Just past the Three Bears Trailhead, a small parking area with room for 2-4 cars (depending on drivers’ parking skills) marks the start of your trail. Lace up your shoes, grab your water bottle and start up this pleasant gulch with good shade cover from locust and cottonwood trees that offer cooler air in the warmer months and colorful scenery in the fall and winter.
What Makes It Great
After the first couple miles, you’ll come to a junction; go left to take Watchman Trail or stay right to continue on Five Mile. If you go left at the junction with Watchman Trail, head up the canyon the last blood-pumping mile to gain the ridge. Opening up, the rolling trail rewards you with fantastic views of Boise, Table Rock and the Owyhee Mountains to the southwest. A brief jog on the Femrite’s motorized trail brings you to Three Bears Trail and a descent down the last 2.5 miles of the trail. The incredible views in front of you provide a fantastic distraction as you complete your run.
Once you hit Shaw Mountain Road, go left for a quick 3-minute cool-down walk back to your car. If you head right continuing on Five Mile, you’ll continue heading up towards Ridge Road for a somewhat grueling gain of 2,000’ in 3.5 miles. Phew. Reaching tree line, no matter which direction you go from here, be sure to turn around for the view across the valley of the Owyhee Mountains.
From here, either turn back at the road and return the way you came for a hefty, 7 mile out-and-back or use Ridge Road to extend your run. If you are feeling super spry, you can take Ridge Road (#275) all the way to Bogus Basin. Get a friend to be your shuttle, have them bring you up a pack of donuts for the top and go for it!
Five Mile to Watchman to Three Bears makes a great trail running loop, especially in the fall when the colors are popping!
Who is Going to Love It
Unlike many of the foothills trails, Five Mile Gulch, along with neighboring Orchard Gulch are relatively low-traffic trails. Enjoy the sounds of your footfall and the cheerful birds in the trees.