NewsIdaho Back Roads


Searching for hiking alternatives during the muddy trail season

Posted at 3:17 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 17:17:51-05

BOISE, Idaho — The snow has arrived and from now into spring people will receive reminders not to hike on the trails in the foothills when they are muddy.

Last week we highlighted some of the all-weather trails and the trails that hold up better than others, also if it's below freezing people can also hit the trails before they thaw into muddy conditions.

So we wanted to look into some alternatives and a trip to Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park taught us a valuable lesson it's not the best place to visit when the wind is howling.

On Monday we were able to find the sun and avoid the snow and the sand dunes are open during the winter, but a check of the weather would be a good idea before making the hour-long journey from Boise.

Bruneau Sand Dunes were formed by the Bonneville Flood more than 14,000 years ago and the wind collected sediment from the flood and built a 470-foot mountain of sand, it is the highest single structure of sand in North America.

Other places to check out south of the Treasure Valley include the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.

Two good places to start are Dedication Point and Celebration Park which recently opened back up after improvements to the visitors center and new bathrooms were installed.

Canyon County installed those thanks to a grant from the Idaho Parks and Recreation vehicle fund, Idaho residents can purchase a State Parks Passport for ten dollars a year when they register their vehicles.

People only need to use the pass twice to pay for it at 27 different state parks and we have a few in our own backyard.

Lucky Peak features a popular place to let the kids swim in the summer, people can play disc golf at Eagle Island and the Bruneau Sand Dunes is not too far away.

Of course, another option and probably the most convenient way to get outdoors is the iconic Greenbelt next to the Boise River.

Walkers, runners and bikers can access the Greenbelt from a variety of locations and several bridge crossings enable people to create a loop.

"My girlfriend and I have a goal that we are not going to let the weather stop us from moving so we will come here when everything else is icy," said Kristin Ernest who we ran into by Esther Simplot Park. "We have lots of trails to choose from and it is beautiful."