City Escape: Boise, Idaho

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This loop northeast of Boise is a microcosm of the rest of the Pacific Northwest. It is varied and spectacular. Throughout the ride, the ecosystems change from high desert foothills, to chaparral, to alpine. Then there’s the water! Lakes, lazy rivers, white water rapids, and hot springs are the highlights of this City Escape.

Length

Approximately 150 miles

Meet-up Spot

Big City Coffee, Linen District, 1416 Grove Street, Boise, ID 

Lunch Stop

Sourdough Lodge is a nice little eatery in a beautiful mountain location. It also has a gas station for a mid-ride fuel-up. Find it at 8406 ID 21, Lowman, ID, (208) 259-3326.

Scenery (5 out of 5)

Not only is the scenery constantly changing on this escape, the elevation changes afford amazing and panoramic views of where you have been and where you are going. Mountains, valleys, and waterways are all on the menu.

Difficulty (4 out of 5)

This is a mountain route that requires rider attention. The abundant curves range from sweeping to hairpin. Watch for fallen rocks, especially in the miles around Lowman.

Road Conditions (3 out of 5)

Well maintained overall. The stretches of road in the lower elevations are smooth and free of tar snakes. However, the tarmac is more unpredictable and challenging as the elevation rises. The texture of the surface is quite variable in places. Most of the route is fringed with guardrails when necessary.

Points of Interest

  1. Lucky Peak State Park. Just eight miles in, there is a 
huge horseshoe-shaped sandy beachthat sits in 
the spillway of an impressive man-made lake. 
Boating, sunbathing, and fishing abound; 
www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/luckypeak
  2. The Springs. This commercial hot springs resort is a
popular excursion for Boiseans as well as tourists.
Day passes are affordable and include towels, lockers,
and other extras. This is also an alternate lunch stop on the loop; www.thespringsid.com
  3. The Boise National Forest. This national forest boasts more than 500 trails, 250 lakes and reservoirs, and 2.5 million acres. Its elevation spans from 2,800 feet to the nearly 10,000-foot peak of Trinity Mountain. Stop often and enjoy this natural treasure; www.fs.usda.gov/boise
  4. Horseshoe Bend. This small town is a jumping-off point for several fun activities. River rafting, ziplining, and even a historic train run are offered. The century-old Thunder Mountain Line is Idaho’s only scenic train ride; www.visitidaho.org/community/horseshoe-bend