Connecting Dirt from Seaman’s Gulch to Bogus Basin Road

•March 23, 2013 • 3 Comments

So, unbeknownst to me, there is a whole network of trails in the lower foothills, somewhat paralleling Hill and Pierce Park Rd.  So, I set out the other day to try and connect as much dirt from Seaman’s Gulch to Bogus Basin Rd.  It turns  out, you can stay on dirt almost the entire way there.

DISCLAIMER: Although I never encountered any property markers or no trespassing signs, there is one section of trail that leads you to a barbed wire fence on Cartwright/Pierce Park Rd (you end up behind it).  There were a lot of foot prints and bike tracks, so I know people use these trails, but I don’t know if it’s because the landowner turns a blind eye, doesn’t care, or didn’t see me.  You be the judge.

So, I started out at home, and road to Seaman’s Gulch and began that trail in a CCW direction:

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You will come to an intersection between Seaman’s Gulch and Wild Phlox…and an unmarked trail that appears to go straight.  This is the trail you want.  Heading straight will drive you along the ridge with some ups and downs, and a few “Y”s in the trail, but everything I encountered joined back up in short order, so it didn’t matter if you took the left or right trail, you’d still end up at the same place.  That is, until you get to a Y that will start taking you sharply downhill towards town (going downhill here is the best bet if you’re nervous about the private property thing, because it’s a widely used set of trails (mostly hikers) that dumps you out at Pierce Park Rd).  That’s where you want to bear to the left:

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This is where you are almost certainly entering private property.  You’ll be on double track (old access roads), and as long as you keep following the obviously most used sections, you’ll stay on track (it’s easy).  After a grinder of a hill, you’ll come to another Y.  Taking the left Y looks like it will take you back to Seaman’s Gulch Rd…you want to take the right trail and head downhill (towards Boise) (as shown above).

Following this dirt road you’ll wander up and down some hills, ride by a lonesome tree on a ridge overlooking Pierce Park Rd, and then downhill to a split where you can follow a singletrack trail to the right, or the “road” straight.  Either way you go, you’ll end up at Cartwright Rd behind a barbed wire fence.  I was a little surprised to find this fence, since I hadn’t crossed any barrier prior to that, but it’s there, and it’s a little disconcerting.  The fence has obviously been crossed by many people because there are obvious spots of passage, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’ll be snaking your way underneath the fence.  (As mentioned above, heading downhill to Pierce Park earlier will keep you from feeling like a villain)

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Take a left onto Pierce Park Rd towards Polecat Trail.  Take a right into the dirt parking lot and start in on Polecat.  Take the first right turn you come to in order to start Polcat in a CCW direction.  Stay on Polecat the hole time until you come to a sharp right (unmarked) after the intersection with Quick Draw Trail.  Take this right turn.

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You’ll follow this trail along the ridge.  You’ll know you’re on the right trail if you find yourself carrying your bike up two steep staircases that help you over a couple fences.  After not very long, you’ll see a fenced in building on the ridge.  Just before this building is an obvious trail that turns steeply downhill.  Head down here:

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This will dump you out on 36th St just North of Hill Rd.  This trail gets super sandy, so if you plan on doing this run in the opposite direction, plan on a grinder of a climb.

Once on 36th St, take a right towards Hill Rd.  Now, I’m not sure of the best way to connect this section with the next.  And, I don’t know the name of the trails in the next section.  I’ve come to call them the 32nd St Trails, because that’s where I accessed them the first time.  So, you can see in my GPS mapping of my ride, that I did a little probing to try and find a connector.  I ended up riding out to the school, and connecting to the trails near the tennis courts:

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The green in the above screenshot is where my tires were on pavement.

Now you’re on the “32nd St Trails.”  If you’ve never been out here, spend some time exploring.  You really can’t go wrong as long as you’re willing to back track uphill occasionally.  But, in general, if you’re aiming for Bogus Basin Rd, just keep a general heading in the uphill, Easterly direction.  If you head downhill to the right, you’ll end up on Hill Rd.  I also imagine that if you take some of the northern spurs that look like they’re heading straight into the neighborhood, you’ll end up in the neighborhood….shocker.  Just keep your front wheel pointed in the general direction towards BB Rd, and you’ll get there:

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Where you’ll end up, is a paved parking lot just behind Bogus Basin Rd. If I remember right, it’s the Harrison Nature Reserve, or something similar.  There are a few pretty fun trails out here, so I’d recommend running through them on a free day.

