If you haven’t heard, Boise is a great place to be right now. It’s quickly becoming a hub for tech companies, new families, and outdoor enthusiasts.
While there are many great things to love about Boise, Idaho, one of the best is its access to the great outdoors. Boise has several state parks and national forests, all within easy driving distance.
Whether you’re planning on an all-day adventure in Boise National Forest or just popping over to Lucky Peak State Park for an afternoon, the area has plenty for you to explore. And because of the sheer amount of hiking options, it can be daunting to find a hike to do.
We’ve gathered a list of six popular hikes in or near Boise, Idaho, to get you started.
Best Hikes Near Boise
The Boise River Greenbelt Trail is one of the biggest parks and hiking trails in Boise, following the Boise River through the city. Although the actual trail is 25 miles long, most people don’t hike the entire thing.
There are various smaller parks along the trail and other scenic views and wildlife habitats to enjoy along the route. You can jump on or off the trail at any of the parks.
This is a relatively easy hike. The area is open from sunrise to sunset. Even though the path runs through the heart of Boise, along the trail you don’t feel like you’re that close to downtown. After you’re done hiking, float the river or have a picnic at Lucky Peak State Park. Or play at any of the other parks along the path.
Though it may not be a traditional hike, this scenic greenway is still a fun way to experience Boise while on a trail.
Location: Downtown Boise
Distance: 25 miles
Elevation gain: Minimal
Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve Trail takes you on a tour of a beautiful preserve for animals, birds, and plants. Located on the edge of Boise’s West Bench, it has various trailheads, pathways, and overlook areas. The reserve is 44 acres with conservation stations dotted along the trail. The Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve is a beautiful haven within the city.
This is an easy 1.5-mile loop. The only downside to this trail is that only service animals are allowed, so you’ll have to leave your dog at home. Also, fishing, boating, swimming, wading, bicycles, and glass beverages are prohibited to help protect the wildlife in the reserve.
Location: Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve
Distance: 1.5-mile loop
Elevation gain: 10 feet
The Mores Mountain Interpretive Trail is located in Boise National Forest about 21 miles north of Boise, Idaho, just past Bogus Basin Ski Area. There are campgrounds nearby and the Shafer Butte picnic area. The hike is 4.25 miles and is on singletrack. Depending on the time of year, the hike is moderate to strenuous. During the hike, you gain 1,000 feet of elevation.
There are some pitfalls to this area. It’s not very accessible to vehicles, so the trail tends to fall into disrepair, and it’s only open for part of the year. It opens around early June and closes at the end of the summer season.
Mores Mountain is a beautiful moderate area, and if you’re looking for a more secluded outing, this recreation area is perfect for hiking, biking, camping, and picnics.
Location: Shafer Butte Recreation Area in Boise National Forest
Distance: 4.25-mile loop
Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
The Stack Rock Trail is located in Boise National Forest about 15 miles north of Boise. This is a great day hike but sometimes can be overcrowded because it’s a very popular hiking destination. This 8.2-mile out-and-back is an intermediate hike with a lot of shade. The beginning of the trail is pretty steep, and then there are some switchbacks when you start to descend again.
The trail is well-marked and maintained. There are some points where the path is wide and other sections where it’s a singletrack trail. Along the way, you can enjoy beautiful wildflowers in season and plenty of scenery. And the view at the end is spectacular. The trail is mostly used for hiking, but you can find people rock climbing, bird watching, or riding horses as well.
Animals are allowed on this trail but it’s best to keep your dog on a leash. If you want to get out and enjoy a beautiful hike near Boise, this is a good one to try.
Location: Boise National Forest
Distance: 8.2-mile out and back
Elevation gain: 1,400 feet
Shingle Creek Loop is a hike that follows along the Shingle Creek and Dry Creek Trails. It’s a 13.8-mile hike that is moderately hard. For most people, the hike is difficult because of the length and the steep sections. Throughout the whole hike, you’ll gain 2,221 feet in elevation. Even though it’s difficult at times, the view at the top and along the way are well worth the effort.
Through most of the hike, you’ll be hiking in the forest alongside the creek. Because of that, there are pretty equal parts shade and sun along the way. You can definitely take your dog on this hike if they’re used to hiking.
Just make sure you have extra water for the sunny parts, and watch out for bikers. If you’re feeling up for a challenging hike, this loop is worth the time and effort.
Location: Boise National Forest
Distance: 13.8-mile loop
Elevation gain: 2,221 feet
Cervidae Peak is located in Lucky Peak State Park, about 20 miles southeast of Boise. It’s a difficult hike, but the view at the end of the hike is breathtaking. From the summit, you can see several landmarks including Shafer Butte, Thorn Creek Butte, Mt. Heinen, Sunset Peak, and Pilot Peak. This is a hard hike, but it’s worth it — as you soak in the scenery at the end, you’ll feel proud of overcoming the challenge to reach the summit.
You can bring your dog on this hike, but make sure you bring plenty of water for both of you because there’s basically no shade along the trail. Because of the heat of summer and the little-to-no shade, most people start early in the day to try to avoid the worst of the heat.
The trail is very steep in places. Bring a hiking stick or trekking poles to help you navigate the descent if you feel unsure of it.
Location: Lucky Peak State Park
Distance: 4.4-mile out-and-back
Elevation gain: 1,883 feet