Tour of Idaho (T1)
2019 14th edition of the Tour will feature jersey
numbers for finishers (currently at #63). The 2019 Tour also continues
the popular "challenge point"
2019 the Tour will involve 10 trail days and will cover 1600+ miles.
The Tour starts July 15th (earliest start) through September 20 (latest
finish). All of the
information concerning the 2019 Tour will be published here by the end
2019. Until then everything that follows is tentative.
is free to use
information provided here in any manner they please. The trails that
comprise the Tour are on public land (with a few
noted exceptions). There are no guides and
one makes any money off this other than those who sold you
what you need to ride a dirt bike in the wild and merchants along the
way. All that we do at MoJazz is plan, publish maps and a
and then go out and saw/maintain a lot of trail. You are welcome to the
fruits of our efforts and most of you will be seraphically happy
to just go out there, ride and just have fun on your own terms. But to
participate in the event
known as the Tour of Idaho one must accept a few
Tour follows has been
ridden many times. Modern bikes, current navigation and communication
equipment have made the Tour less daunting than it was even 15 years
when we first started putting it together. Most Tour trails
no more than intermediate
difficulty - and
are a blast to ride, the mere act of stringing them all
together is not exactly an accomplishment of boundless magnitude.
Fun? Absolutely. Special? Not in a spectacular sense. So we created the
standards that define The Tour of Idaho to allow you to experience the
Tour in a manner similar to that experienced by those who went before
you. If you follow our standards you are, for all intents and purposes,
experiencing all of the adventure that the pioneers of the route
The Tour of Idaho is more involved and difficult than just
riding the trails from one end to another. In 14 seasons
been only 63 riders to finish the Tour (though hundreds have ridden the
route). Failure is far more common than
success. The Tour is an undertaking that requires a
relatively uncommon set of
skills - riding a motorcycle being only one among
Tour of Idaho participants are
expected to attempt the route in small groups
(no more than three) without any
- no friends, family
members, significant others or erstwhile Tour riding partners anywhere
close to the route, no help with navigation, maintenance or anything
what you find along the way. Tour riders have 10 trail
days to finish but are allowed to
a day off in
Pocatello. No other off days are allowed. No support is a core
principle of the Tour. You
are not permitted to ship anything to a location along the route,
prearrange fuel or supply drops, or have someone bring you something
that you need.. You must either carry everything you intend to
use with you or purchase it along the way. No help and no supply drops.
Tour participants are expected
to ride all
of the trails
current route using
only our 2019 route files and maps, to provide beacon
live tracking and to submit
a gps track file within three days of finishing the ride (for more on
routes and tracks see below). Each day
contains a minimum of two challenge points. All challenge
must be verified with a selfie posted to our Facebook
the hashtag #tourofIdaho (use this same hashtag on
personal social media as well). This should be done as soon as possible
(many CPs are in places where you may upload your photo immediately)
but definitely no later than the evening after they were taken unless a
data connection is not possible (which can happen in a few places).
Most days have an optional challenge section (not the same
as challenge points, which are not optional). Groups
must complete a
number of challenge sections equal to the number of riders in the group
(up to three - the largest group size allowed). Some of the challenge
sections are long, some are technically challenging, some are difficult
to navigate and some are all of the above. Once you choose to begin a
challenge section you must either complete it or turn
around and back track to the original route then continue as if you'd
not attempted the challenge section. No bailing out in
the middle of a challenge section unless along a route designated for
The trails that compose the Tour are technically open from
July through most of
September. The Tour itself runs July 15 through Sept. 20. Most
years those planning an early Tour (end of July or earlier) will
spend a lot of
time sawing trails or log hopping. Soloists are advised to start out no
earlier than early August.