That’s it.  You’re there.  If you’re trying to get to Camels Back, take a left on Bogus Basin Rd, then a Right on Parkhill Dr, followed by a right on 15th.  If you stay on the left side of the road, you’ll see a trail labeled 15th Street Trail.  This will connect you to Camel’s Back (no more pavement!).

Here’s an overview shot of this whole section (the green portions are pavement):

Overview

Overview

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Dry Creek to Mahalo – Awesome!

•September 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Okay, If you’ve read any of my previous reports on Dry Creek, you would remember me to not be a fan. Well, consider my opinion changed! If you don’t know where Dry Creek or Mahalo (formerly known as Gardner Peak) is, refer to this post for directions…but ignore the negative commentary on dry creek because it no longer applies. (Short directions: Drive Bogus Basin Rd to the start of Dry Creek, just after Corrals TH, just after a sharp left hand corner. There will be a pullout and a rutted hill on the right side of the road. Ride up dry creek, staying left at the only intersection. At the top of dry creek, follow the trail left, then turn left on the ridge road, turn right onto 275C (at a sharp left hand corner), go past the gate, and look for the entrance on the right. Reverse course.)

A few anonymous heroes have put a lot of hard work into Dry Creek, and now it stands alone. Where there were once creek crossings that were more like flow-crushing pits, there are now log features…features!!! In Boise!! The trail not only has extreme flow, now, but it also has technicality. It’s great! What’s better is that it’s even cool going uphill.

Here are pictures of the new features:

There’s not a lot to say about the new log features on Dry Creek. They are what you would except. If you can ride straight, and you’ve got the moxie, you can ride these. The only ones that might catch you off guard are the ones that have the rocky entries from the uphill side. One in particular is a little intimidating as you look at it, but it’s more of a mental game than a physical challenge.

Riding uphill on Dry Creek is easier than Hard Guy (in my opinion) until you get about 5.75ish miles up the trail, when the trail gets steep and loose. That’s a tough bit of climbing, but everything else isn’t bad at all. Dry creek, uphill, is one of those climbs that you can forget that you’re climbing, because it has enough twists, turns, rocks, and cows to keep you sufficiently distracted from your pedaling.

Mahalo is a great little trail. It’s short, but it’s purpose built for mountain biking. Watch for tight switchbacks and enjoy the berms.

Downhill on Dry Creek is fantastic now. Really watch out for loose dirt and ruts, which is common this time of the season, but otherwise, let it rip.

I road this from my house, which is almost exactly 10 miles from the Dry Creek trailhead. My total miles for the day was 42 miles, so if you parked at the trailhead, you’re looking at about 20-22 miles of riding for these two trails.

Here are a couple more pictures from the ride. Right now is a really beautiful time to ride Dry Creek because the daises and sun flowers are out in full bloom.

This picture is a 3D anaglyph. I’ve been playing with 3D photography lately and gave it a whirl with a couple iPhone pictures. You’ll need Red/Cyan glasses to see it in 3D though…you’ve got ’em right?

28 Mile Loop

•May 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Still riding! Haven’t posted for a while, but I haven’t done much new stuff either. However, I rode the Coyote Classic at Avimor last weekend, and it was fantastic. The trails were all new to me, so that was exciting. I also placed 5th, so I wasn’t too unhappy with that. I’ll be heading out there again in the near future, and I’ll try to get some maps and reviews up. In the mean time, here’s a 28.5 mile loop I did yesterday.

Start at Military Reserve and make your way to Three Bears (I took Buck Tail)
Climb Three Bears to Watchmen and ride Watchmen all the way down to Rocky Canyon Rd
Turn left and climb up Rocky Canyon Rd until you get to a trail marker for Orchard Gulch.
Turn left and start climbing Orchard Gulch. This is a steady ascent, so if you come to an intersection (you will intersect Five Mile Gulch), just keep heading uphill.
Orchard becomes Five Mile and Five Mile tops out at the Ridge Road.
Turn left on the Ridge Road and watch for the intersection of Trail 4 on your left.
Take Trail 4 down until the first intersection (Trail 4 Intersects itself).
Turn right on Trail 4 heading towards 8th St.
Take 8th St down to Scott’s.
Scott’s to Corrals.
Corrals to Trail 1 (cross 8th St and head down to Hull’s Gulch)
Down Hull’s Gulch
Up Kestrel to the Military Reserve Connection.
Reverse course back to your start.

Here’s the map:

This was a great loop, and the perfect time of the year for it. Trail 4 will probably never be better than it was yesterday. The dirt has soaked up just enough moisture to be firm and tacky instead of loose and sandy. It was fantastic and the definite highlight of this ride!

