Hiking & Trails

The Owyhee Mountains (Gradual climbs to steep climbs)

First, this is not a designated trail.

Second, hiking dirt roads out here can be just as much fun and rewarding as being on a trail.

Third, it may be intimidating, but just go do it.

The Owyhee Front, the front of the Owyhee Mountains that we can all see to the southwest from Boise, has hundreds of hiking areas.

Pick a canyon, pick a road or pick a rimrock ridge, and go for it.

Gone is the summer heat. It's actually pretty brisk up there at 5,000 feet in elevation. It's the high desert, and cottontail rabbits are darting around in the bright yellow rabbitbrush. Hawks are flying over rimrock.

Drive out U.S. 95 about 10 miles, pick a road and go hiking.

HOW TO GET THERE: I-84 west to Exit 35; right on Nampa Boulevard; left at the sugar factory; stay on Idaho 55 through Marsing to U.S. 95; south on U.S. 95 to Mile Marker 7. Look for a place to hike.

Open to: Mountain bikers, hikers, motorcycles and ATVs (check motorized regulations).

Ideal for: Hiking, or just strolling along a desert road.

Trailhead elevation: 4,000 to 5,000 feet.

Destination elevation: 4,000 to 6,000 feet.

Length: Whatever you make it.

Difficulty: Gradual climbs to steep climbs.

Out and back or loop: Out and back is best. You could get lost trying to do a loop.

Wildlife you might see: Antelope, rabbits, hawks, chukars and deer.

Notes/bathrooms: Stop in Marsing for your last break and at the BLM office to get a map to learn where private and BLM land is located. Stop at the historical marker just past the weigh station on U.S. 95 and learn about Owyhee history. It's on the south side of the highway. One spot to start a hike is at GPS: 43 degrees, 21.575N; 116 degrees, 55.623W.

Information: BLM office in Marsing.

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.

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