Boise National Forest
Found yourself in Boise, Idaho, on a cold winter day? Strap on your touring skis and count your lucky stars. The National Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation have developed several cross-country skiing areas to the north and east of the city. These can provide several days of enjoyable gliding within a couple hours' drive of Boise.
Idaho City lies up Highway 21 about 40 miles northeast of Boise. The state grooms 4 sets of trails on Boise National Forest land. The 15 tracks, both groomed and ungroomed, range from 1-mile skis to 7-mile loops, mostly of intermediate difficulty. See the Trail Descriptions.
Lowman lies another 25 miles up Highway 21. Three more areas offer tracks in the 4- to 5-mile range—beginner to advanced. Each one will entertain you for a few hours. See the Trail Descriptions.
Cascade-McCall lies 80 miles due north of Boise on Highway 55, in another section of the Boise National Forest near Cascade Reservoir. The area offers 4 areas on federal and state land, each with 2 or 3 loops of several miles, and two commercial areas. See the Trail Descriptions.
Wood River and Sawtooths are about 90 miles east of Boise where Highway 20 hits 75. Choose from 9 tracks in the Sawtooth National Forest or several commercial sites in the vicinity of Ketchum. See the Trail Descriptions.
Just past Twin Falls are several additional trails in the Sawtooth National Forest, around the towns of Albion and Hansen. See the Trail Descriptions.
Several of the areas are maintained under the state Park N' Ski program and require a modest fee for an annual or multi-day parking permit.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication