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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:50 pm 
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Another long weekend, time to escape the craziness again and get out of town. It's been a few years since my last trip to Stanley and I've been wanting to get back up to Idaho. Securing a couple extra days off work and recent pics of abundant wildflowers helped steer me that way for 4th of July.

In the past I've gone up I-15 through SLC never bothering to check google maps for optimal routing. I checked just to see the estimated drive time - 14 hrs, which is about my limit for a 5 day trip. Incidentally, maps showed it was an hour faster going up Nevada 93 from Vegas through Ely NV. Hmm.... I've heard there are some good trails there, and the temps didn't look terrible.

So I hit up MTBR's KRob who lives in the area and made a plan to meet up at 6am for a pre-work ride. I didn't relish the early start time since I'd be getting in very late, but that would leave lots of time to check out other rides or get up to Ketchum in time to ride.


Day 1

Ride 1

Leaving already? Not quite.... I was leaving my random campsite though

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The Legend, KRob.

I had to ask the correct pronunciation of Ely as I don't think I've ever heard anyone speak the name. Is it Elly or E-Lie? Turns out it is E-Lee. You learn something every day!

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He had a couple hours to ride before he had to be at work, so we met at Ward Mtn and wasted no time. First climb was mellow.

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This was the top of the first lap on the G Loop. Not a huge climb or descent but pretty fun.

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Climbed back up a sage filled back canyon to the Old Connector. Great views from up top.

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Then we dropped into Powderberry Divide, a fun descent that took us all the way down to the highway closer to town. KRob had a big hand in building it so it was great to check it out in person. Nice work, super fun trail!

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Picked up a nail about 1/2 mile from the highway after the trail dropped onto a fire road. The home brew sealant works and it didn't go flat. This is what I found back at the truck. A bacon strip later it was all good. Glad for that, it was a brand new tire.

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Thanks for the tour KRob! He was awesome enough to park at the end of the ride and pedal the highway to meet me to avoid a shuttle.

12.5mi +1800/-2400



Ride 2

Rather than check out other trails at Ward Mtn I opted to check out another trail system nearby at Cave Lake State Park. It was only 9am but starting to warm up a bit.

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After a couple miles traversing along a creek I got to Cave Lake. I paid the $2 entrance fee and the climbing started right away.

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It was all rideable but the steep grade had me stopping often to catch my breath.

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Almost at the top

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I followed a Trailforks route called High Roller which was basically an outer loop that covered most of the system. Here it crossed onto the backside of the mountain and got quite rocky.

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Cool rock outcrop and a nice view of the mountains west of Ely. The descent was a bit pedally but pretty fun. 10 mi and +/- 1,800ft

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I decided to bail on a third ride, Whorehouse DH, and skipped out of town after a swim and some food. 6 hours driving to Ketchum.

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Ride 3

Got to Hailey just before 8pm which left about 90min til sunset. I'd heard the Croy Creek trails are fun and an easy pedal so I headed there rather than something further away in Ketchum.


The sun about to leave me in the shadows as I started the ride

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Came across this on the trail a couple miles up. WTH? It looked like a 20" earthworm or a rubber toy. Turns out it's a northern rubber boa, and apparently quite rare. It was either extremely docile (barely moved even when picked up) or injured. Was hoping it hadn't been run over, so I moved it off the trail.

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Some great views up high in the back 40. The climbs were very mellow. This would be a perfect network for a singlespeed.

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Around the corner, looking north. Last alpenglow fading on the mountains behind Sun Valley

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Using that seems to be asking a lot these days, generally speaking

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Finished just at dusk and didn't need my light. Definitely a fun little trail system. Part is open to motos and the parts I rode would make for a great beginner moto ride. I was half hoping I'd have time to come back as I am usually too chicken to take my dual sport on singletrack in case I lay it down below the trail. These trails seemed like they'd be fun, and safe for a noob.

9.5mi +/- 1,350


The combo of riding til dark, late sunset and restaurant Covid schedules has been a pain for months and Idaho was no exception. Fortunately I had half a breakfast burrito left which was more than enough, and I set off in the dark to find a spot to camp.


Showing up mid week proved to be a good move as a lot of dispersed sites near town were still open. Some spots had a camping limit of 3 days which was perfect for me. I nice got a site 1/4 mile off the main road. Perfect...