Under no circumstances should any Tour rider use a trail that
closed. If a trail is closed (for fire, erosion or any other reason) it
is not required to complete the Tour. The only expectation is that you
rejoin the Tour route as soon as possible and do not use a detour to
gain an advantage that would not be possible on the normal route. We
grant exceptions to the
"ride 'em all" rule for fires. In some seasons large sections of the
Tour are unfortunately closed due to fire. In that event it's just not
possible to finish. Riding a closed trail, for any reason, is a very
likely DNF. Not being able to find a trail, or not being able
properly interpret a trail sign, is not the same as a closed
Any significant deviation
from the published Tour route or the practices outlined above
a DNF (soloists have a
bit more leeway than teams, but not much). Tour participants must join
group, the Facebook
Riders group, consent
InReach SE is highly
recommended) and must submit
their complete track log for inspection within three days
of finishing the route.
you can see the
Tour of Idaho is a whole lot of work for little more
bunch of folks monitoring your progress on their laptops and
smart phones cheering you on. The effort
to reward ratio is almost completely upside down. You will suffer
greatly for almost no glory and very little tangible reward. Many will
fail to finish. Many have ridden what they considered to be "95%" of
the route but did not qualify as finishers. The details
is as much a journey through one's own soul as anything
else and is less a motorcycle ride than a bodacious outdoor
adventure that happens
to take place on a motorcycle. If you are just looking to check
off another motorcycle ride you'd be way
better off riding the route on your own terms or doing a BDR -
odds of success are much higher and Interwebs bragging
rights far easier to obtain (no slight intended, both options
But, if after pondering all of this, doing something much bigger than
you just for the hell of it still seems like a good idea, read on.
and Sunset at Chinese Peak
You'll need to check out
of Idaho Facebook
group for up to date
information about the Tour. The group is open (except during
Tour season) so
anyone may explore the content without being a member. You should
request to become a member only if you are serious about attempting the
Tour (you must read the group description before asking to be
admitted and there is some additional light screening). You'll
also need to join
the MotorcycleJazz.com forum before
you set off. We'll establish a 2019 riders group there. You must indicate your
interest in the 2019 Tour by joining the Tour
of Idaho Facebook
group and forum no
later than June 1st, 2019 in order to be considered for the 2019
Tour. You will also find our FAQ
be useful resources.
Now down to brass tacks. There
are three things that you'll need in order to maximize your educational
here. 1) The patience and perseverance to read for comprehension (years
of bitter experience have taught us that many Tour aspirants have
minimal aptitude for this). 2) The
capacity to fully grasp navigation and all of its nuance. 2a) The skill
a map and route book. 3) The wherewithal to understand that you have
never done anything a whole lot like this before.
The 2018 route
are available on this page (below) along with a 2018 Route Book (a condensed
version of the route description below). The
route files for 2018 contain widely-spaced waypoints (no bread
crumbs anymore) so map study in advance of arriving
start of the Tour is advised. The route changes every year and you will
need to use this year's
in order to obtain the requisite number of challenge points to succeed.
Every year at least one party shows up with a track they got from
somewhere other than this site (a previous year's track is
typical). If you do that we'll almost certainly figure it
out and the odds are high you'll earn a DNF.
The ability to use
a map, along with your route book and gps to navigate between
points, is a large part of completing the Tour.
This is deliberate and Tour vets almost uniformly describe navigation
as not only one of the biggest challenges of completing the Tour
(easily rivaling the riding skill required), but an estimable part of
the fun. Our approach allows you to engage the route months before you
are physically riding it and provides a rewarding (we are
navigational challenge above and beyond
following a line on an iPhone. Call it old school if you like. Weeks of
navigational preparation are advised and our methods are
encourage you to do just that. The payoff is that you will have little
trouble finding your way while actually riding the Tour if you prepare
in advance as we suggest. Take it to the bank.
The best way to prepare for Tour navigation in advance is to
reconcile our route waypoints with our maps, the route book
any notes that you make from observing our waypoints on Google
Earth. You may then create your own route file from our waypoints to
follow if you'd like, but that's actually more work than needed and may
actually degrade your ability to navigate when you get here. We
recommend that you simply add waypoints to ours as you see fit while
studying the route (without overdoing it), upload everything to your
GPS, and then use your GPS to navigate from waypoint
to waypoint with maps as a backup. The reason for this is that
every trail map we've used for the Tour is wrong in some places. It's
inevitable. Trails change all of the time and keeping up is a problem
for any map maker. Our waypoints are where then need to be and are
accurate. If our waypoint looks like it's a quarter of a mile off of
the trail on the map you are looking at I can all but guarantee that
our waypoint is right and the map is wrong.
Though this may seem excessive for those weaned on the ADVRider
practice of following tracks created by others it will pay off on the Tour.
Again, if you
the time to do
this I can almost guarantee that you will have little difficulty
navigating the actual route when you get here.
For all GPS
units here are the
2018 gpx files (right click and save): D1,
D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9.
