Ridge to Rivers is closing some Boise Foothills trails for the wintertime in an effort to protect the trail system and support wildlife habitat in reserves throughout the foothills. The winter season closures vary in start and end dates, though all closures are noted on the Ridge to Rivers interactive map.
Closures Starting December 1
Three locations will have closures effective December 1, as they do each year. This year, the new Hawkins Range Reserve joined the list of annual winter trail closures.
- Landslide Loop Trail #70: The two-mile trail located above Hidden Springs is closed annually from December 1 to March 31 for wintering wildlife.
- 8th Street Extension Road: The road is closed to vehicles from the 8th Street Motorcycle Trailhead to the Boise Ridge from December 1 to May 15 every year. The gate will be closed, preventing full-size vehicles from accessing the unpaved road to protect the road and trailhead integrity.
- Hawkins Range Reserve: The reserve, which is located off N. Bogus Basin Road, features a 5.7-mile directional trail called Hawkins Loop and a .6-mile nested trail called Harrow Trail. The reserve and all trail access is closed seasonally from December 1 to April 30 to protect critical habitat and important wildlife corridors.
“These seasonal closures are an important part of our conservation goals for Boise’s open space reserves,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “The Boise Foothills are home to many species, and winter is a crucial time of year to protect critical habitat and these important environmental areas.”
Trails closed December 1, 2023
In addition to the standing annual closures, Ridge to Rivers is prepared to close two trails to prevent damage due to muddy conditions. The seasonal closures will include the Old Pen Trail at Table Rock Reserve and the lower portion of Ridge Crest Trail in Military Reserve; both closures will go into effect when weather conditions deteriorate and the trails become consistently muddy due to water saturation of the clay-heavy soil.
- Old Pen Trail #15A: In partnership with the Idaho Department of Lands, the City of Boise has permitting authority to close the .6-mile trail this winter to prevent damage to the trail. Trailhead parking will not be affected by this seasonal trail closure. This is the third winter the city will close the trail, in an effort to prevent further damage while slowly improving tread conditions over time.
- Ridge Crest Trail #20: Due to high clay content, this area in Military Reserve is especially prone to muddy conditions. The 200 yards from the trailhead parking area on Mountain Cove Road to the Archery Range parking lot will be closed. Users will be routed through the Archery Range parking lot to access other trails in this area.
The closure of these two trails is weather-dependent. They will start immediately once established and are expected to last through early-March. Please stay out of signed and fenced areas to prevent trail damage. Using trails when they are muddy is the leading cause of trail damage on the Ridge to Rivers system.
“We began closing these trails because they are highly susceptible to irreversible damage if used when muddy. These closures protect the trail system during muddy trail season, and we appreciate the cooperation of our users in advance,” said Ridge to Rivers Trail Manager David Gordon.
Additional trails could be closed seasonally to prevent damage during the muddy season. Ridge to Rivers will continue to assess conditions and update trail users as decisions are made.
Current Trail Condition Report
Most trails are in good shape and often frozen until mid-day now that temperatures have dropped. Rain – and even a possibility of snow – is predicted in the coming weekend. If you encounter soft, muddy trails following the wet weather, turn around and try another option. Good bets are all-weather trails or the Boise River Greenbelt. Users can always find wet weather and winter trail use information on the Ridge to Rivers website, and trail condition reports are posted frequently on the Ridge to Rivers Facebook page.
The Ridge to Rivers partnership consists of the City of Boise, Ada County, the Bureau of Land Management Four Rivers Field Office, the Boise National Forest and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.