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:58 pm 
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Day 2 - Pioneer - Johnstone - Bear - Parker loop

A ride I've wanted to do forever in Sun Valley is the classic Pioneer Cabin loop. I decided to hit it first thing and get it out of the way as it's a pretty big day.

Slept in a bit later than I should have and it was noon by the time I got riding.


Being its a summer MTB destination shouldn't there be a biker statue along side?

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Is it still trespassing if the sign is deliberately hidden? So many questions as I started the ride

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Bike path out of town and then Corral trail. Such a nice pedal. Then once I hit the Pioneer Cabin Trail things got steeeeep. Tons of hikers coming down as I was climbing. I got lots of "you're crazy".

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It was all rideable until the top of the switchbacks, then it got even steeper with loose shale on top. Time to hike... Above the main tree line views opened up

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Snow capped peaks in the Sawtooths. Sun Valley is out of sight down the valley and around the corner

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First view of the Pioneer Cabin. With the peaks in behind it's a spectacular sight

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A viewpoint off to the right

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A benefit of heading up late is all the hikers were on their way down as I was climbing. Just two groups remained. One left just before me, the other was camping in the cabin overnight. There are bunks and a stove inside. It's pretty clean.

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Footage of the descent back down to Johnstone Creek Trail turnoff. Fun ride




Johnstone Creek trail starts with a traverse. Much more raw than the other trails.

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The views continue. Fun descent. Only saw one hiker with his four labs

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Upper part of the descent:




Climbing up Bear Gulch. The start is nice and mellow. But with 2000ft gain in 3 miles its going to be a grunt.

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I'll be climbing up to that distant saddle. The steep climbing has just begun.

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Almost there. Great view to the south from the ridgeline

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The top... Parker Gulch trail has similar stats but the opposite trajectory. Time to let it rip. Such a fast, fun trail.

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Full Parker descent. Crazy how fast it was over considering all the work to get to the top!




There was a few miles of bike path back to town which was good to loosen the legs. Finished right at sunset. Great day on the bike with two tough climbs and two fun descents

34mi +/- 6,000ft.


Not much open in town for food so I ended up at Lefty's. I was in need of a soak so I checked out a hot spring north of town. No one there which was nice, but it wasn't much more than lukewarm. Better than the cold river though!

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:20 pm 
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Favorite Trails: Hmm........
Day 3 - Osberg Ridge


Another lazy morning.

There was an enticing fishing hole right near camp that I couldn't get past without throwing a line out. I'd had some luck the previous day and this morning hooked into a chunky rainbow. As it turned against the current my ultralight rod snapped and the only thing I could do was just back up and pull the fish up onto the bank. The nail in my tire from the first day turned out to be a clutch find, making a perfect dowel to put the rod back together with some duct tape. Back in business!

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I stopped at a couple other promising spots with mixed results on the way up the valley to drop my bike off for today's point to point ride. Then headed back to town to drop off the truck and ride the moto back to start the ride. First order of business to start the ride was a wet crossing, followed by a second crossing.

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Since I was camped off Warm Springs Rd I decided to climb Castle Creek trail rather than do a much longer drive to the other side of the ridge.

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Seemed like that was a good move. Castle proved to be a pretty nice climb, mostly following close along the creek

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A few motos had finished their descent just as I was starting but I saw no one on the climb.

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Nice view of adjacent peaks as I got higher up

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The higher I got the tougher the climbing became. Some hike a bike ensued under darkening skies

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Riding through an old burn area with storms visible in the distance

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Looking really ominous now. A storm was approaching from the rear as well and I took shelter under some trees for 20min while the storm passed.

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I ran into one couple right at the turnoff onto Osberg and another pair of riders just above that who commented on Osberg being a full day ride implying I shouldn't attempt it at this point? Dunno, I hadn't started til 230pm and it was now 5:30 with over 20 miles to go. What could go wrong???

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6 miles of traversing and 1,000ft of climbing remained to get to the high point

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The higher I got, the better the views

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Interesting burnt forest below the high point

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Looking north toward Galena

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The top at 9,600ft, ready to descend.

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Curious what happened to the bark on all these trees, the fire must have been long ago for there to be no burn marks

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Some footage of various sections down to the turnoff




Flowers on the descent

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Not much stopping for pics as I was trying to make it back to the truck before dark. Rest stop as I turned onto a climb at the start of Oregon Gulch

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Some footage from both Upper and Lower Oregon Gulch. Pretty fun trails.








