Crooked River Trail (Idaho)
Note: This trail is closed until the beginning of 2019 due to fire damage.
The Crooked River Trail is a very easy trail located in the Boise National Forest. This whole area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts of any sort. In the summer, hiking, backpacking, fishing and a variety of motor sports all have dedicated space, and in the winter, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are popular ways to enjoy this area.
At a length of 2.5 miles with only 137 feet of elevation gain, this was the laziest backpacking trip we’ve ever done! The area is a popular recreation destination and we ran into several day hikers and other backpackers, but were able to find a large and relatively secluded campsite right next to the trail. In May, the weather was wet and even though we could have had a fire, I seem to recall we really couldn’t get one started, and by early evening there was a steady drizzle that made sitting outside a no go.
This was also our first time backpacking with fishing gear. We later figured out that it was a bit early in the year for fishing, but it was fun to spend the afternoon hanging out on a small beach and practicing casts.
As the “hike” is so short and relatively flat, this is a good trail to test out new packing methods, different gear, or fun new wilderness toys.
In backpacking every ounce counts so adding new gear can be a gamble; this trail is both short and easy enough that you could go back to the trailhead and ditch some weight, trade in your new blister-inducing boots for your comfy old ones, grab that bottle of whiskey you forgot in the car and still have time to get back to your campsite before dinner. In fact, I ended up running an extra 2 miles along this trail because we lost Charlies leash (which is camo patterned… perfect for blending in to wet foliage) and it only took me 30 minutes to jog a mile, find the leash, and jog back. Not bad for a girl who hates running!
The Boise National Forest is a beautiful piece of land that caters to every possible outdoor interest. The Crooked River Trailhead is about a 1.5 hour drive from Boise, and the gentle terrain and beautiful scenery make this area perfect for a quick weekend getaway or an impromptu day hike appropriate for all ages and skill levels. Once the area opens back up for recreational use, I’m planning on bringing our parents and siblings for a fun and easy family backpacking trip!