Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,900.00 ft (579.12 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.60 mi (7.40 km)
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Cervidae Peak is one of the many huge hills surrounding Lucky Peak Lake outside of Boise. When driving past the reservoir on Highway 21, Cervidae doesn’t stand out from the crowd of mountains on either side, but it makes a particularly good hike because of easy access and an unofficial trail that goes to the top, with great views the whole way. It’s not marked or maintained, but the area is open to hiking as part of Boise National Forest, and the route is easy to follow. It’s a worn path going fairly directly up the mountain’s southeast ridge.

No sign marks the trailhead, so just look for the big gravel pullout that’s 2 miles from the turn onto Spring Shores Road. Park there and walk across the road, then walk around a closed gate to begin the hike. A dirt road curves to the right, then you’ll see a footpath going through the fence on your left. This is the trail, and it soon gains the ridgeline to start the leg-burning ascent.

It’s almost all uphill, alternating between super-steep and less-steep sections. You’ll want to stop often to rest, and to take in the views over the lake and mountains. The terrain is wide open, with only grasses and shrubby plants for vegetation, plus some wildflowers in early summer. Cervidae (pronounced: surv-id-ee) is the scientific name for the deer family, so the mountain is apparently named for its big-game inhabitants, deer and elk, which you might see grazing the hillsides.

The undulating ridgeline has a false summit, at 1.5 miles from the start of the hike. If your legs have had enough by then, it makes a good turnaround point, and you won’t be disappointed by the views. You can see well past the lake, across the Treasure Valley, all the way to the Owyhee Mountains in the southwest. To the east you can see rocky and snowy peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains. The views only get better as you keep going up, and the true summit is about one mile beyond the false summit.

Because the ridge is so exposed to sun and wind, this hike can be brutal when the weather is bad. It’s best for cool, calm, and dry days. Avoid Cervidae in midday summer heat, and don’t go if recent rain or snow is likely to make it muddy. The steep dirt path has already suffered from erosion, and hiking when it’s wet will make it worse. When you go, be sure to stick to the already-worn trail, and avoid trampling any more of the vegetation.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great views. Good training hike.

Cons

Unmaintained trail. Prone to erosion.

Trailhead Elevation

3,150.00 ft (960.12 m)

Highest point

4,990.00 ft (1,520.95 m)

Features

Family friendly
Near lake or river
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

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