. #7
    hispanic mechanic
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    The Watchman's route is one of my favorites. That climb up Five Mile/Watchman's is a bit of a grunt, but it's a beautiful ride. One word of warning: this area will probably be tick city right now, so plan accordingly.
    Looking forward to riding there when I recover from surgery.

    Los
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    What is your best defense for the ticks? I have a bug repellent that is like 75% DEET and works great with flying insects. Never had to worry about ticks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWheels View Post
    What is your best defense for the ticks? I have a bug repellent that is like 75% DEET and works great with flying insects. Never had to worry about ticks.
    I heard people talking about that, but I really didn't have any problem this year, so I'm not really sure there is a problem...

    I'd vote the second loop suggested the goes through watchman tail, but instead of climbing 5 mile gulch I'd extend a little further on the dirt road and climb orchard gulch, it's about a mile more up the road. Another suggestion in this same loop to extend a bit more is to instead of going down freestone, once you are at the top of #5/#6 you keep climbing trail #6 femrites patrol to #4 8th street motorcycle trail, go down, take fat tire traverse and you are back to the top of freestone and then just follow the suggested loop

    another loop in the lower foothills is this:

    park at military reserve, take the connector and climb crestline, sidewinder, fat tire traverse, go down freestone, climb 3 bears and take the second entrance to shane's trail, then go down to shaw mountain road, climb the road ~1.5 miles and take 3 bears up and down again, you will end up at the same spot where you took shane's trail, find your way back to the parking lot, pretty much just point down anywhere. if that's not enough you can extend a bit the same way I suggested above, instead of going down freestone the first time, climb to #4 8th street, down to fat tire traverse and back to freestone and follow the loop this adds about 2 or 3 miles I believe

  10. #10
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    I rode a similar route the the second one skiermike described today. Counter clockwise on Shane"s to Rocky Canyon Rd up 5 Mile/Watchmans and down 3 Bears, Shane's and Buck Tail. 16.5 mi and 2100 ft. Trails were in good shape with only a few puddles. I didn't notice any ticks... Maybe I should look closer. DEET will help with ticks, but they usually crawl around for a while before they dig in so just look yourself over well when you are done.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
    I heard people talking about that, but I really didn't have any problem this year, so I'm not really sure there is a problem...

    I'd vote the second loop suggested the goes through watchman tail, but instead of climbing 5 mile gulch I'd extend a little further on the dirt road and climb orchard gulch, it's about a mile more up the road. Another suggestion in this same loop to extend a bit more is to instead of going down freestone, once you are at the top of #5/#6 you keep climbing trail #6 femrites patrol to #4 8th street motorcycle trail, go down, take fat tire traverse and you are back to the top of freestone and then just follow the suggested loop

    another loop in the lower foothills is this:

    park at military reserve, take the connector and climb crestline, sidewinder, fat tire traverse, go down freestone, climb 3 bears and take the second entrance to shane's trail, then go down to shaw mountain road, climb the road ~1.5 miles and take 3 bears up and down again, you will end up at the same spot where you took shane's trail, find your way back to the parking lot, pretty much just point down anywhere. if that's not enough you can extend a bit the same way I suggested above, instead of going down freestone the first time, climb to #4 8th street, down to fat tire traverse and back to freestone and follow the loop this adds about 2 or 3 miles I believe
    How is that climb up #6 Femrites? That's an interesting idea - never even occurred to me before. Honestly, I don't worry about ticks for mtb... Just keep moving!

