This ride takes you through the heart of the Rivers to Ridges Wildlife Management area. It has hard climbs and rewarding downhills. This trail becomes more and more challenging as the season passes due to loose conditions and erosion. If you are a "climber" you'll find few trails as rewarding as this one for a shorter workout.
This trail falls near an "iconic" establishment in Boise, The Lucky 13, near the trail's start is a great place to grab a post ride bite to eat or to meet up with the rest of your riding buddies. The truly iconic Ben's Crow Inn which was near the exit of Highland Valley was displaced by a subdivision circa 2019.
This ride starts out on the Homestead Trail (#12)
. This trail is an old section of doubletrack that would climb up to the Boise Ridge road. It's not for the faint of heart. We are talking 1000 feet of vertical gain in 2 miles. The bulk of that elevation gain is broken up into three hill sections with some gentle, mostly flat, recovery sections in between.
Just past the gate, at the "heart," take the road east over the cattle guard onto Lucky Peak 4WD Road (#8). Take advantage of this first section of downhill to recover for the pull up to the top. Dogs are off leash in this section and you may see a vehicle or two although I never have.
Just past the turn-off to Cobb Trail (#13)
, this section of road gets steep and loose. Keep a little in the tank for section of trail. This area can be challenging after rain or late in the season as the trail ages. The good news is that things flatten out from here. Just past the cattle guard in this flat section you come to the intersection of E. Shaw Mountain Road.
Take a the downhill at Shaw Mountain intersection. Ride down Shaw Mountain for about 0.9 miles. Start watching the right hand side of the road for the start of West Highland Valley Trail (#11)
. The turn will be ~5.4 miles from the start of this route. EDIT: ***The turn off for West Highland Valley Trail (#11)
is now only open to foot traffic. ~5.4 miles marks the beginning of the public archery range. If you continue down Shaw Mountain Road, you'll pass the Buffalo, Cougar, and Elk Targets on your left. Turn right on East Highland Valley Road when Shaw Mountain Rd. dead ends into a parking lot for the Archery Range. You'll have to carry your bike through the walking gate even though the sign says it is still open for Mountain Bikes and Horses. You'll make a short climb past several archery stations, follow the trail down turning right just past the large rock outcrop. You'll turn left down the trail linking back up with the original trail.*** This section of trail is the only section of singletrack on this ride, but it's all downhill, so soak it up. This is a fast, relatively non-technical, trail. It can get sandy later in the year so stay on point as I've seen more than one rider wash out and lose it in this section of trail. There are also some large watershed berms in here that will make great kickers, but some will throw the front end forward so keep your weight back.
You'll finish up with the dirt at the parking lot at the bottom of West Highland Valley. If you want to turn this into a full loop (as mapped) continue down the pavement to Warm Springs. Head west on Warm Springs to Crow Inn and use the access trail from the Crow Inn parking lot to get on the Boise Greenbelt Path and travel back to the beginning of this ride.