One of the Rocky Mountain's Best Kept Secrets
Video & Words: Tory Powers
Riders: Braydon Bringhurst, April Zastrow, Kyle Warner
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Being a Colorado native, and being used to world-class cycling at every intersection, I was absolutely stunned as I hopped on the saddle in Boise. Idaho is much more than farmland, plains, whatever they're telling you. The accessibility to not just good, but great riding is unparalleled.
There truly aren’t many places out there like Boise.
This is a city that doesn’t just acknowledge a large cycling community, but owns it. They’re proud of the community, the access to the outdoors, and the tourism that it brings to the growing city.
It’s not just mountain biking that Boise has ample amounts of, it comes from all walks of the woods. From technical, rocky trails, to fast singletrack, to public bike parks and the 25-mile Boise Greenbelt, the city is heavily invested on cycling influencing everything from lifestyles to infrastructure.
Thankfully we got to experience Boise with somebody who knows all of the goods, Braydon Bringhurst.
Eagle Bike Park
Our first stop on our trip visiting Idaho with Braydon and local photographer Anthony Smith was right outside Braydon’s backdoor, Eagle Bike Park.
A short 20-minute drive from Boise (or five minute bike ride from Braydon’s place) lands you at the trail bike playground that is Eagle Bike Park. Its vast spiderweb of trails, jumps, skills park, and skatepark should be enough to blow you away.
You can get 13 miles of riding in without touching a single trail twice, it’s E-bike friendly, and has features that will keep you progressing no matter your skill level. This park is both maintained by the City of Eagle and Ada county, as well as some phenomenal volunteers that continue to keep it great.
Eagle Bike Park had some of the flowiest public trails I have ever laid eyes on; I swear it wasn’t just Braydon’s riding making them look good.
Something I noticed about how they create trails here that’s unlike anywhere I’ve personally been to is they take into consideration being on the ground just as much as being in the air. Strange thing to notice, but take note public parks - it’s not all about the jumps, even though some of them are pretty sweet.
Big berms, big rollers, and keeping the flow going came first, and they snuck jumps in where they could. Sure, they have big lines like Sage Fright, but a lot of the trails focus on keeping the tires on the dirt, like Weekend at Bermy’s. From the top of the park, which is an easy pedal up a dirt road (or trail, your choice), you can hit miles of singletrack filled with features like rock gardens and wooden drops. This is a must see when you’re in the Boise area.Eagle Bike Park mountain biking trails
Table Rock Trail Area
Following Eagle Bike Park, we checked out the Table Rock trail area in the evening.
Table Rock doesn't have just one feature that's worth talking about, the entire area is full of goodies. It’s both (mostly) shuttleable and pedalable (there’s one killer climb Braydon claims to this day is impossible on the Quarry trail, which coming from him, you should probably trust.)
It's mere minutes from downtown Boise, and features stunning views of the city. Towering 900-feet over Boise, you get some amazing views and technical descents through old quarries and fast, wide open singletrack. I’d love to have this minutes from my place.
Unlike a lot of areas I’ve ridden, the style of trail was constantly changing as you descended. There were sections I felt too sketchy to ride with a camera bag, sections that I felt like I was going mach speed, and towards the bottom some faster rock gardens with big rock slab features you can wallride, or fastplant, if you’re Braydon.
One of the reasons Braydon loves Table Rock is how accessible it is. The trailhead for the base of Table Rock links up directly with the Boise River Greenbelt, a 25-mile bike path that runs the length of the city and then some, so you won’t even have to turn on your car or touch a road to get to amazing mountain biking.Table Rock mountain biking trails
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area + Stack Rock
The following morning, we got an insider look at what the non-profit local ski/bike resort was up to - Bogus Basin. Now, I can tell you it’s anything but what the name insinuates. Just 40 minutes from downtown Boise lands you at a phenomenal little resort that felt genuinely welcoming. We got to meet up with Enduro racer Kyle Warner, and motocross athlete April Zastrow from the YouTube channel and podcast “Ride MTB” who helped show us around a bit.
Bogus already has six downhill-only trails but are working on a big jump trail and some hand-built singletrack that you should see access to by next summer.
You can get ample amounts of trail riding here too, being that there’s over 60 miles of loops and nearly 3000-feet of descent, you’d forget that you can see Boise on the horizon. On top of all of this, they have reasonably priced day passes for lift access and things like the alpine coaster to keep your entire family entertained if they’re not out grabbing laps with you. The crew up there is amazing too, with passionate mountain bikers being behind everything they’re up to for building. There’s a lot of good coming out of this area over the next couple of years.
