New Guides to Boise's Backyard

Like many of you, I love to explore the river and foothills, usually with my dog, Frida. Idaho’s great outdoors does not disappoint… and neither do those who write our guides for exploring it. Three well known Idaho authors have recently released new books for exploring close to home.

Ray Vizgirdas- Boise Foothills and Forest Plants: including Boise Peak, Bogus Basin, and Mores Mountain

Ray Vizgirdas has written many books on food and survival plants throughout the West, including three last year: Wild Edible and Useful Plants of Idaho, A Field Guide to Idaho Mountain Plants, and Field Guide to Food and Survival Plants Along Idaho’s Centennial Trail.

Boise Foothills and Forest Plants includes descriptions of grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees in the Boise area. A biologist by profession, Vizgirdas includes the common name as well as the  latin and straightforward descriptions of the plant and where it grows. He includes a brief key to  common plant families in the Boise Foothills that allows for easier identification. Bring this pocket sized book on your outdoor adventures and you just may become an amateur botanist.

Steve Stuebner- Boise Trail Guide: 95 Hiking & Running Routes Close to Home

Steve Stuebner might be the most prolific outdoor writer in the area, with more than fifteen books covering topics ranging from mountain biking, hiking, and paddling to microbes. He also maintains an active blog of all his Idaho outdoor adventures with trips and tips (Stueby’s Outdoor Journal). Stuebner’s latest publication is a revision of the popular Boise Trail Guide. The new version includes 20 more hikes and runs than it’s already impressive predecessor. 

The routes vary from easy Greenbelt trails to epic mountain hikes and are classified accordingly, along with description of distance, hiking and running times, elevation gain, seasonality, water, cautions and a map. It’s a lot to pack into a small book (each having only a one page description and one page map), but the glossy pages should hold up well to being tossed in a backpack. If you want to vary your run or explore close to home, Boise Trail Guide is an excellent resource. 

Scott Marchant- Hikers Guide: Best Easy Hikes Greater Boise

Scott Marchant’s popular Hikers Guide series gets a new addition with Best Easy Hikes Greater Boise. A follow up to the Hiker’s Guide Greater Boise, Best Easy Hikes includes 50 trails within two hours, all five miles or less. This is the go-to when family visits from out of town. It’s a great way to introduce them to the diversity of our backyard playground without pushing beyond tolerances. 

In addition to overview maps and area descriptions, Marchant lists his favorite hikes for particular situations: solitude, views, wildflowers, seasonal favorites, and increasing the challenge. At-a-glance information includes distance, elevation gain, recommended season, difficulty, time to complete and GPS coordinates. The Hikers Guide series are beautiful books, with descriptions and photos that will have you planning your next half dozen outings before you’ve completed the first. 

Sunscreen. Backpack. Waterbottle. Dog bags. Guidebook. Check.

See you on the trails!

Andi & Frida