This trail looks like a scat highway. Bear scat was all over the place on a recent hike.
Of course, it's where the blackberries are abundant in late summer and early fall, and bears probably think it's a candy store.
You'll also see coyote scat (right) along the trail, or at least I thought it was coyote scat. It was probably too small for wolf scat.
The Fivemile Gulch Trail off Rocky Canyon Road is nature's classroom, with berries, rose hips, scat and a variety of shrubs and trees. It goes along Fivemile Creek, which is a lush riparian zone. A riparian zone is a brush area along a creek which offers habitat for a lot of critters. It's definitely a good fall hike.
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HOW TO GET THERE: Take Reserve and Shaw Mountain Road to Rocky Canyon Road. The trail is 3 miles past the end of pavement. GPS: 43 degrees, 37.839N; 116 degrees, 06.372W.
Open to: Hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders.
Ideal for: Beginner hikers for the first mile or so. It's a gradual elevation gain.
Trailhead elevation: 3,823 feet.
Destination elevation: From 4,365 to 5,200 feet, depending on how far you go.
Length: One mile out and one mile back.
Difficulty: Easy the first mile. It's strenuous from there on out where the total elevation gain is 2,000 feet in 3.3 miles.
Out and back or loop: I did it as an out-and-back hike, but you can make a nice loop with Orchard Gulch Trail No.7.
Wildlife you might see: Bear, coyotes, songbirds and deer. I saw a bull snake last month. I also saw deer tracks.
Notes/bathrooms: There is no outhouse. There's some water in the creek for your dog. Both the Fivemile Gulch and Orchard Gulch trails were recently maintained by Ridge to Rivers.
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.
5-MILE GULCH TRAIL MAINTAINED
The 5-Mile Gulch Trail from the Ridge Road to Rocky Canyon has recently been maintained and added to the Ridge to Rivers system. The trail is a strenuous but scenic route that gains 2,000 feet in elevation in 3.3 miles, and follows an old wagon route. Tread conditions are somewhat soft due to all the recent maintenance, but it will firm up nicely with some good moisture. 5-Mile is a good bet for wildlife and berries in the late summer and early fall, and makes a nice loop with Orchard Gulch Trail #7, which was also recently maintained. The trailhead is about 4 miles past the end of the pavement on Rocky Canyon Road. Look for a trail marker in the drainage on the left.