Made it back to the truck just before dark. Stop in town for a burger at Leftys again. Tried a couple other spots but both were not open or kitchen closed at 10pm. Had a fire back at camp. It's rare we can have a campfire in Socal so this was a treat

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30.5mi, +3,850/-4,560ft


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:16 pm 
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Favorite Trails: Hmm........
Day 4


A couple big days in a row and my legs were complaining. It didn't help that my sleeping pad suddenly wasn't holding air and had to be reinflated multiple times in the night.

I figured I'd go retrieve the moto which was still at the bottom of Castle Creek, hit up a hot spring, and then see how I felt.



Ended up hitting the hot spring on the way out. 9am and already multiple groups selfie-obsessed groups there. Figured it best not to wait til later. I headed for the one upstream a bit and on the far side of the creek.

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No selfie here. You'll have to settle for a shot of my feet

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Got the moto and did a little fishing on the way back. A few decent rainbows in the 10-14" range plus a few smaller ones.

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It was getting on toward noon so I hit up the Sawtooth Brewery for lunch.

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I had a bunch of rides in mind but had to be done at a decent hour. Rather than two big rides I went back to do a short one on Corral Trail, which I climbed on my way to the Pioneer Cabin. It is 3 miles of super sweet flowing singletrack through the trees with the most awesome smell of pine and damp dirt.


The start, climbing up to tree line

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3 miles out and 3 miles back. Perfect.

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I had time for one more moderate loop and opted for Greenhorn-Imperial south of town rather than any of the stuff right by Ketchum. It was getting on towards 3pm by the time I got there so there were not many people around. Bonus.

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Mostly the climbing was mellow. Good thing, as it was hot out.

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Lots of flowers trail side

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First trail intersection after half mile of steep climbing. A couple burned out chairs to sit down on, if you dare...

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Almost at the top, the views really opened up on the ridge here

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Great place for a snack break

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One more saddle

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Into the trees. Shade break

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Fun descent with just a short climb near the end

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And...done. I liked this loop. Had a bit of everything. I was tempted to turn off and head north/west rather than right onto Imperial Gulch. Looks like there are infinite ways to put together loops in this area. I'll be back for sure.

10.5mi +/- 1,700ft


Onwards! Being 4th of July I was treated to a full on fire works show all around me driving through rural Idaho. Guess they don't have much to burn down in the flat lands.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:57 pm 
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Favorite Trails: Hmm........
Day 5

SLC area


The drive down through NV would have saved an hour or more, but temps that way were not looking favorable. High 90s for a high in Caliente. So I opted to head down through SLC and get in a high elevation ride, and hopefully not get home too late.


Started near camp with a bit of extra credit

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Some flowers to spice up the views

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Nearing the top of a long, shitty hike a bike section

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More, less shitty hike a bike

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Looking across, lots of trail opportunity over there?

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Probably not as primo as this ridge, though

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The goal now in sight. I'd spotted some hikers on the peak but hadn't met them yet

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View to the NE from a saddle

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Climbing out of a gully

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Met the 3 hikers here. Final stretch! This is going to be some sketchy shit coming back down

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Summit view

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Looking back down at the climb

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Fun descent!

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Except for the shitty HAB section in the middle. That sucked almost as much going down as it did going up.

16.5mi, +3550/-5625


Apparently there is a cool waterfall nearby but there were around 50,000 hikers at this TH so I cooled off in the stream next to the truck rather than head up there.

Ride took longer than hoped so I was running a little behind schedule. 3pm with a 12 hr drive home? No problem....

Great trip! Recovering is what Mondays are for, right?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:53 am 
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Thank you for sharing. Your pictures made me feel like I was there.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:01 am 
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Favorite Trails: crooked & winding...
Thanks for the outstanding TR evdog. We needed that.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:47 pm 
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Terrific TR! Thanks EvDog.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:07 pm 
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evdog

Yet, another great trail report. Thank you for the pictures and inspiring me to get out more.
Not too sure how you do it but glad you do. :cheers: :wave:

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:37 pm 
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Great TR! I show my wife your pictures in an attempt to get her to hate climbing less. "See the views you get when you can climb more?" :lol:

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