The Boise Foothills are a great place to get outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery of southwestern Idaho. It’s located near the city of Boise, and you can actually start some of the trails directly from Boise in Hyde Park. The proximity and ease of access from Boise makes the Boise Foothills a popular place for anyone looking to take a trek out into nature.
While the Ridge to Rivers trail system in the Boise Foothills is an incredible place to head outside and hike, run, bike, or go horseback riding, there are some rules and guidelines to keep the trail system in good condition, and to protect the natural habitats of animals and plant life. The Boise Foothills are a large natural preserve, and the etiquette ensures that everyone can share the extensive 130-mile trail systems, while also ensuring that the trails will still be around for future generations to use.
Because you can hike, run, bike, or ride a horse, there are different rules and guidelines. They all share a couple of things in common though. Be courteous to other trail users, and be considerate to the landscape, and stick to the trails.
When hiking or running with others, use the trails single file. Don’t bunch up in a group. This keeps the trail neat, and prevents vegetation from being damaged while keeping the trail from expanding. It also allows other people to pass, without causing a jam.
There will be times when you need to yield to other people on the trail. When this happens, stop and wait. If you continue off-trail, this leads to trail widening, and creates separate little run-offs that ruin the integrity of the trail and the surrounding vegetation.
On the same token, when someone else yields to you, stay on the trail when passing them.
It is considered common courtesy to announce your presence and ask to pass when coming up behind someone. Because of this, if you listen to music or use headphones, keep the volume at a moderate level so you can hear other users announce themselves or ask to pass.
If you are a large group, that’s fine. But, if the group is larger than 12 people, Ridge to Rivers asks that you split up your groups. Take a different loop, or stagger your departures.
Horseback riding is allowed, but it’s important to be considerate. Avoid new or wet trails, because the horse’s hooves can create deep marks in the trail.
In order to preserve the landscape and natural habitats, always stay on the trail. Never ride, walk, or run cross country, as this can harm the vegetation and lead to erosion.
Always yield to horseback riders. Stay on the downhill side, and allow the horse to pass. This is safer for both the horse and the person yielding.
Dogs are allowed to be on the trails with you, although they must be leashed on the majority of the trails. All trails that require dogs to be leashed are clearly marked.
If your dog is allowed to be unleashed, they must remain close to you, and under your control at all times. This is to keep you, your dog, and everyone else safe, as well as keeping the local wildlife undisturbed.
Clean up after your dog. Make sure to have a garbage bag, or another suitable system, to clean up your dog’s waste. No one else will clean up after your dog, so will you need to.
To keep the area friendly to dogs, follow the rules and be a responsible dog owner.
If trails are muddy or wet, exercise caution. If you notice that you are making the trail, turn back, and try a different trail. Also, walk (if biking, walk your bike) through wet sections to avoid causing ruts. Never walk around a muddy section. It’s safer for the trail system to walk through short sections of muddy or wet trail.
Living in Boise and Idaho provide you with plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature. Just be respectful of other people doing the same, as well as being respectful toward nature. Stay on marked paths and trails. This ensures that future generations will have the same opportunities to enjoy nature the same way you are. So get outside and explore Idaho!