The Idaho City Area trail system is one of the finest year-round trail systems for non-motorized trail users in the Northwest. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has worked cooperatively with the U.S. Forest Service and user groups since 1977 to develop a top-notch trail system in the Idaho City area. Each year the trails are maintained by hundreds of volunteers so users have the safest and best marked trails in the state. In the summer the trail system is a naturally cool place to hike and ride because of its high elevation and dense forest environment. There is no cost to use the trail system and parking lots in the spring/summer/fall, but during the winter you must purchase a Park N’ Ski permit to park in the designated parking lot
Click here for a trail map of the area
Over 56 miles of marked two-track forest roads and single-track trail are available to mountain bikers, equestrians and hikers at no charge. Many of the trails used in the winter make excellent summer trails, except the lower half of Banner trail which is wet and marshy. Because of the trees and high elevation (5200 to 6500 feet), it is always 10-20 degrees cooler than Boise.
Motorized Use Restricted
Under the current Boise National Forest travel plan, ATVs and motorcycles are allowed on all designated roads in the area except during big game hunting season. The only roads in the area open during the big game hunting season are the Banner Ridge, Banner Mine, China Fork/Gold Fork and Kemper Ranch roads. No motorized traffic is allowed on the old rehabilitated roads that have been ripped up and water barred. Access to the yurts from an open road must be by foot, pack animal, or mountain bike.
View from Stargaze yurt. Photo Credit Ryan A. Walker
- Stay on trail and don’t cut switchbacks, take short cuts or create new trails.
- Be considerate of fellow trail users.
- Avoid muddy trails.
- Remove obstacles from trail when possible.
- Avoid deliberately disturbing wildlife, especially during calving and fawning in the spring. Observe from a distance.
- Move off the trail when meeting less mobile users.
- When meeting horseback riders, step aside the trail, downhill if possible, and talk in a normal voice to the riders. This calms the horses.
- Ride under control. Travel at a safe speed considering the terrain and the possibility of meeting others.
- Use caution on blind corners.
- Announce your presence with a bell or greeting and pass slowly, especially when approaching equestrians.
- Stock tied directly to a tree destroys trees and turf. Use hitch lines or the hitching rails at the yurts.
- Keep horses at the yurts only as long as it takes to unpack and pack them. Then hitch or pen them at the designated site near the yurt.
- Clean up all manure and hay at yurts, trailheads or loading areas.
- If possible, use pellets in lieu of hay or suspend hay in netting from hitch line.
- Never tie horses within 200 feet of the creeks or springs.
The area is rich with wildlife. Often trail users see large ungulates such as elk, deer and moose. Occasionally a bear, coyote, fox or mountain lion is spotted. Squirrels and grouse are plentiful. It is likely a wolf or two is in the vicinity. In the large creeks you will find rainbow trout, bull trout and tailed frogs.
Courtesy & Safety
One of the main reasons trail and yurt users come to this area is for wildlife viewing. In order for the area to continue to have abundant wildlife you should do the following: Control your dog. This is especially important during elk calving season, which runs from early spring until early July. Do not approach elk calves, deer fawns and/or other infant animals even if they are alone. The mother will eventually return to them. Be careful around moose, which sometimes like to use the groomed winter trails. Do not pressure them to move off the trail, as they will charge. We recommend that you back down the trail out of sight and wait a few minutes until the moose meanders off the trail. In the summer we usually have 5 or 6 bear sightings on the trails. In all cases the bear high-tailed it into the woods. To date we have had no conflicts with yurt users and bears. To be on the safe side we recommend that you keep a clean camp at the yurt and dispose of all dirty water in the gray water system. All food should be packed out of the yurt when you leave. Please do not feed any animal including the chipmunks. A portion of the trail system is located near creeks that contain bull trout. Bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and, like other aquatic biota, are sensitive to extra sand and silt in the stream. To reduce stream bank erosion, which adds sand and silt to the stream, we ask that you use the bridges instead of fording the stream. Your respect for wildlife may assist us in future expansion of the yurt and trail system.
Idaho State Park yurts are circular, Mongolian-style domed tents. Every park yurt is about 20 feet in diameter with a plywood floor, canvas and hardwood sidewalls and a skylight. Each yurt can sleep up to five or six people and is built to withstand high winds, snow loads and summer heat. With lockable wood doors, windows with screens and storm flaps Idaho State Park yurts are a comfortable, peaceful and safe place to be, even in winter! Some parks allow pets in yurts, but please check with the park first.
There are currently six yurts available for rent, year-round, in the Idaho City area.
Click here for a 360 degree view of the inside of the Stargaze Yurt.
$115 per night Note: Use fees are per night for a party of up to 6. Additional per person fees are $12 per person/ per night for a party greater than 6, with a maximum of 9 allowed. There is a $10 plus tax non-refundable reservation fee charged at the time of booking.
Photo courtesy of Dawn Brooks
Due to fire, several of the trails and bridges are being repaired. We are actively working with the ranger district to reestablish the trails that were damaged in the Pioneer fire.
Volunteers Always Needed
We wouldn't be able to maintain such an intricate trail and yurt system without the help of our volunteers. If you are interested in being a part of the volunteer crew, contact Yurt Coordinator DeEtta Petersen at DeEtta.Petersen@idpr.idaho.gov or 208-514-2418.
Current Volunteer Events
- All Sawyers safety training (RSVP) May 22nd, 10 am to 3 pm
- All Yurts Maintenance week/Wood Splitting and BBQ July 8th thru 13th, 2019
Stay tuned for more upcoming planned volunteer events!
- US Forest Service
- The Idaho City Ranger District
- The Idaho City Maintenance Crew
- The Southwest Idaho Mountain Bicycling Association (SWIMBA)
- Treasure Valley Back Country Horsemen
Looking for more information? Visit our website!
Click here to be redirected to Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation.