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Polecat Loop Hike

Intermediate
 4.1 (16) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A popular loop for runners and mountain bikers that makes for a good hiking workout right outside of town.


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Map Key

6.8

Miles

10.9

KM

Loop

3,483' 1,062 m

High

2,990' 911 m

Low

822' 251 m

Up

822' 251 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers

Overview

The Polecat Loop has become a dependable route for many trail users given its accessibility from town and ease of navigation. There are also a couple of bypass options on the Quick Draw Trail or Doe Ridge Trail to shorten the loop or vary the routing. Not to mention parking areas on each end of the loop off Collister Drive in the southwest or Cartwright Road in the northeast.

Need to Know

A popular loop for mountain biking, open to equestrians. See the Ridge to Rivers Interactive Map for updates and closures.

Description

This loop hike circumnavigates Polecat Gulch on winding singletrack through classic Treasure Valley foothills that change dramatically with each season. Because this trail can be accessed on either end and traveled in either direction, this hike can be adapted for varying abilities or time constraints, with shorter options more easily accessed from the Cartwright Road trailhead, taking the trail counterclockwise toward the Doe Ridge Trail and Quick Draw Trail off of that.

For this routing, start at the parking area off Collister Drive and head northeast along the stem of this "lollipop-style" loop. At the first intersection, to head clockwise, turn left. For better or for worse, the hardest part of this hike starts basically right from the trailhead, with a sustained 1.5-mile climb to reach the high point of the whole hike.

Once the climb is complete, the trail character changes into a sidehill rollercoaster along the contours of Polecat Gulch. Luckily, most ups or downs aren't too steep or long, but also without too many long stretches of flat or straight to keep things interesting.

Given the 360-degree nature of the loop, you'll be afforded views across Treasure Valley and downtown at a number of points. To complete the entire loop as mapped here, stay left at all intersections except for the Polecat Loop N. Access, which is a spur trail to the Cartwright Road parking area and keep your eyes on the Hiking Project mobile app at any intersections you're not sure about, though signage is good.

Flora & Fauna

Native grasses and forbs e.g. sagebrush, balsamroot, buckwheat.

Contacts

Land Manager: Ridge to Rivers

Shared By:

Zander Göpfert

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 16 votes

#2106

Overall
  4.1 from 16 votes
5 Star
38%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
19%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#21

in Idaho

#2,106

Overall
65 Views Last Month
2,164 Since Mar 26, 2020
Intermediate

10%
15%
65%
5%
5%
0%

Photos

Sunset on the Doe Ridge Trail
Jun 14, 2017 near Garden…, ID
Morning light
Dec 27, 2017 near Garden…, ID
I think this was the last of the cool spring weather – Beautiful!
May 23, 2017 near Garden…, ID
Sunrise over Polecat Trail
Jul 18, 2019 near Boise, ID
Overlooking Simplot Hill and a good view of downtown Boise.
Mar 26, 2020 near Garden…, ID

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 74 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Dec 13, 2020
Dustin Creamer
6.8mi — 2h 00m
Nov 7, 2020
Shar H
Jun 11, 2020
Tayler Mulhall
Jun 3, 2020
Mark Elli
Like most of the trails in the Ridge to Rivers system, this one is well maintained.
Apr 28, 2020
Chris Creager
Apr 2, 2020
Rusty Shackleford
Fun trail that make elevation gains easy for beginners. Most of the trail is singletrack so be cautious for mountain bikers.
Aug 15, 2019
Dustin Creamer
3mi
May 8, 2019
Jackie Wood