Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
470.00 ft (143.26 m)
Trail type
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
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Hulls Gulch is a very popular recreation area in the foothills near downtown Boise, with many trails for hiking, running, and biking that are dog-friendly. This loop with Red Cliffs and Kestrel trails is one of the shorter loops you can make in the Lower Hulls Gulch area. It comes with a decent amount of elevation gain and nice scenery––an excellent formula for a convenient and enjoyable workout close to the city. From the trailhead you can choose to take either trail first. Each starts with a somewhat steep incline followed by a rolling ridge in between. These are packed dirt trails which are mostly smooth. Please do your part to keep them that way by only hiking when the ground is reasonably dry. Muddy trails are easily damaged and hard to repair.

If you start with Red Cliffs, you'll go first through a flat meadow where leafy trees grow alongside a creek. It flows with water during the spring, as snow melts from the mountains, but is normally dry at other times of year. A little wooden bridge crosses the stream, then the trail heads up a miniature canyon where you'll find the red cliffs. On either side of the trail are sandy slopes and orange bands of stone, seemingly out of place in these otherwise khaki-colored hills. The trail then gains a sloping ridge crest where you'll overlook Kestrel Trail in the valley below. The panorama is hardly obstructed by sage bushes that surround, and wildflowers might even add to the scene in spring and summer. Continuing to climb at a moderate grade on the ridge, views get better and better of the city and nearby neighborhoods. You can also gaze up into the foothills, and at forested mountains high above.

Soon Red Cliffs connects with Crestline trail, which turns toward the cityscape and heads downhill. At the next junction, Kestrel tips more steeply into a valley of grass and scattered sagebrush, where you can look up and see Red Cliffs trail snaking along the hillside overhead. The path here is wide, but with ruts and rocks here and there. You'll likely share this trail with lots of other walkers as well as mountain bikers, as it's the typical way to connect with the popular Crestline trail. Kestrel flattens out near the end, and delivers you easily back to the parking area to complete the loop.






Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Close to town. Nice views. Great for dogs and families.


Sometimes crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

2,900.00 ft (883.92 m)

Highest point

3,380.00 ft (1,030.22 m)


Vault toilet
Family friendly
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required




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