With the weather cooling down into the 60’s my wife and I headed out for a day trip to explore a new spot for us the Sage Hen reservoir complex. I had been through that area on my own a few years back but never got the chance to stay and poke around. Now like then it was late in the season and most of the water was drained out of the reservoir but it didn’t make the area any less enjoyable.
Their are a couple ways to reach Sage Hen but we made the choice to head from our home base in Kuna, ID up through Emmett, ID so we could stop off for lunch and fuel up. Heading east out of town on Highway 52 you want to watch for the Triangle restaurant as that will be your signal to make a left turn to head north up the Sweet Ola highway. It makes for a nice drive following Cottonwood Creek through the small communities of Sweet then Ola; both of which have pretty neat old churches. As you pass through Ola you just want to follow the signs pointing you to Sage Hen reservoir. I also recommend having a atlas or map that clearly shows you the forest service roads as you’ll be on one and there are a lot of twists and turns and it can be easy to head down the wrong one. The forest service roads are all rock/dirt so keep that in mind when going however once you reach Sage Hen the road around the reservoir is paved.
Now their are a few trails in the area including one that rings the reservoir which is on my list to do when it’s filled with water however then we were looking for is located on the north end and easily marked from the road and has plenty of parking at the trail head. The trail itself is a 1/2 mile long and follows Sage Hen creek up before turning into the woods for the path back down to the parking lot. While not terribly difficult there are some boulders and large rocks you will need to navigate along the way which is something to bear in mind if you have any mobility issues.
On the day we were there is was extremely peaceful with 60 degrees weather and no people. Surrounded by woods with just the sounds of the creek as we walked along the trail. I had been hoping to see some wildlife along the way but outside of a squirrel and some tiny woodland frogs that was about it for animals. You’ll pass through stands of Englemann spruce, grand fir, and lodgepole pine as you make the loop. By the time we got back to our car the sun was starting to sink low and with a 16 mile drive back to the main road we hit the road back to town with plans already being made for the next trip to Sage Hen reservoir.