Expanding network allows better access to region's natural wonders
Beautiful place, this Southern Idaho, with its great trails for walkers, joggers and bicyclists to experience first-hand how Mother Nature has graced the region.
The importance of trails here led to the formation of a Magic Valley Trail Enhancement Committee, or MaVTEC, which focuses on establishing new extensions and additions to the Valley’s trail network. MaVTEC is a group of community members who volunteer their services to work toward acquiring, adjoining and updating the overall trail system.
“I founded MaVTEC because I’m a runner who always had to travel to different cities and states to participate in running events, and I began to wonder why such running events weren’t staged in a perfect location like the Magic Valley,â€ says Jaime Tigue, MaVTEC director. “The falls, the canyon, Snake River – what a perfect setting.â€
Tigue points out that today the Valley has top pathways like Auger Falls Trails, Rock Creek Trail, Indian Springs Trail, Dierkes Lake Trail and Snake River Canyon Rim Trail. In 2017, a major addition to the Canyon Rim Trail was completed from Eastland Drive North to the Evel Knievel jump site, and there are future plans to extend the Canyon Rim Trail even farther from Shoshone Falls to Hansen Bridge.
“As for events, Magic Valley now hosts races like the MotherStubber Gnarly Trail Run, a Santa 5K Run/Walk, a Falls2Falls Relay and a Spirit of Magic Valley Half Marathon, 10K and 5K Run/Walk,â€ Tigue says. “There is even a Cycle Magic Valley event highlighted by a 12-mile family friendly bike ride as well as a 30-mile bike route for those who want a challenge.â€
Three Trails in Hagerman
Officials throughout Southern Idaho are quick to point out how trails can also be used to attract charitable events that positively impact the community. For example, a grueling 7.5-mile Rim2Rim Race every September draws some of the toughest trail runners in the world and raises much money for Habitat for Humanity.
“Meanwhile, an increasingly popular place to run and hike is the Town of Hagerman, which offers access to excellent trails at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Malad Gorge and Box Canyon,â€ says Melissa Barry, executive director with Southern Idaho Tourism. “There are also plans to develop more trails at Billingsley Creek State Park, which is a popular part of Thousand Springs State Park.â€
Barry says more and more out-of-towners are planning vacations in Southern Idaho in large part due to all the trail opportunities.
“The overall vision is to establish a region-wide trail network that connects Twin Falls, Buhl, Hagerman and all other communities,â€ she says. “It will be exciting to one day see about 40 miles of connected trails throughout the Magic Valley.â€
Beauty of Burley
Also enjoying the fruits of good trails is the City of Burley, a community almost surrounded on three sides by the Snake River.
“We are looking to link paths in the next three to four years so that the Burley side and the Hagerman side of Snake River will feature six to seven miles of walking trails,â€ says Doug Manning, director of economic development for the City of Burley. “Burley has several miles of river frontage at some of the widest parts of the Snake River, providing some of the most scenic viewing options in the Northwest.â€
Manning says extending the trails system will bring even more tourists to Burley, which already hosts a variety of events.
“For more than 40 years, Burley has staged an Idaho Regatta for speedboats that serves as a great economic boon to the city, and every July we have a Spudman Triathlon that attracts about 2,000 participants along with their family members and spectators,â€ he says. “We also host an annual Cassia County Fair & Rodeo in August. Extending and marketing our beautiful trails will enhance the visitor experience in Burley even more.â€