Boise Foothills Hike: Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears Loop

 

Boise Foothills Loop Hike Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears 3While hiking this trail, I kept getting little surprises that makes this one of my new favorite trails in the Boise Foothills. This trail combines three segments for a fantastic loop hike that comes with wildlife, scenery, solitude, and is only 20 minutes away from Downtown Boise.Boise Foothills Loop Hike Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears 1

This hike begins with an ammunition warning and a minimal ascent long the Five Mile Gulch trail. Fivemile Creek runs close to the trail, but is hidden by dense bushes that birds fly in and out of. I spotted a Western Tanager which has a brilliant red head, bright yellow body, and black back, wings, and tail.

Western Tanager: Wikipedia

Western Tanager: Wikipedia

There are four creek crossings that are shallow and narrow (see pics below). I have heard that deer and other wildlife can be spotted alongside the creek. When you reach a signed junction for Watchman and Orchard trails. Follow Watchman north up the canyon, and suddenly, the trail will go southwards and begin ascending. This is exciting after the 1.7ish miles of mostly flat hiking. The trail then suddenly cuts north, and then south again, going up higher and higher alongside a ridge in hills.

Boise Foothills Loop Hike Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears 2

There are more flowers along this portion of the trail because of the sun. Here are some flowers that are right alongside the trail.

 

Boise Foothills Loop Hike Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears 8

Boise Foothills Loop Hike Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears 4

The ascent also brings the canyon into view, along with a view of Boise.

Boise Foothills Loop Hike Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears 11

I saw a Western Fence Lizard sunning on a rock, multiple grasshoppers (some covered in ants…), and I stumbled on quail with their characteristic head bobby thingies. The trail continues on top of the hills, until another signed junction for Three Bears. Go LEFT on this trail, back down through the grassy hillsides to Rocky Canyon road. Walk about 500 feet down the road to the original parking lot for Fivemile Gulch.

Boise Foothills Loop Hike Gulch, Watchman, Three Bears 9

 

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