Overview5 mile gulch is a gorgeous trail in the Boise front that climbs steadily from Rocky Canyon to the ridge road. As part of the interconnected ridge to rivers trail system, it is easy to ride this as an out-and-back or connect with other trails to create a loop.
This is a moderate length trail, with a pretty nasty climb, so I often pair this with Orchard gulch to create a loop. It is also tempting to use this as part of a series of loops, at least later in the year when I'm in ok shape.
Trail DescriptionThe trail itself is straightforward, with some great singletrack climbing out of the gulch. It is not hard climbing, but there is a section of steep, loose uphill, right after the trail leaves the gulch and begins the climb to the ridge. This is the reason for the moderate difficulty rating. If you choose to descend this section, take care! I have seen folks overshoot these hairpin turns.
Near the beginning of the trail, while you are still in the gulch, there are three stream crossings. In the spring or if the water is flowing well, you will get your feet wet. You may want to bring extra socks.
In the first two miles, the trail will cross the stream three times. Use caution here, as there can be quite a bit of foot traffic, at least on the weekends.
At approx. 2 miles, you will begin the climb out of the gulch, toward the ridge. (There is a closed fork of the trail, so be sure to follow the signs). Here the trail is quite steep at the terrain loose. Watch for tight turns.
At 2.5 miles is the junction with Orchard gulch #7. You can either utilize this as a loop back to Rocky canyon, or continue climbing to the ridge.
From here it is a climb to the ridge. There is little relief from the climb, but you'll be rewarded at the top with some views into central Idaho, and "it's all downhill from here!"
Getting ThereThis trail begins on Rocky canyon road, approximately 3 miles after the pavement ends. There is a small section for parking at the trailhead, and you can also ride your bike up the canyon to the trailhead. If utilizing this as the downhill section of a loop, access via the ridge road, or via the junction with Orchard gulch.
When to BikeBiking season in the front begins early, due to the low elevation. That being said, this trail reaches high into the range, so until mid May, or sometimes even June, you will encounter snowdrifts.
Avoid on the weekends, as Rocky Canyon gets a lot of weekend traffic.
LinksThe Ridge to Rivers site has a map, as well as miscellaneous info about the trail system.
Check Steady Grind's excellent Boise Foothills page for more info.