Mount Heinen


A hard hike close to Boise, Mount Heinen is over 3000' of vertical.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

I was looking for another hike close to Boise, so referred to, a favorite web site.

Their description to find the trailhead is excellent: Drive past Arrowrock Dam to just past the turnoff for the Irish Creek campground (you actually park in the second turnoff). The trail starts right across the road, as pictured here.

The highpoint in the sun is about 2000' above the road.


We did that first 2000' in about 1.5 hours. It's very steep, but very direct. Basically, you are hiking an old fire break that follows the spine of the ridge. Today it was cold, but I imagine that on a summer day you would want to get going early because you are immediately in the sun with not much chance for shade.

Once you make the ridgetop, you get an awesome view of the reservoir, with the South Fork of the Boise River branching off in the middle of the picture. The Middle Fork points to the left, with the dam about five miles to the right.

Looking the other way, almost due North, you can see a high point on the ridge off in the distance. That is NOT the summit, but more like halfway there. Dylan and Mariel didn't realize that, so they were still smiling.

Once you get to the previously noted highpoint and work your way around the West side (don't go to the summit- stay low and traverse to a lower meadow in the saddle- and look for a good game trail that traverses this point). THEN you can see the summit off in the distance.

I think I'm going to call this climb the "Hike of 10,000 False Summits."

There isn't really a lot of elevation change as you go out the ridge, but it does constantly seem to be going up and down. Here we are finally within eyesight of the real summit. That's Shafer Butte and Bogus Basin in the background.

It took us 3.5 hours to get to the top. And it was worth it- what a view!

Looking back the way we had come, you can see a few of the many false summits. But remember, this view is only showing you about 1/2 the ridge walk, and none of the final 2000' of descent.

It took us about 2.5 hours to descend, for a total of 6.5 hours car-to-car.

I'm looking forward to trying this on skis later this winter. There is a lot of high ridge terrain to explore up there.

Footnote: This is also a great spring hike. Here's Dylan, back again on a slightly snowier trail on March 26, 2005.
This map shows the "standard" route followed in the original trip report.

This map shows two alternate routes. I've actually done five routes on this peak. My favorite of them all is the more western of these.


Mr. Natural Home | 2004 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski