Updated on November 1, 2020
Day 3 of 2020 Idaho Trip, Chocolate Gulch
Third day of my Idaho trip. After a heroic hike to summit Hyndman Peak the previous day, I spent most of the day resting in bed. To make sure that’s not how I “wasted” an entire day of my vacation, I took a short hike of Chocolate Gulch at the end of the day.
Yesterday’s summiting Hyndman Peak took a huge toll on my body, despite most of that came from me having too little clothing during the final ascent from the howling wind. I recalled having a running nose for much of the return trip.
Luckily I had some flexibility built in to my itinerary, so I decided to spend most of the day in resting in bed, trying to recover myself from yesterday’s exhausting trip. (Last thing I wanted was catching a cold while on vacation.) Amazingly, by afternoon I felt my running nose had mostly recovered. There wasn’t much daylight left, but I didn’t want to “waste” a day of my vacation to essentially doing nothing, so I browsed some nearby trails and picked a short but still interesting route, and that’s the Chocolate Gulch Loop Trail.
The entire trail was 8.5km with 260m elevation gain, which seemed like a perfect fit for my recovering body. Here’s GPS tracking:
By the way, since it’s a loop, the trail could be taken starting from two different locations. The northern trailhead, marked by both Google Maps and AllTrails, was where I started the hike, while 1.1miles south along State Route 75, there’s the southern trailhead with more parking spaces.
The trail wasn’t very wide but apart from that in great conditions. Mountain bikes could also use the trail (despite restricted to one-direction). As indicated by AllTrails, I took the loop in counter-clockwise direction.
After that I reached an overlook, sort of, with view of various mountains surrounding Wood River Valley.
A short distance forward there seemed to be another overlook, this time the view was a smaller valley. Since I didn’t find any maps that marked exactly where “Chocolate Gulch” was, I assume this was it.
After that, the trail descended into the gulch/valley, where surrounding landscape changed again to scattered trees and bushes.
After a left at the first intersections of trails, I continued heading towards the parking lot.
About 600m from Big Wood River, there was another intersection of trails, which wasn’t marked on AllTrails. (The entire trail wasn’t on either Google Maps or OpenStreetMap.) It turned out that to follow Chocolate Gulch Loop by AllTrails, one should take the trail on the right (counter-clockwise). I later learned from satellite image that the other trail was a shortcut to the trailhead, despite involving more elevation changes.
Not long after that I reached Big Wood River. Across the bridge was the other/southern trailhead I mentioned earlier. The final part of the loop followed Big Wood River up north.
And this final stretch had the most beautiful
only flower of the day, which I shall end this post on.