I’ve reviewed all of these trails except for Orchard Gulch (from Rocky Canyon Rd). Five Mile and Orchard Gulch is a steep and hard climb, made only slightly easier by climbing a little bit on Rocky Canyon Rd first, but really, all the previous beta for Five Mile Gulch stands true for Orchard as well.

If you haven’t ridden trail 4 yet, you might miss the junction that takes you over to 8th st. I think there is a post/trail marker there, but you might not count on my memory for that one. Basically, you’ll descend for a short distance, come out of the trees and then arrive at a sort of level landing…this is the intersection. Look sharply to the right and you’ll see the trail continue around the hill towards 8th st (this intersection is marked on the map above). Trail 4 to 8th is just amazing. It’s rolly, fast, flowy, tons of fun. Watch out for motorcycles as you come across.

Everything else is pretty self explanatory if you’ve got your Ridge to Rivers map, and all the remaining trails have been reviewed here elsewhere, just use the search bar on the top right of this page.

Ride this one now, while the moisture is still in the hills!

Trail Conditions: 5/20/11, everything is dry. We got a lot of rain and even a little snow recently, but it is dry and perfect up to the ridge road. Even the snow that was on Five Mile a couple weeks ago is all gone. Have a blast!

3 Bears and Five Mile Gulch Lollipop

•May 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday I set out with the goal of seeing how dry Five Mile Gulch was, and was pleasantly surprised. The loop was 19.21 miles and went like this:

Military Reserve to Buck Tail
Up Three Bears
Take Three Bears to Rocky Canyon Rd
Up Five Mile Gulch
Turn left onto the Ridge Rd
Turn Left onto Trail 4
Stay Straight on Trail 6
Follow Trail 6 back to Three Bears and reverse course

Here’s the map:

This is a tough ride. I have never found climbing up Five Mile Gulch to be terribly enjoyable…more so a feeling of work. This is simply because of my level of fitness. It’s a hard climb. I think what makes it such a hard climb is that you have to climb to get to it. If you don’t drive up Rocky Canyon Rd, then you’re left with biking to the start of the trail, and no matter how you figure that, you’ll have some significant elevation to gain. On this ride, I went up Three Bears, which is not an insignificant bit of climbing by itself. So, by the time I get to the start of Five Mile, I’m already tired. The other piece to the puzzle is that Five Mile is a pretty unrelenting climb. Compare it to Hard Guy, for example, and you will see that Hard Guy has more level spots or downhills mixed in, while Five Mile is a steady ascent with only a couple spots where it relaxes the grade a little. This is definitely a ride for those who have good hill endurance.

That being said, Five Mile is still a good way to access the Ridge Road if you’re looking for a longer day. Once you’re up on the Ridge Road you can dive into Trail 4 which will let you go back to the Watchmen, Three Bears, Camel’s Back, or 8th St (which gives you access to Corrals and Scott’s).

For this ride, I went down Trail 4 and stayed straight onto Trail 6 to ride Three Bears back down.

For more information on the route to get up Three Bears, read this post. The only difference is that I cut off to the right to head down to Rocky Canyon Rd. You can ride down Watchmen to Five Mile Gulch and still have a great ride, in fact, that would be my preference (rather than going the way I did).

Trail Conditions (5/7/11): There’s still a little bit of snow at the top of Five Mile. I walked a couple sections, but they were very short and not detracting to the ride really. Here’s a picture of the worst spot on Five Mile Gulch:

Once you get past this bit of snow, there is a little more snow at the very top where the trail meets the Ridge Road. You’ll walk through about 100 feet of that stuff, then you’ll be in the clear.

30 Mile Loop

•May 6, 2011 • 1 Comment

Okay, so the title is misleading because the ride was only 29.28 miles, and you can decide if it’s a loop or not.  Here’s the rundown:

Start at Camel’s Back Park
Ride the road until you get to the bootleg section of Bob’s trail that connects to Corrals
Corrals to Hard Guy
Out and Back on Hard Guy
Up Corrals to Scott’s
Scott’s to 8th St
8th St to Trail 4
Trail 4 to Sidewinder
Sidewinder to Crestline
Ride out on Lower Hull’s Gulch
Hop on Kestrel to get to Owl’s Roost
Ride the Camels Back Park trails back to the car.

