It’s Time to Hit the Hills
by Chelsea Chambers, photos by Mark Dyrud
The rush of success and triumph is unmatched by nearly any other feeling in the world, especially from the top of a tall hill, overlooking the city below. Cars look like toys running on plastic tracks as they move this way and that on their busy commute to work. People are nearly indecipherable from this height. Up here, even just briefly, the world slows down.The constant slew of things to be done—work and responsibilities, the days that fly by as fast as the years—it all seems to take a moment to breathe. To exhale the stress of daily life and inhale that feeling of accomplishment—you did it, you can do anything.
The strangely satisfactory burn of muscles being exerted beyond their limit, the sharp intake of air as your body catches up with itself, and the heat emanating from your forehead are all tried and true marks of that pivotal moment when you just say, “Yes! I climbed this mountain, I made it to the top, I didn’t give up, and I deserve this feeling.”
Our bodies are in constant motion, and oftentimes, it’s not the sort of motion that we truly benefit from. Our lives are a perpetual balancing act—our jobs, our family, our friends—all require us to move about at sometimes unimaginable speeds in order to get the things done that need to be done. In the endless commotion of stress and responsibilities that is reality, we need to do our bodies and minds a favor.
Exercise has been proven to help relieve stress and tension, while simultaneously allowing our minds to be at peace and giving our bodies the push it needs to stay healthy and fit. And Idaho is home to hundreds of soul-energizing spots that will allow us to stretch our bodies and silence our minds, while enjoying the sunshine and aesthetics of the outside world.
Hiking is one of the greatest ways to feel that sense of burning accomplishment, quite literally. Boise is surrounded by dozens of foothills and mountains that are guaranteed to bring the respite and the exercise that our bodies crave, and the beauty of Idaho is that some of the most incredible hiking spots are a little bit off the beaten path.
One of our favorite local spots is Hull’s Gulch at the top of 8th street. Nestled near downtown, the hiking trail is perfect for both strenuous exertion and those out for an athletic jaunt. Hull’s Gulch is home to a wide variety of trails that incite all Idaho explorers to go out and discover a new adventure.
The Military Reserve Dog Park is a great place to take your dog for a little off-leash adventure, but it is also an amazing hiking location. Head toward the northeast side of the park and you are met with multiple trails of varying difficulty, perfect for hikers of all skill levels.
Go back down Fort Street and turn right onto 6th and make your way to the end of the road to a street called Alturas. The foothills meet up here and there are plenty of trails that start on both 5th and 6th street. It’s a beautiful location but definitely bright, so pack plenty of sunscreen. Be conscientious of private property and stick to the trails.
If you’re in the mood for a drive, Jump Creek Falls, about two hours outside of the city, has a breath-taking waterfall and gorgeous trail to hike around the area. A day trip to Jump Creek is one of the best ways to spend the afternoon; we recommend bringing extra water and some snacks to recharge your body.
Bogus Basin is famed for its winter recreation but is also home to some incredible hiking spots around the mountain. Bogus has miles of paths that wind around the area and is directly next to the Schafer Butte Trails that are located atop the Boise Ridge Mountains. The Schafer Butte Trails span over 35 miles of hiking glory with varying levels of lengths and difficulties.
Whether you’re making a day of it or getting in an hour of exercise, Idaho has some of the most beautiful hiking spots in the nation. Remember to stay properly nourished and hydrated on your adventures and stay on marked paths to help sustain the areas.
For more hiking trails in Idaho, visit hikingidaho.com. Stay safe and stay active. Get out and enjoy the beauty of Idaho!