  12. #12
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    from top of freestone to #4 it is really easy, just a couple of really sandy spots depending on the day, but really won't require much effort and the down from there to fat tire is really fun!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
    from top of freestone to #4 it is really easy, just a couple of really sandy spots depending on the day, but really won't require much effort and the down from there to fat tire is really fun!
    That's awesome - I never thought to do that. Will have to try it (maybe today!). What about going up #4 and down #6 (i.e. starting from the top of Sidewinder-ish and ending at the top of Freestone?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiermike View Post
    That's awesome - I never thought to do that. Will have to try it (maybe today!). What about going up #4 and down #6 (i.e. starting from the top of Sidewinder-ish and ending at the top of Freestone?
    you don't wanna do that! go down 4 first and you will forget this idea :-) there is at least a couple of sections you can't climb on a bike, same as if you try to go from top of freestone to 3bears, some hike a bike spots on #6 not worth it... also going down 6 isn't that fun, I'd climb to the ridge and come down from the top, that's fun!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiermike View Post
    How is that climb up #6 Femrites? That's an interesting idea - never even occurred to me before. Honestly, I don't worry about ticks for mtb... Just keep moving!
    I did femrites once. Never again. That was not a fun day. Ok, it was fun once I went down watchmen, but Femrites itself was not my style. Lots of moto created ruts, steep, and blegh. It was like 95 degrees that day, and I had just moved here so I was a bit lost, but I still won't do it again.

    I really need to explore orchard and whatnot more! Seems like there is al ot of good stuff I have yet to try farther up! I just have so much fun on a lot of the lower trails, coming from CA where bikes are hated this has all been pure bliss for me.

  16. #16
    jalepenio jimenez
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    Quote Originally Posted by sslos View Post
    The Watchman's route is one of my favorites. That climb up Five Mile/Watchman's is a bit of a grunt, but it's a beautiful ride. One word of warning: this area will probably be tick city right now, so plan accordingly.
    Looking forward to riding there when I recover from surgery.

    Los
    ..."tick city"...never heard Boise called that before. If that's the case, better bring along an extra pint or two...of blood, to feed those little suckers.
    Or you can do what most of us do is not to worry too much about them.
    I'd rather have them hitching a ride, than the sheep they graze through the foothills each spring stinking up the place.
    Trail #4 from the ridge is an awesome downhill, although it is a moto trail, which is why it is such a roller coaster ride...either kill-yourself fast, orr slower, if you use your brakes.
    White Clouds - Heart of Idaho
    Still kick'n after being knocked down, drugged out, and bent over - thanks MSTI...you rock.

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    Rode that 6-4 connection today - super fun! Thanks for the tip, that was hiding in plain sight for me.

    Out of curiosity, if you wanted to ride #4 down from the top, where would you go up? I once did something something > Scott's trail > 8th street > 8th Street Moto trail (#4) > Femrites, and it wasn't my favorite. The top section of Femrites (above Watchman's) was f'ing gnarly and steep. It would have been exciting and fun except there was so much sand... probably shouldn't have peeled off onto Femrites and just stayed on #4. Even then, the climb up Scotts was not exactly easy, and even the 8th Street (#4) motto traverse trail had sections I couldn't climb which kinda sucked. I wish there was a sidewinder-esque climb to the ridge road (I guess that's hard guy).

  18. #18
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    Boise area trail conditions/suggestions

    corrals->scott->8th street or hard guy->ridge, or dry creek->ridge, I prefer to climb the first route, it's boring once you get to the road, but corrals and scott isn't that bad, you can also short cut taking #4 before the ridge, there is some climbing and you don't get to come down from the top but at least you avoid quite a bit of dirt road

    you can also park at the moto parking lot at 8th street, save you a bit of climbing on corrals, but you have to finish your ride climbing back up to the parking lot

    there is also 5 miles gulch but I can't think of any reason you would climb that all the way to the ridge road

  19. #19
    jalepenio jimenez
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiermike View Post
    Rode that 6-4 connection today - super fun! Thanks for the tip, that was hiding in plain sight for me.

