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Go the Distance: Boise’s Best Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing Trails

Want to keep the adventure going during the chillier months? Try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Not only are they a great workout, but they’re a great way to explore Boise’s snowy landscape during winter months, and you can participate regardless of your skill level or ability. If you can walk, you can snowshoe and cross-country ski.

The best thing about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing is they let you move across the snow in ways you couldn’t otherwise. There’s no better way to enjoy the beauty of snow-covered Boise than strapping on snowshoes or skis. You can traverse Boise’s most popular trails even when they’re buried under feet of snow. You can even create your own trails. Better still, you won’t have to fight crowds or wait in line at a ski lift.

Nordic or cross-country skiing? 

So what’s the difference between Nordic and cross-country skiing? They are actually the same; one just sounds a little fancier. Nordic skiing gets its name from the area it originated: the Nordic lands of Norway, Finland, and Sweden.

Where to rent your gear

If you’re visiting Boise, you may not have packed your ski or snowshoe gear. No problem, lots of places can hook you up. If you’re going to Bogus Basin, you can rent your gear at the Nordic Center. You can also rent from one of these locations in town:

Idaho Mountain Touring
1310 W Main Street
208-336-3854

McU Sports
2314 N Bogus Basin Rd. #0902
208-336-2300

Greenwood Ski Haus
2400 N Bogus Basin Rd.
208-342-6808

What to bring on your outing

Here’s what to bring when snowshoeing or cross-country skiing:
– Snowshoes or skis and poles
– Winter boots
– Sunscreen
– Wool socks (and an extra pair of socks in case the ones you’re wearing get wet)
– Layers of clothing
– Gloves
– Winter hat
– Backpack with water, snacks, hand warmers, and other necessary supplies
– Map and compass

Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing at Bogus Basin

Just 16 miles from Boise, Bogus Basin is one of the best places to snowshoe and cross-country ski in the area. You can rent all the equipment you need at Bogus’ Nordic Center, which is just past the main lodge parking area. This center is your gateway to more than 20 miles of groomed trails, four miles of which are lit in the evening. One of the favorite Nordic trails at Bogus Basin is the Nordic Highway, which is a wide and mostly flat path. It has rougher trails that branch off of it. More advanced skiers like to make loops with connecting trails like Sapper’s Return and Redtail. The Shafer Butte Extension offers a lot of elevation for more advanced skiers.

Must-try snowshoeing trails

Here are four popular snowshoeing trails you should try:

Adelmann Mine

Address: Adelmann Mine Trailhead, Boise, ID 83716

This scenic trail is almost 5-miles with relatively easy terrain (although it does include a steady incline on the way to the mine). At the end of the trail, you arrive at the Adelmann Mine, which is much the way it was when it closed years ago. The view from the mine is well worth the trip. 

Corrals Trail

Address: 31 Corrals Trail, Boise, ID 83702

This 5.5-mile trail cuts through the scenic foothills around Boise. It’s not a looping trail, so you’ll need to plan ahead for transportation or snowshoe both ways.

West Highland Valley Trail

Address: 7596-7536 #11 West Highland Valley Trail, Boise, ID 83716

If you’re a more adventurous, experienced snowshoer, try this 6-mile trail. The first couple miles offer a steep incline. This trail is not usually busy, so you can have the views all to yourself. You can take the loop clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Central Ridge Trail

Address: 750 Mountain Cove Rd., Boise, ID 83702

This 2.9-mile trail follows the Boise River, offering breathtaking views along the way. You can combine Central Ridge Trail with the nearby Bucktail and Shane’s trails for an almost 7-mile loop. The trail has a moderate rating, making it ideal for snowshoers of all experience levels.

Must-try cross-country ski trails

Here are four of the most popular cross-country trails at Bogus Basin:

Bogus Basin East Side Loop

Address: Bogus Basin, Idaho 83629

This 2.8-mile loop is the backbone of the Shafer Butte trail network within the Boise National Forest and gains around 500 feet of elevation from start to finish.

Lower Nordic Loop

Address: Bogus Basin, Idaho 83629

Another 2.8-mile trail popular for Nordic skiing, Lower Nordic is a moderately challenging loop that is open year-round for activities.

Sapper’s Return to Weasel to Redtail Trail Loop

Address: Bogus Basin, Idaho 83629

This moderate route gains just over 200 feet of elevation in 2.6 miles.

Sidewinder Trail

Address: Bogus Basin, Idaho 83629

If you’re looking for something on the more “easy” level, this trail is just under 1 mile long, making it a great starting point for beginners or families with young children.