This loop was fantastic!  It’s got a lot of hard climbing, but the descending was just gripping!  Here’s the overall map and elevation profile:

30 Mile Loop

There are a couple bits of this loop that you won’t find on the Ridge to Rivers map, so here are some close-ups and details:

To get from the park to Bogus Basin Rd, start heading back up 13th st/Hill Rd, and then take a right onto 15th St; take your first left onto Parkhill Dr and you’ll intersect BB Rd.  Head up BB Rd until just past the stop sign by the school.  You’re going to turn right into the parking area of the church just after the stop sign, follow it around to the back and you’ll see a real short dirt trail leading to a paved walking path.  Turn left onto the path (uphill) and follow it to the next road.  Turn right on that road.  Here’s a picture:

Following this road will take you by/above the golf course.  Keep a sharp eye out to the right and you’ll see the start of the trail.  Hop the curb and descend into the trail.  You’ll parallel the golf course for a little ways.  As of today, there is a fence up to keep the cattle in, I’m hoping that the owner doesn’t mind us riding through there as long as we keep his fence intact and don’t bother his cows.  Anyway, keep riding this trail, when you get to a fork, take the high road.  You’ll start to make your way up hill towards Corrals.  The hill you’ll climb to get up to Corrals is very steep, so be prepared.  Here’s another shot of the whole trail:

Once on Corrals the rest of the ride is pretty straight forward.  Here are some links to the trail info:

Hard Guy: Follow the link for more information. As of today (5/4/11) the Ridge Rd is pretty snowy and muddy at the top of Hard Guy. It’ll be a little bit before it dries out:

Corrals to Scott’s: Corral’s is a fun trail with a couple decent climbs. Compared to the climbing on Hard Guy, the climbs you’ll do on Corrals are not really a big deal. For this particular loop, you’ll only have to contend with one hill on Corrals. However, as soon as you get to the intersection with Scott’s, then you’ll start to do some pretty good climbing again. The pitch of Scott’s is very similar to lot’s of sections of Hard Guy. Scott’s is a nice single track with no technical surprises, just a climb. Scott’s will top out on 8th St.

8th St to Trail 4: This section of 8th St is pretty steep. Since you’ve been doing a lot of climbing already, it’s going to feel pretty tough (unless of course you’re wicked strong). Trail 4 is signed and very obvious. Just keep looking to the right and you can’t miss it.

Trail 4: From 8th St, Trail 4 is a mixed bag of climbing and descending. From 8th St, there will be several climbs with intermittent descents until you come to the intersection where you could ride to the Ridge Road. From that intersection, the trail points almost entirely downhill, and it is incredible! It’s very sandy in spots, and some bits are pretty rocky, but the downhilling is top notch. It won’t be for the faint of heart unless you take it pretty slow. There is one intersection with Trail 6 on your way down, just keep bearing to the right and you’ll stay on Trail 4. As of today, Trail 4 has some mud and snow on it on the uphill bits near 8th St. It’s all rideable though. Here’s a picture of the worst spot:

Sidewinder, Crestline, and Lower Hull’s Gulch

Owl’s Roost: This is another dirt sidewalk that is no big deal, but a nice recovery descent. You will quickly come to a “Y” intersection with an anti-bicycle sign. If you were to stay straight you’d be on a hiker only trail, so take the left option and cruise past the privileged path. This trail will dump you out onto 8th St and the parking.

Go across the street and follow the trail to the left. If you stay on the trail here you’ll end up right back at Camel’s Back Park.

Still Riding; New Benchmark

•May 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know if anyone is looking at this blog to see what I’ve been riding, but if you are, I haven’t been slacking off, I just haven’t been posting.  I’ve put in 80-100 miles since my last post, some road, some on the trainer, but mostly on dirt.  All the dirt rides are ones that I’ve posted on before, except for the trails off Pierce Park Road (#81-83).  I still need to write a review of these trails, and it is way overdue, because they are a lot of fun.

Today, I just got back from a solo ride on this loop (Three Bears to Watchmen).  Man it was fun.  The weather was spectacular, and the trails were perfect! There was a little bit of traffic here and there where I had to yield, but overall it didn’t interrupt the flow of the ride.

I’m going to use today’s ride as a benchmark for the rest of the season.  This is a loop I do often, so I will watch my times and see what happens.  Also, I road today with the intention of staying within my lactic threshold (except for the steepest hills, where I would have otherwise been walking), which felt great!  At the end of the ride I still felt fit and able, not dead.  So for future benchmarking, these within-lactic-threshold rides will be the ones I use.  So…

Total Miles: 17.15 (I know it’s different in the post above, and I don’t know why)
Total Time: 1hr 39min
Avg Pace:  10.4 mph

I promise to get the 81-83 trail reviews up soon, but it’ll be a few days because of work.