Approximately 60% of Idaho is public land. That’s miles upon miles of mountain, forest, lake, and sagebrush grassland located within the state’s borders. Scott Marchant of Boise, the owner of Hiking Idaho, has spent the last decade perfecting guidebooks that make it easier for the rest of us to take advantage of all that Idaho’s landscape has to offer.
In 2006, Marchant was living in his cabin in Stanley when he decided to pursue a side gig: he was going to write a guidebook for the area.
“I had hiked for nearly 20 years throughout the western part of the U.S., and I had accumulated 30 to 40 guidebooks. I took all those guidebooks, laid them out on a table, and looked at what unique qualities each book provided. I then took those qualities and married them into a super-guidebook.”
In 2009, after two years of work, his first guidebook—The Hiker’s Guide to Stanley, Idaho—was published. But when he finished, instead of moving on to another project, he wrote a business plan. His first commitment was to write one book a year for four years, and that’s just what he did.
In 2010, he published The Day Hiker’s Guide Sun Valley & Ketchum, in 2011 The Hiker’s Guide McCall & Cascade, and in 2012 The Hiker’s Guide Greater Boise Area.
His books are still super. They include thorough topography maps that detail distinguishing features that would help a hiker find their location even if they didn’t have a GPS with them.
Marchant has hiked every mile featured in his books, and each trail includes a description written with care and insight, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
His commitment to provide the best is clear especially in the second edition of The Hiker’s Guide McCall and Cascade. Often when a second edition is released, the only thing that changes is the cover, but Marchant’s second edition is a, “totally different animal.”. He re-hiked 80% of the trails, rewrote the majority of the book, and added 21 new trails. He also improved the maps and added color photography (All photography is his own.).
One of Marchant’s favorite quotes comes from Paul Dudley White, who was the first cardiologist to link heart disease with a lack of exercise:
A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”
—Paul Dudley, Cardiologist
When you speak with Marchant, he’s quick to echo that philosophy.
“To me not only do you get the health benefits of hiking, it’s like going to a therapist out in nature. We have so much wilderness and national park area, and we often fail to take advantage of it,” he says.
Hiking Idaho also has a greeting card line and Idaho landscape calendar.♦