Which Hemingway? Not Ernest Hemingway?
Hemingway Butte is less than an hour from Boise and is about three miles southwest of Walter's Ferry.
There are beautiful views from the roads and trails on Hemingway Butte but one of the main uses of the area is for an off-road play area that is managed by the Boise District Bureau of Land Management. Included in this area are popular trails and hillsides where OHVs (off-highway vehicles) and motorbikes can climb and jump with plenty of room to roam.
So, why is this area called Hemingway Butte? Was it named after the author, Ernest Hemingway who called Sun Valley his home? No! Here's the story and it all starts with Munday's Ferry, which is what Walter's Ferry was originally called.
The stagecoach came barreling into Munday's Ferry from the south in August 1878, with a wounded driver. Indians were shooting at the stage as they followed it toward Munday's Ferry. Munday and some soldiers crossed the river to meet the stage, while a couple of other soldiers stayed on the north side of the Snake and provided fire coverage.
The Indians and soldiers shot at each other while the ferry crossed the river with the mortally wounded stagecoach driver who "quietly kept his seat, and when the boat touched the bank drove the team up the grade from the river and asked for water," according to the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman.
A doctor was sent from Boise to try to save the driver. Dr. W. W. McKay made the two and a half hour, 30+ mile trip by horse and buggy. When he got there, William Hemingway had just died.
The stagecoach driver was William Hemingway, and Hemingway Butte was named after him since that was the area near where the Indian attack started.
And what happened to change the name of Munday's Ferry? The name was changed to Walter's Ferry in 1886 when Lewellyn Walter bought his partner’s share of the ferry business. The ferry was used for crossing the Snake River until the bridge was built in 1921.
You can see the variety of terrain and vast open spaces in this area!
STARTING POINT: Boise
DISTANCE FROM STARTING POINT: Distance from Boise was approximately 30 miles
TIME TO REACH: Approximately 50 minutes
ROAD SURFACE: Paved and dirt roads at Hemingway Butte
WHEN ACCESSIBLE: Spring, Summer, Fall
RECOMMENDED VEHICLES: Any vehicle for driving the area but this area is designed for off-road fun!
PET FRIENDLY: On leash recommended, but off leash is allowed
WHEN WE WENT: Early July 2022
I'm Here - Now What?
Bring your off-road toys - motorbikes, off-road side-by-sides
Bring your smart phone or a GPS
Bring your kids, if you have any!
Bring your dog
Hiking - wear good walking shoes
Wildlife and plant viewing