Hike the Dry Creek 

Fall rec spot boasts beautiful vistas

To find the unsigned trailhead, head north on Bogus Basin Road for 1.3 miles to a three-way intersection with Curling Drive. Reset your odometer to 0 and continue straight on Bogus Basin Road for 3.6 miles to a couple of pullouts on the right. From the first pullout, you will find the trail by walking up the Jeep road about 50 feet and looking to your right for a single-track trail.

Dry Creek Escape

Who says the creek drainages in the Boise Foothills are waterless by late fall? Dry Creek defies its name--it really does have water. The path along Dry and Shingle creeks is one of the most scenic trails near downtown Boise. An array of foliage is supported by the year-round flowing creek, including cottonwood trees, willows, elderberry, alder and other low-lying shrubs. The upper portions of the route skirt interesting rock outcroppings before entering a forest of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and lodgepole pine.

Fall is an excellent time to hike the trail when the canyon is ablaze in a myriad of gold and crimson hues. Yellow blooming rabbitbrush turns a luminous shade of silver as winter approaches. Near the trail's end, excellent vistas of Treasure Valley and the distant Owyhee Mountains abound. Look for grouse, turkey, deer and--once you enter the timber--black bear. The lower segment of trail is a favorite haunt of crotalus oreganus, the Western rattlesnake. The snakes are typically inactive November through March but will sometimes sun on warmer winter days. Make sure to keep your pets at close range until the first ford of Dry Creek.

The hike is an outstanding choice for families--the first few miles are relatively flat and there are many spots to enjoy a picnic beside the creek. Most hikers stop at the confluence of Dry Creek and Shingle Creek, two miles from the trailhead. Hikers looking for a strenuous, yet beautiful journey can continue another 3.5 miles. To do so, turn right at the unsigned junction beyond the confluence. The narrow path travels east along Shingle Creek, crossing the creek four times. At 3.7 miles, you'll enter the forest and ford the creek two more times. You will gain nearly 800 feet on the final mile, before the trail ends at Boise Ridge Road (5,500 feet). The total gain to the road is 2,400 feet (out and back).

Scott Marchant is the author of three hiking guidebooks for Central Idaho. More at hikingidaho.com.

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