OverviewOrchard gulch is a nice short climb high in the Boise front. The trail climbs several hundred feet from Rocky canyon and intersects the 5-mile gulch trail about halfway along that trail's climb. As a result, it makes a nice loop when combined with either 5-mile itself, or by using Rocky canyon and the Ridge road.
Trail DescriptionThe trail is relatively straightforward. If you are climbing out of Rocky canyon, the first mile is a steady, but solid climb, following Orchard creek. The trail then winds along a ridge to meet up with 5-mile.
If you are descending, either from 5-mile or the ridge road, the last mile into Rocky canyon is a fun, fast downhill.
For the most part, it is solid singletrack, with no sand or obstacles to worry about.
For the first 1/2 mile, the trail meanders along Orchard Creek, with a few bumps and little climbs along the way.
The next 1/2 mile is a climb out of the gulch, heading to the junction with the 5 mile trail. The trail is mostly doubletrack and very solid.
The final 1/2 mile winds along a hillside until it meets with 5 mile. There are a couple sections of rock, but that's about it as far as technical issues. Enjoy the flowers!
At the junction you can turn back the way you came (boring!), descend via 5 mile (some nice turns), or continue up to the ridge (if you are in pretty good shape).
Getting ThereThe trailhead in Rocky canyon is about 4 miles after the pavement ends. There is not much parking at this trailhead, so I'd suggest making a short loop of this. Park near the trailhead for 5-mile gulch and either ride up Rocky Canyon to the Orchard gulch trailhead, or ride up 5-mile and down Orchard gulch and then the canyon, back to your car. Due to the interconnected nature of the Boise front trail system, it is easy to make this a loop, or part of a series of loops.
When to BikeThe Boise front is relatively low in elevation, making the biking season a long one. Usually this trail will be open in May, but if it's been a heavy snow year, you may run into a drift or two if you venture toward the ridge.
Links and SuchThe Ridge to Rivers website has some additional information, as well as a map.
Check out Steady Grind's excellent Boise Foothill page for more info.