I love the high desert, but let’s be honest – there’s so much of it to love. The stretch of road between Fernley, Nevada and the Idaho border on US-95 is a sea of sagebrush. When you start bouncing back and forth between the rumble strips, it’s time to find an adventure.
The day before leaving Boise, I flipped through a guidebook trying to find a short hike for Aspen to stretch her legs and discovered Leslie Gulch. The detour off the highway was a bit farther than I hoped for, but so worth it!!
There are various gulches to explore, each rewarding in its own way. On a whim, we chose Juniper Gulch. Most of the trailheads are equipped with a trash can and restroom, nothing fancy but more than I expected an hour off the highway.
We accidentally visited Leslie Gulch during the perfect season, the green on the mountains fantastically contrasted the vivid orange hues. The only thing that could add to it was a dusting of snow, but I doubt I would have braved the dirt road with just Aspen, me, and a signal-less cell phone. During the summer, I’m not sure how well the blazing sun would complement the gulch…early morning or evening, I think.
There were so many jaw-dropping rock formations above me and cool rocks below, it’s a miracle I didn’t face plant in the middle of the trail or should I say dry-creek bed. The main trail became more apparent when we gained a bit of elevation and a view!
With eight hours left on the road, we decided to head back for the car. Or should I say, I decided we were headed back to the car.
We hiked .87 miles in with a honeycomb amphitheater reward. This out-and-back is a chose your own adventure, from a short stroll to cresting the saddle and joining the Oregon Desert Trail.
Driving from Boise, there are hints of captivating geology drawing you from the tedious stretch of US-95; take the suggestion – go explore.