At only 6525 ft. Boise Peak is not a large mountain by Idaho standards but is does offer a fun and rewarding climb that's close to Boise. This mountain is part of the Boise Mountains foothills that form the backdrop to Idaho's largest city. Because of its proximity to Boise the foothills see a lot of traffic. Most of the land in the lower foothills is privately owned while the higher portions are managed by the Boise National Forest. Boise Peak itself is on forest property. The Boise City deparment of parks and recreation operates a system of trails throughout the foothills called the Ridge to Rivers system and access to Boise Peak mostly utilizes these trails. There is a forest service road that goes within 1/2 mile of the top but hiking this mountain is a much more enjoyable experience of course.
Boise Peak is one of the more prominant peaks in the foothills and has a large, rounded, forested summit. Because the top is quite broad it is difficult to determine exactly where the true high point is. There are a number of small rocky outcroppings in the forested area at the top and it seems like the one on the extreme southeast is the highest, although slightly.
The view from the top is limited because it is densely forested but there is a wonderful view of the Treasure Valley and the Owyhee Mountains from the open ridge to the southwest of the summit.
Boise Peak in the Evening
This mountain lies in the transition zone between desert and forest climates. The lower portions of the Boise foothils are treeless and open while the higher portions are heavily forested. In the summer temperatures can reach into the 100's. That, combined with the treeless, desert climate of the lower foothils, makes this a difficult mountain to climb in the summer months. It is best to climb during the spring or fall. If attempted in the summer it should be done in the morning or evening when it is cooler.
Athough not a technical mountain, Boise Peak requires endurance, and determination to reach it's summer and can be an excellent training mountain or an enjoyable climb for those who live in or visit Boise.
There are multiple approaches to this mountain. The easiest, of course, is to drive most of the way. All the hiking approaches involve long, shadeless approaches.
From Boise take 8th Street which will turn into a dirt road and wind it's way all the way to the top of the foothills. There it will meet the Boise Ridge Road. Take the Ridge Road north to Eagleson Summit. From there follow FR 275E til it ends and hike the remaining 1/2 mile to the top.
Camel's Back Trailhead
One of the largest trailheads of the Ridge to Rivers system is located in Camel's Back Park. The park is on Heron St. between 9th and 13th streets, just North of the Hyde Park Historic District in Boise's North End. Boise Peak can be reached from any number of trails.
The Boise Peak Area
The Corrals Trailhead is located along Bogus Basin road. Bogus basing road can be reached by following 13th St. until it curves to the west and becomes Hill Road. It will intersect with Bogus Basin road just after it starts going west (there will be a stoplight and a sign). The corrals trailhead is on the East side of the road about 2 miles up. From the trailhead take the Corrals Trail (No. 31). It will intersect with the Hard Guy Trail (No. 33) about a mile in. Take this trail all the way til it meets the Ridge Road at Shingle Creek Trailhead. From there follow the road to the South til you get to FR 275E and follow that til it ends. From there bushwhack your way to the top.
Most of the lower foothills are private land. The city of Boise has worked out some agreements with land owners to allow public access to the foothills. Therefore, please respect the owners' properety by staying on marked trails. Failure to do so could result in more restrictions or loss of public access. Camping is of course prohibited on the private land. The higher portion, including the ridgeline, is administered by the Boise National Forest and campin is allowed there.
Because of desert climate it can be quite hot in the summertime with temperatures often climbing into the 100's. There is NO shade until you reach the forest at the top of the ridge. There is also very little water so you must bring your own.
Camping is prohibited on private land. There are, however, several good camping spots along FR 275E near the summit ridge of Boise Peak. This is on National Forest land so camping is allowed.
Here is a link to the official Ridge to Rivers
website. For information about the National Forest property visit the Boise National Forest