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Now that my Utah hiking posts are done and I took months to post nothing here, I’m back and starting to share from my trip home in October! I do have Florida hikes to share that we did between March and October but I’m excited for these.
I haven’t gone through any of my pictures since we’ve moved to Florida and I’ve been avoiding that, but I can’t anymore and I finally have the motivation to attempt that. (It’s a lot of pictures.)
I decided to skip ahead to my Wisconsin posts for now, starting with the Boyd Trail in Eau Claire! This is a trail I spent a lot of time on back in the day and usually do it whenever I visit home now, too.
This is a nice short trail overlooking the Eau Claire River. It’s also easily accessible via the Chippewa River State Trail, the bike trail that runs through town, which I spent even more time on back in the day.
I usually hike the Boyd Trail from Archery Park over to Boyd and back, including this time, but if you’re driving there it will be easier to start at Boyd.
We actually did this hike toward the end of my visit and it was finally starting to warm up. It snowed the morning I flew in and was SO cold the first few days which I was not prepared for.
We set off for Archery Park and made our way down my former sledding hill. At the bottom of the hill, the trail is tucked away on the left. I don’t want to call it a cliff because it’s not but it’s also not quite a hill, but the trail runs kind of through the middle of the cliff/hill with houses above (mostly out of view) and the river below.
This isn’t really a trail for sweeping views, though you can see the river below, but it is great to do when the leaves are changing! The trail goes up and down with some little rock overhang cave-type things along the way.
And about halfway through there is a fairly open area with a drain high up, and occasionally it makes a waterfall. Of course, it isn’t natural since it’s just water running through and out of the drain but it can still be cool to see.
Once we got to Boyd we just turned around and did the trail in reverse to get back home. Instead of going back up the sledding hill though, we kept going through Archery Park and under the highway bridge to go up that way.
The trail splits over here and you can either keep going down a hill to the river (I’m not sure how far this part goes) or go off to the right and up through the Waterford Apartment parking area.
We went the Waterford way then crossed the highway to get back. There’s also a country club golf course right here that you can see. While I didn’t go down the trail further this time, I did years ago to look for a Geocache.
I don’t remember much about it but it was nice and I’ll be doing that next time I’m home so I’ll report back once I do that. Overall, I really enjoy this trail. It’s pretty, it’s easy, it can be short or long, and it’s got those nostalgic vibes for me.
From start to finish it only took about an hour so I would say it’s a good hike that is right in town. You don’t have to drive too far to get outside and, thankfully, it’s not terribly busy either. If I see other people here, it’s usually only one or two.
It’s definitely worth the time and if you want to do more walking, you can do this trail then when you get back to Boyd, head across the footbridge to the bike trail. If you turn left off the bridge (so the river is on your left), the trail will take you downtown!
It’s a great walk and you can easily visit the Local Store, Ramones Ice Cream (at the next bridge stay to the right for these), and more downtown (cross the second bridge) if you don’t mind walking even more. The bridge route and nonbridge route are only about a block apart at the end so it’s not far to connect them back together.
Where is the Boyd Trail in Eau Claire?
You can start the Boyd Trail from Boyd Park or Archery Park. If you’re driving to the trailhead, it’ll be easier to start from Boyd Park since there is an actual parking lot. I like starting from Archery Park but that’s just what I’m used to and I never have to drive to the trail.
In the Boyd parking area you’ll see a little field thing to your right (if the playground is on your left) and the trail is back there. There is a little path leading through the field to the woods.
There are actually two little trails that lead to the same place so it doesn’t really matter which you take. The one on the left closer to the river is the main trail but the one on the right meets up with it pretty quickly.
Eau Claire, WI hotels
How long is the Boyd Trail?
It’s about half a mile one way, a mile round trip. But you can add a little more to it if you keep going along the treeline on the river side in Archery Park, then under the highway bridge. I’m not sure how far exactly, but you can get down by the river over there.
There are also some small trails on the main part of the trail that can take you closer to the river but they can be a little steep so proceed down those with caution.
And if you don’t want to walk back on the trail again for some reason, you can walk up the hill in Archery Park and turn right on Fairway Street then just follow that back to Boyd Park.
When we did this on my visit home, I tracked it on AllTrails from Archery Park to Boyd Park back to Archery Park, under the bridge, and up through the Waterford Apartment area and it came out to 1.6 miles.
Is the Boyd Trail easy?
Yes! The trail can be a little narrow, uneven, and rooty but it’s an easy one. It’s short and has about 150 feet of elevation gain. I will say, the drop down to the river can be fairly steep and the narrow trail can make it a little nerve-racking so if you’re really, really afraid of heights it might not be great but I don’t think it’s too bad.
Can you hike the Boyd Trail in winter?
Yes, but I would be careful. Since the trail is so narrow with a fairly good-sized drop-off, it would definitely be more sketchy if the trail is icy or snowy. If there’s no snow, there’s no problem.
Is the Boyd Trail worth it?
I think so! It’s not the most incredible trail ever but it’s a great easy, short hike in Eau Claire. I might like this one more because of the nostalgia here but it’s a nice trail that isn’t just totally flat, is great for fall foliage, and has good views of the river. There is also a Geocache or two in the area.
My favorite Eau Claire shops and restaurants
Eau Claire Boyd Trail photo gallery
Eau Claire, WI Books
- Wisconsin Legends & Lore
- Storied & Scandalous Wisconsin: A History of Mischief and Menace, Heroes and Heartbreak
- Little Faith
- Beneath the Bonfire: Stories
- Shotgun Lovesongs
- The Jesus Cow
- Best Tent Camping: Wisconsin: Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization
- Monsters of Wisconsin: Mysterious Creatures in the Badger State
- Moon Wisconsin: Lakeside Getaways, Scenic Drives, Outdoor Recreation
- Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History
- A Dog Lover’s Guide to Hiking Wisconsin’s State Parks
- The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish
- Haunted Wisconsin: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Badger State
Have you hiked the Boyd Trail? What did you think of it? What is your favorite hike in Eau Claire?