Happy Hiking: Charcoal Gulch

If you like this article, please share. Thanks!

In the last several weeks, I have done a lot of desert hiking.  I wanted to change it up, so after heading to Idaho City, I found a hike in the woods at Charcoal Gulch.

The directions on AllTrails were a little confusing.  They took me through the historic mining town of Idaho City to a dead end in a residential section.  After taking a slight detour, it indicated the parking was behind an apartment complex and there were about two spots available.  This parking was at Buena Vista Trail.

Getting to Charcoal Gulch Trail

Because I really didn’t want to hike next to an apartment complex, I continued about 1/10 of a mile over the hill and further down the graded dirt road.  Low and behold, I ended up at a runway!  Next to it was parking, a bathroom and a trailhead.

Uniquely, this was also Buena Vista Trail which was also a “Fit Trail” and had a few stations with wood posts and pictures of stretching.  I can’t imagine anyone using it for that, but what do I know.

Hiking Charcoal Gulch Trail

  • Distance:  5.1 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 921 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

The first half mile or so of the path is flat.  Then Buena Vista Trail intersects with Charcoal Gulch Trail and the climb begins, over 900 feet in the next two miles.

The Charcoal Gulch Trail ascends through ponderosa pines to a dirt road.  Honestly, it goes to nothing, not even a view.  That said, for some reason, I found myself completely at peace.

charcoal gulch trail

Perhaps it was because I got an early start, VANgo was the only car in the parking lot, and I was in the Boise National Forest, so I could let Annie off-leash and not worry about anything.  It is the first time I’ve been able to really let her run all week.

And now that she is over being sick from eating a mouthful of salt at the Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway, she needed to off-load some energy.  I think I’m going to just make her more fit, and instead of hiking five-mile trails, I’ll have to up my mileage to ten soon!

Regardless, it was a relaxing hike along a pine needle strewn path with the beginning remnants of wildflowers including larkspur, mule’s ear, and an avalanche lily.

mules ear on charcoal gulch trail

Once Annie and I arrived at the top, we didn’t chill for long.  Despite the brisk temperature, a few mosquitos came to visit.  Fortunately, they liked Annie better than me!  ETB

Other Hikes Near Idaho City You May Like

Happy Hiking: Adelmann Mine

Best Adventure Travel Blog

If you like this article, please share. Thanks!

Published by

Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

One thought on “Happy Hiking: Charcoal Gulch

  1. I used to have to hike towards something specific. A waterfall, a sumit, or a view. More recently, and especially since we go for a daily hike in the forest near us, we just walk and find it peaceful and invigorating even though there is no destination.

Leave a Reply