Hiking & Trails

Oregon Trail Reserve (Easy)

When Boise Foothills trails are too muddy to hike, trails in the Oregon Trail Historic Reserve, on the rim between Columbia Village and Surprise Valley, are the perfect place to take a stroll or ride your mountain bike.

The snow-covered basalt cliffs and sagebrush create a dynamic frame for downtown Boise in the distance.

The trail also is a history lesson, with interpretative signs along the way.

The area is situated along the cliffs above where covered wagons rolled along as they entered the valley. It includes the Kelton Ramp, a cut in the rocks where emigrants rolled their wagons from the bluff to the valley below.

HOW TO GET THERE: Take I-84 east to the Idaho 21 turnoff to Idaho City (Exit 57). Continue northeast on Idaho 21 to East Lake Forest Drive. Make a left and follow the street to the reserve·s parking.

Open to: Hikers and bikers. It's an accessible gravel trail.

Ideal for: Strolling, running and mountain biking.

Trailhead elevation: 2,920 feet. The trails remain level if you don't descend the ramp. If you do, you lose elevation.

Destination elevation: 2,880 feet

Length: About 4 miles if you do a loop and walk the whole reserve.

Difficulty: Easy.

Out and back or loop: Either — it depends on what you want to do.

Wildlife you might see: Rabbits, deer, eagles over the river and songbirds.

Notes/bathrooms: A restroom is at the trailhead.

Information: This is a good trail to hike or bike if Foothills trails are muddy. You can keep track of the condition of Ridge to Rivers trails by visiting www.ridgetorivers.org. The Web site is updated as needed with current trail conditions.

If you've hiked or biked a trail you'd like to see featured, call Niki Forbing-Orr at (208) 377-6446, or e-mail outdoors@ idahostatesman.com. Articles and photos submitted to The Idaho Statesman may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.