It’s still winter and parts of Idaho are in the snowy clutch of winter more than others. Even in the milder parts of the state, wet weather and chilly temperatures keep folks inside in February. Skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling are fun winter activities but not safe for all. For many of us who are concerned about taking a spill and breaking a bone, it’s hot tea season and not a time to hit the slopes.
Today, for our continuing tour around the states, we are going to look at some walks you can plan for the summer — or just fantasize about right now. There’s no better way to warm up than with exercise. But, imagining a nice walk on a warm day is an excellent alternative.
Bloomington Lake Trail
This 1.4-mile out and back trail is best enjoyed March through October. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leash on this great birdwatching trail that features gorgeous wildflowers. The walk brings you to Bloomington Lake where a rope swing allows swimmers a way to plunge into the freezing lake. Reviewers say that the lake is treated as a swimming hole by teenagers on a hot day. Some love it for swimming; others avoid it during the summer months. With only 164 feet of elevation change, this is a lovely easy walk featuring gorgeous views. Get directions here!
Craters of the Moon National Monument is an area of 618 square miles of lava field. It was created by eruptions between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago. The monument is an alien landscape, and Caves Trail allows you to see beneath the beautiful surface as it contains four lava tubes to explore. A sign at the trailhead reads, “The Craters of the Moon landscape is more than just surface volcanic features. Below ground, there is a dynamic underground world where fiery rivers in hardened, self-insulating tubes once flowed for miles without losing heat.” This fantastic natural feature is well worth seeing! It is a great hike for a mixed group. For some people, the tubes may be the sight of a lifetime while others may find it claustrophobic. One tube, Boy Scout Cave, you must crawl to get inside. Walkers in the group who don’t wish to venture underground can enjoy the walk in the open on the path. The trail is a 1.8-mile out and back walk with 75 feet of elevation change. It’s best used from April through October. There are informative signs along the path and a visitor center. Get directions here.
Blue Lake Trail
Located in Boise National Forest, is a 1.6-mile out and back trail with a 380-foot elevation change. The path is open June to October. People in reviews praise the views and say it’s a great walk for a picnic with kids but warn that bug spray is a must. Some people also think that the steepness of the trail is a turn off because, while the elevation difference is only marginal, the trail ends with an upward push. There is a bathroom at the trailhead, and the lake can be fished with a license. Get directions here.
City of Rocks
Our last stop on this week’s tour is the City of Rocks. This spot is a little different than our usual haunts because of its nature as a Choose Your Own Adventure spot. With more than 22 miles of trails, you can combine them to make a walk perfect for you. This site allows for many activities, such as camping, climbing, biking, hunting, birdwatching, auto touring and educating yourself about history. With natural beauty all around, it impossible to go wrong! You can go to the City of Rocks/Castle Rocks Visitor Center for maps and watch a short orientation video about the geography, history and many activities available in the park. The park is open year-round. The visitor center is open daily April-October and then Tuesday-Saturday in the winter. Get directions here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tour of Idaho walks. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. To find a national park that you want to walk through, click here!