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Polecat Loop Hike



6.8 mile 10.9 kilometer loop
93% Runnable


Ascent: 822' 251 m
Descent: -822' -251 m
High: 3,483' 1,062 m
Low: 2,990' 911 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 16% (9°)


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Trail shared by Zander Göpfert

A popular loop for runners and mountain bikers that makes for a good hiking workout right outside of town.

Zander Göpfert

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers


The Polecat Loop has become a dependable route for many trail users given its accessibility from town and ease of navigation. There are also a couple of bypass options on the Quick Draw Trail or Doe Ridge Trail to shorten the loop or vary the routing. Not to mention parking areas on each end of the loop off Collister Drive in the southwest or Cartwright Road in the northeast.

Need to Know

A popular loop for mountain biking, open to equestrians. See the Ridge to Rivers Interactive Map for updates and closures.

Runner Notes

A great loop with roller-coaster, snaking slopes.


This loop run circumnavigates Polecat Gulch on winding singletrack through classic Treasure Valley foothills that change dramatically with each season. Because this trail can be accessed on either end and traveled in either direction, this run can be adapted for varying abilities or time constraints, with shorter options more easily accessed from the Cartwright Road trailhead, taking the trail counterclockwise toward the Doe Ridge Trail and Quick Draw Trail off of that.

For this routing, start at the parking area off Collister Drive and head northeast along the stem of this "lollipop-style" loop. At the first intersection, to head clockwise, turn left. For better or for worse, the hardest part of this run starts basically right from the trailhead, with a sustained 1.5-mile climb to reach the high point of the whole run.

Once the climb is complete, the trail character changes into a sidehill rollercoaster along the contours of Polecat Gulch. Luckily, most ups or downs aren't too steep or long, but also without too many long stretches of flat or straight to keep things interesting.

Given the 360-degree nature of the loop, you'll be afforded views across Treasure Valley and downtown at a number of points. To complete the entire loop as mapped here, stay left at all intersections except for the Polecat Loop N. Access, which is a spur trail to the Cartwright Road parking area and keep your eyes on the Trail Run Project mobile app at any intersections you're not sure about, though signage is good.

Flora & Fauna

Native grasses and forbs e.g. sagebrush, balsamroot, buckwheat.


Land Manager: Ridge to Rivers

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Apr 2, 2020
Paddy Downey
Aug 27, 2019
Donnie Risher
some spots seemed worn by bikes and whatever else.. no biggie 6.6mi — 1h 19m
May 29, 2019
Riley Aschenbrenner
6.6mi — 1h 09m
Jun 3, 2018
Carrie Hoshaw
May 6, 2018
Terrence Scraggins
Mar 6, 2016
Dave Dutro
1h 05m

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 10 votes


  4.0 from 10 votes
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in Idaho


233 Views Last Month
1,094 Since Mar 26, 2020



Sunset on the Doe Ridge Trail
Jun 14, 2017 near Garden…, ID
Morning light
Dec 27, 2017 near Garden…, ID
I think this was the last of the cool spring weather – Beautiful!
May 23, 2017 near Garden…, ID
Sunrise over Polecat Trail
Jul 18, 2019 near Boise, ID
Overlooking Simplot Hill and a good view of downtown Boise.
Mar 26, 2020 near Garden…, ID