Mount Heinen Hike

Difficulty
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Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
6-8h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
15.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,135 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Mount Heinen Hike is a demanding and dynamic adventure in the Boise National Forest that beckons the exploration of experienced hikers and intrepid spirits. Ascend the precipitous slopes of the highest peak in the ‘Grand Slam’ and you will be rewarded with spellbinding panoramas of the mountainous landscape.

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Route Description for Mount Heinen Hike

The Mount Heinen Hike is at the top of most adventurers’ bucket lists when visiting the Boise National, amongst the other ‘Grand Slam’ peaks. While this trek warrants a tireless climb, the payoff negates the sweat. The best tip we can give you is this—trekking poles. No matter your age or ability levels, trekking poles will take some of the pressure off your joints when the time comes to scale back down the mountainside. Additionally, as the terrain is almost entirely exposed, sun protection and a copious amount of water are needed. Our last piece of advice is to keep an eye on the skies, as thunderstorms are common at higher altitudes and are extremely dangerous when exploring the open moorlands.

There is nothing quite like the sense of achievement after tackling a taxing trek—and completing the Mount Heinen Hike offers that sentiment. The consistent climb will exhaust you, we admit it, but the views from atop the peak are simply breathtaking. Above the clouds, you will be granted awe-inspiring panoramas of the Boise Mountains, the rugged Rockies, the Arrowrock Reservoir, and the surrounding cities—so don’t forget your camera! While the stunning overlook is the piece de resistance, the ascent through lush grasslands flowering with Arrowleaf Balasmroot and an array of other vibrant wildflowers is truly enchanting, not to mention the abundance of elk and deer that usually adorn the slopes! Note that several false summits are waiting to trick you, so use the trail GPS to find the peak seamlessly.

With your trekking poles and plenty of water in tow, your adventure up to the summit of Mount Heinen begins from the trailhead off N Fork Boise River Road. Your first step from the trailhead climbs, giving you a taste of what is to come. From here, you will begin your consistent ascent, wandering into the grasslands occupied with sagebrush and low-lying vegetation. Traveling northwest, the trail is well-worn, mapping the ridges above. As you wander, be sure to take a look behind you and appreciate the scene of the Boise River below. Marvel in the beauty of the wildflowers in the spring and the scene of the changing foliage that covers the foothills in the autumn.

After some hiking, the path will redirect more west, guiding you up to the first false summit. While it is not the destination, the panoramic views aren’t half bad. Take a few minutes here to rest and rehydrate before beginning your final push. Now meandering north, the terrain will become increasingly lush, and there will be the odd pine tree to take refuge under. Soon you will reach the summit of the highest peak in the ‘Grand Slam’. Notice Cervidae Peak and Shaw Mountain in the southwest, the Arrowrock Reservoir below, and Kepros Mountain across the river. Appreciate the grandeur of the Sawtooth Mountains in the northeast and the beauty of the encompassing Boise Mountains. When you are rested and through reveling in the scenery, carefully retrace your footing down the path and back to the trailhead.

Trail Highlights

Mount Heinen

Mount Heinen is a summit in the Boise Mountains that towers above Arrowrock Reservoir. Standing at an elevation of 6,336 ft, Mount Heinen is the highest summit in the collection of 4 peaks known as the ‘Grand Slam’—the others include Cervidae, Shaw, and Kepros.

Insider Hints for Mount Heinen Hike

  • Bring lots and lots of water
  • There are many false summits that will try to trick you!
  • Trekking poles are a lifesaver—trust us
  • Be wary of thunderstorms as you explore the exposed ridges
  • Use the trail GPS to avoid false summits
  • Keep an eye out for elk

Getting to the Mount Heinen Hike Trailhead

The Mount Heinen Hike is accessed from the trailhead off N Fork Boise River Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    April-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Mount Heinen Hike Elevation Graph

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