On the way back down from Bogus, there’s an area called Stack Rock that we checked out next.
This area is fully shuttleable with multiple contact points to North Bogus Basin Road, but it’s also super fun as an out and back, which is what we did.
Most of the trails at Stack Rock are blue trails but there are certain zones and features that I’d rate a good bit higher. Stack Rock definitely brought the tech.
I was blown away by the natural elements here, beautiful large rocks and tall bushes that made riding in the fall time something out of a movie. The trails here all felt very fast and flowy with just enough difficulty to keep you entertained.
This vast network of trails stretches all over the Boise area. Seriously, check out the map on Trailforks. You could ride all the way to Bogus Basin, and then back to multiple other trailheads and areas all from one location. I can’t even fathom how many miles of unique trails you could ride in this area. No matter what you’re in for, whether it’s an epic distance ride, an evening stroll, or some shuttling, Stack Rock and the trails alongside North Bogus Basin Road will have you covered. Bogus Basin mountain biking trails
Boise Bike Park
Back on the topic of public bike parks comes Boise Bike Park, a city maintained park that is the ultimate place to progress your skills on two wheels.
This park has two paved pump tracks (one larger, and one for the tots) and four jump lines with multiple options of features in each. We’re talking everything from small table tops to slopestyle-esque wall rides and whale-tails. It makes me super happy to see public parks like this popping up all across the country, but it made me sad that I left my dirt jump bike back in Colorado. This is the perfect spot to take your family or your friends to. Everybody would love it.
The park maintenance is run by Dustin Zeis, who used to be the head digger at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO (aka, the Valmont Wizard), so you know this park is going to look as good as it rides. I always envy the kids I see riding at these parks at such a young age because of how catered these areas are to quick progression.
If I could travel back in time, I would go back and build more public parks sooner.
The paved pump tracks here are a seriously cool feature for a public park to have installed right next to jump lines.
When there’s no snow (which isn’t uncommon for downtown Boise), it means these lines are more or less rideable year round. The bike park is worked on year round too, so you can expect to be able to get outside and get laps on this bike park no matter the time of year. It’s also located right on the edge of Boise, so it’s no more than a few minutes from you at all times, and directly next to the start of yet another network of trails in the Boise Foothills, the Ridge to Rivers trail system.
You thought that surely this article had to be wrapping up soon, right? Wrong. I can’t even address all of the amazing riding because we didn’t have enough time to ride it all. But there are a couple more I want to mention.
The Boise River greenbelt is an amazing feature built into the heart of Boise - a 25-mile bike path right alongside the Boise River that has access to everything- I’m talking downtown Boise, multiple trailheads, a whitewater kayak and surf park, and so much more. The Greenbelt is perfect to take a tour of what Boise has to offer, or to utilize as a route to work, shopping, as well as mountain biking all over town.
Last, but not least, is the mecca that is the Boise Foothills. The Boise Foothills may be the easiest and most accessible set of trails in Boise stemming from the bike park with multiple other trailheads depending on what you’re wanting to ride. This area is Anthony Smith’s “45 minute ride of choice” as he quoted it. There are 60+ miles of trail here with over 3000-feet of vert, which is a lot coming from Boise which has an elevation of 2,730 feet. Can you ride from here to Bogus Basin, you ask? Yes, yes you can. It truly is amazing how far you can go from just one common location.
There are countless trailheads to this area, but we chose one a bit higher up into the hills so we could get up to a local favorite - 8th Street MX. 8th Street was super fun, being one of the few black trails in the area. It’s loose, it’s steep, it’s rocky, and it’s full of water bars. What else could you ask for, truly? The other trails that we rode in this area were also a blast, but it is one of the more popular areas to ride close to the city, so it can get busy from time to time. Getting up higher in the hills maximizes your potential to be riding alone (we didn’t see a soul), so in my opinion, it was very worth the trek. Boise Foothills mountain biking trails
I genuinely cannot express how satisfied I was with the amazing riding, community, and culture that is Boise. It completely shattered my (very) naive outsider’s opinion on the city, let alone the state. It’s amazing how far they’ve come in the riding scene in even just the last few years, and everybody here can attest to the fact that in a few more years, it’s only going to be exponentially better. Boise is a place that cares about recreation, cares about its community, and is putting riding at the forefront of its culture. Thankfully for this trip, Boise wasn’t our only stopping point. Check back in again soon to take a look at our first impressions of “Boise’s backyard” - McCall, Idaho.