    Out of curiosity, if you wanted to ride #4 down from the top, where would you go up? I once did something something > Scott's trail > 8th street > 8th Street Moto trail (#4) > Femrites, and it wasn't my favorite. The top section of Femrites (above Watchman's) was f'ing gnarly and steep. It would have been exciting and fun except there was so much sand... probably shouldn't have peeled off onto Femrites and just stayed on #4. Even then, the climb up Scotts was not exactly easy, and even the 8th Street (#4) motto traverse trail had sections I couldn't climb which kinda sucked. I wish there was a sidewinder-esque climb to the ridge road (I guess that's hard guy).
    Besides gnarly and steep, Femrites has got ticks, and no $hit, rattle snakes. One trail that hasn't gotten any better with age.
    White Clouds - Heart of Idaho
    Still kick'n after being knocked down, drugged out, and bent over - thanks MSTI...you rock.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudflap View Post
    Besides gnarly and steep, Femrites has got ticks, and no $hit, rattle snakes. One trail that hasn't gotten any better with age.
    SOLD!! Pretty much all of the moto trails are changeable from year to year. I actually like climbing the section of Fenrites from the end of Freestone to 4. It's where I had one of my hilarious falls. The kind where you just stall, come to a complete stop and tilt over. Like a tree that had just been chopped. Why I couldn't put a foot down I will never know.

  21. #21
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    That's not the part of Femrites we're talking about. The other one is sketch!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiermike View Post
    That's not the part of Femrites we're talking about. The other one is sketch!
    I know. That's why I specified which section I was talking about.

  23. #23
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    Thanks for all the great input and discussion.
    Had a great ride Sun 5/21. Did loop of: Toll Rd > Ridge Crest > Central Ridge > Shane’s (left) > Three Bears > Rocky Canyon Rd > 5 Mile Gulch > Watchman > Femrite’s Patrol > Freestone Ridge (boy, Taco was fun) > Three Bears > Mountain Cove. Was a little limited on time but racked up 16.5 miles and 2620 feet of climbing. Weather was perfect mix of sun, temp and wind, making for excellent conditions.

    Your trails are very different than those of the Seattle area, much looser sandy soil that has very different traction in the climbing, down hills and turns. I did find the one tree root to hop over, made me smile that there was at least one. The scenery was awesome with views for miles at nearly every part of the ride. Which in PNW we only get a view like that at a few places along the way or at the peak of whatever we’re riding, rest of the time is in the woods. Most of our trails you only have that deep woods view, and looking at more roots then you might care to. Another thing I did notice. I saw more women out mountain biking in that one day than I’ve seen collectively in 13 years of riding. That’s awesome to see such a strong female riding community. That also improved the scenery ;-) .

    Looking forward to hitting there again when I can do some of the high country. Would love to catch shuttle to Bogus and the trails back into town. That looks to make for a great ride.
    Thanks again for all the tips.

  24. #24
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    Yep, it's starting to heat up and dry out fast now. Just a couple weeks ago the dirt was in a lot better condition. So it goes. Glad you got a good ride in.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWheels View Post
    Thanks for all the great input and discussion.
    Had a great ride Sun 5/21. Did loop of: Toll Rd > Ridge Crest > Central Ridge > Shane’s (left) > Three Bears > Rocky Canyon Rd > 5 Mile Gulch > Watchman > Femrite’s Patrol > Freestone Ridge (boy, Taco was fun) > Three Bears > Mountain Cove. Was a little limited on time but racked up 16.5 miles and 2620 feet of climbing. Weather was perfect mix of sun, temp and wind, making for excellent conditions.

    Your trails are very different than those of the Seattle area, much looser sandy soil that has very different traction in the climbing, down hills and turns. I did find the one tree root to hop over, made me smile that there was at least one. The scenery was awesome with views for miles at nearly every part of the ride. Which in PNW we only get a view like that at a few places along the way or at the peak of whatever we’re riding, rest of the time is in the woods. Most of our trails you only have that deep woods view, and looking at more roots then you might care to. Another thing I did notice. I saw more women out mountain biking in that one day than I’ve seen collectively in 13 years of riding. That’s awesome to see such a strong female riding community. That also improved the scenery ;-) .

    Looking forward to hitting there again when I can do some of the high country. Would love to catch shuttle to Bogus and the trails back into town. That looks to make for a great ride.
    Thanks again for all the tips.
    Yep, the Boise female to male mountain biker ration is better than 50/50. The most in most other places i've been to would be about 25% female to 75% male (NorCal). It's even less than that on the East Coast and SoCal.

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