Saturday, August 17, 2019
Quigley Trail Caters to Lunchtime Users, Beginning Mountain Bikers
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Hailey resident Susan Giannettino walks past a rock outcropping
 
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
 

 STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Susan Giannettino stopped in her tracks as she trotted around the horseshoe-shaped trail in Quigley Canyon.

From where she stood, she could see mountain bikers starting out on the trail at one end. Joggers were cutting across the middle. And a plethora of hikers were walking side by side on the far west side as a lone hiker ascended a trail up the hill above them.

“It’s amazing all the people using this trail,” she said.

 
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Eventually, the BCRD hopes to extend the trail past Quigley Pond, mirroring the farthest extending Nordic trails.
 

The Quigley Loop, as it’s called, is a new 4.2 loop that starts at the mouth of Quigley Canyon on Hailey’s east side.

The trail provides a safer, less dusty alternative to walking dogs on the dusty dirt Quigley Road where walkers have to watch for pickup trucks making their way to Quigley Pond and beyond.

The new trail cut and packed by the Blaine County Recreation District skirts an area that developers hope will one day sport some houses, a school and a small educational farm.

And the loop could eventually connect to trails under consideration by Bureau of Land Management officials who have been examining way to expand recreational trails south of Sun Valley.

 
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Young mountain bikers head up the trail in a canyon that boasted the new Quigley Nordic trails this past winter.
 

“The reception has been amazing,” said Eric Rector, who oversaw the project for the BCRD. “It’s something Hailey needed for sure. I’ve even seen handcycles using it.”

The new trail’s gentle rolling terrain and slight winding nature offers good terrain for beginning mountain bikers. And it adds interest for walkers. And the fact that it’s four-feet wide-–about twice the width of a single-track bike trail--makes it suitable for walkers who want to walk abreast and talk with one.

“I go out two to three times a week at lunch, either walking or bicycling it. And it takes me to spaces I haven’t experienced before, offering me views of Hailey I haven’t seen before,” said BCRD Director Jim Keating. “It’s kind of an awakening, I think, for me and everyone else who uses it.”

Right now, the trail heads out past rock outcroppings under vast hillsides, turning at Quigley Pond.  Rector wants to extend it further out the canyon—perhaps, as early as this fall. The BCRD hopes eventually to bring the loop all the way back to a parking lot they plan to build on the south side.

 
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The trail bisects the middle of the Quigley barley fields.
 

BCRD plans to relocate the bicycle pump park from its current site near the aquatic center to a new site at the southwest end of the loop. It also plans to construct a community pavilion and restrooms nestled in a hay barn that sits on what was a farm owned by Earl Fox, whose father J.C. Fox was the valley’s early doctor.

That facility would include a place for skiers to duck in out of the weather for a cocoa, and it would offer a space for SVSEF skiers, Higher Ground and girls on the Run.

“This ranch was a part of a ranch that at one time included part of the Woodside neighborhood,” said Keating. “The barn served that entire ranch.”

 

 
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Jim Keating said the BCRD hopes to extend the new trail this fall and, perhaps, even start work on some other amenities.
 

Other amenities are being considered, as well, including a natural playground with boulders to climb on, a frisbee golf course and a slide built into the hillside. The BCRD also hopes to provide a connection to the nearby bike path by converting the road, now called the Huckleberry Trail.

“We have an opportunity here for a smaller scale version of Boise’s Ridge to Rivers system, which goes all the way to Bogus Basin,” said Keating.  “It’s a new model for parks you see in the West. Instead of a traditional park with a flat piece of ground and grass and picnic tables, this is what you’re starting to see in Park City, Boulder, Colo., and Boise where the hills engage the sagebrush steppe.

“It’s a combination of Hop Porter Park and the trail up Carbonate Mountain,” he added. “And the nice thing is it means using less water.”

Keating acknowledged that some people will still hike the road.

“You see them four abreast with seven dogs,” he said. “That just means there’s something for everyone.”

IF YOU GO:

Turn off Hailey’s Main Street onto Croy Road heading north. Follow this as it takes a slight jog to the right into Quigley Road. There is a small parking lot where the road turns to dirt.

 

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