Boise mountain biking trails
Local KnowledgeGetting here:
Seven airlines service the Boise Airport (BOI) with nonstop flights from 21 U.S. destinations as well as a number of options for one-stop flights. Many cities offering nonstop flights are located in the western region of the United States, but you can also catch a direct flight out of Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago and, newly added, Atlanta. The Boise Airport is conveniently located just 4 miles from Boise’s vibrant downtown scene.
For those looking to explore the wide-open road, Idaho is home to 31 designated scenic byways that will lead adventurers through an array of scenery throughout the state. The Climate & Wildlife:
Idaho is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts and Boise’s warm summers and mild winters give visitors the opportunity to experience adventure year-round. Found in the southwest corner of the state, the capitol city experiences all four seasons and showcases a variety of rider-friendly terrain from rugged desert plains to lush, forested trails.
This four-season climate also provides suitable habitat for a variety of wildlife. Riders and visitors alike should be aware of coyotes, deer, birds of prey, and snakes that may also call the valley home. Venturing beyond Boise, visitors might find elk, moose, black bears, river otters or even mountain lions in the wilderness areas around the state.Bike shops and repairs: George's Cycles
and Idaho Mountain Touring
both carry a variety of bikes and biking accessories and offer maintenance, repairs and rentals. Eagle Bike Shop
, Bob's Bicycles
, McU Sports
and World Cycle
are also great local shops to check out for all your biking needs. Local Mountain Biking Clubs:
Local mountain biking club Southwest Idaho Mountain Bike Association
(SWIMBA) not only facilitates group rides, but focuses on advocacy and volunteering to maintain and build new trails and protect access. Dirt Dolls
is a women-only club that welcomes female riders of all skill levels. Food and Drink:
After an early morning ride, recharge at Certified Kitchen + Bakery
where made-from-scratch English muffins created from a 52-year-old sourdough starter are served up as hearty breakfast sandwiches. If you enjoy a creative take on a breakfast favorite and need a protein fix before or after your ride, stop in at BACON
where breakfast and brunch are served all day. If you have 48 hours to really take a bite out of Boise, check out this food guide
For an afternoon fill up, Boise Fry Company
fries fresh potatoes with all natural, local, and whenever feasible, organic products. The spuds are sourced from the nearby M&M Heath Farms in Buhl to create a fry that is uniquely Idaho. BFC produces little to no waste and even recycles its sunflower seed oil to be used in cars. On any given day, you can choose from red, russet, purple or sweet potatoes and then pick your fry cut: shoestring, regular, curly, homestyle or PoʼBall. BFC also offers bison, beef and vegan burgers sandwiched between organic whole wheat potato buns, baked fresh every day. If you want to continue to satisfy your inner foodie, check out these five new Idaho restaurants
. Powderhaus Brewing
is the perfect spot to crush a cold one. Enjoy “alpine inspired” beers made with local hops and traces of floral and pine in a cozy cabin-like taproom. Powderhaus boasts that its beers pair perfectly with Idaho's thriving outdoor lifestyle. And a bonus: it’s dog-friendly.
Boise’s first nanopub, Cloud 9 Brewery
, is regularly rotating its selection of brews. As soon as the last drop from the previous batch has been poured, another craft beer is put on tap. Nosh on everything from mac n’ cheese and burgers to vibrant salads and pub-style sandwiches. But save room for the beer-amisu dessert.Must Dos:
With one of the largest Basque populations outside of Spain, the culture and history of this community are on full display at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center
found on the Basque Block
. Try some paella from the Basque Market to get a true taste of Basque country.Boise's Ridge to River
trail system connects the Boise community to public lands and the natural environment surrounding the city. Hike, bike or even horseback ride the 190 miles of trail in the Boise foothills.
In 1872, the Old Idaho Penitentiary
began housing some of the West’s most dangerous criminals. Closed to inmates since 1973, visitors can now explore the penitentiary grounds and the Idaho Botanical Garden next door
Take a stroll through Freak Alley Gallery
. This alley turned public art display is covered from top to bottom in murals and is considered the largest outdoor gallery in the Northwest.
For help planning your Idaho mountain biking vacation, ride on over to VisitIdaho.org
and download the Official Travel Guide