If you have further questions please read this before
you email us about GPS files. The waypoints in the files are
descriptively named, e.g., 1D = day 1, 1C = day one challenge section,
x = one person team, y = two person team, z = 3 person team. So
waypoint 3Dxy22 would be the 22 day three waypoint on the
taken by one and two member teams. A bit of map study will almost
certainly clear up any confusion.
A bit about GPS units. We recommend using three for the Tour: A Trail Tech
Voyager Pro as a primary, a backpacking style GPS (Garmin
makes several that are excellent) as a backup and a cell phone running Rever, Stava or something
similar as a second backup.
The Voyager Pro, in addition to
being an excellent and very accurate GPS every without
the external antenna, also provides reams of useful information about
your motorcycle. For teams the buddy feature is indispensable.
I use a Garmin
which I find to be excellent, as my first backup - but there are many
units that will work just fine. I use a smartphone running Earthmate
paired with my Garmin/DeLorme
InReach SE personal locater beacon as my second backup. Whatever you do, please do not
cellphone (or worse, some sort of automobile GPS) for your primary
navigation. None of this works very well for the Tour and
the number of things that can go wrong is more than I can
count on my fingers and toes. Get dedicated GPS units and keep your
cellphone safely stashed away. You'll be happy that you
you feel the need to argue about this the Tour may not be
rider in each
should carry three GPS units. The number of teams
that have shown up at the flagpole with one or two GPS units between
three people is a subject of much legend. And for the teams involved,
much subsequent unhappiness. GPS issues hose as many teams as bike
failures and personal fatigue. It's crazy to do as much work as you are
going to do on the Tour only to be let down by something as easy to
correct as the right GPS for the job.
Make sure that at least one of the GPS units that you use is
dedicated to creating a track of your Tour (as opposed to
used primarily for navigation). A GPS "track" file is not the same as a
"route" file. A route file consists of a series of discrete, named
waypoints that are created in order to plan a route. A track file
consists of a a series of unnamed waypoints (typically a few seconds
apart) created by a GPS as one travels. Our daily route files typically
contain up to a hundred or so waypoints. Your daily track files will
contain thousands. Creating a track is something that you
practice in advance and that you should check daily while on the Tour.
We might accept a low-resolution beacon track for one day in event of
some GPS calamity, but not for 10 days. Most GPS units create tracks
almost by default. All you generally have to do is name them.
Now for the 2018 maps. The daily maps at 100K resolution: D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9, a 500K map. The
color code on the maps is as follows: red = nominal route, green = one
member team route variation, blue = two member team route variation,
yellow = challenge section, purple = circumstantial alternative. Here is the 2018 Route Book. Here are the
The longest distance
between fuel stops for 2018 will be about 230 miles and you'll have to
this twice - very workable on most
desert tanks along with a Giant
fuel bladder or two.
Finally, some miscellaneous helpful bits. We
have an extensive
Idaho videos on our YouTube
page. The SNOTEL
page provides valuable
information about the nature of snow
levels on many passes along the Tour. Both ARCGIS
and the Idaho
have interactive maps
with very high resolution views of
the trails for the entire Tour. These maps are an invaluable
road/trail numbers, opening and closing dates - there's even
Inciweb layer available. For fire information check out the Idaho
Inciweb page. The Idaho
contains a wealth of useful information about the Tour route. We also
highly recommend the Roadside
Geology of Idaho, an
indispensable pre-ride winter read.
trail is much more than a
a map - it's the sum of of the efforts of all who worked to make it a
reality. We owe a great debt of gratitude to several individuals who
helped us wrestle this epic off of our laptops and into the great
J. Gravelle, the trails coordinator for the St. Joe Ranger
District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest,
spent hours with us on
the phone and in exchanges of email planning the route through the St.
Joe. Stacy Baker and Dusty Baker of the Challis District provided much
The Challis district, btw, has the best trail crew in the state.
of the Elk
Dust Devils ATV club are among
the most helpful and gracious
off-roaders it's been our pleasure to meet. They provided invaluable
assistance in helping us with the area from the Magruder Road to
thanks to Donn
Dennis who provided information on northern Idaho.
to our friends at Pocatello
Sports for keeping us in bikes,
tires and accessories.
of the small towns along the Tour route have at least one establishment
with free WiFi. A WiFi enabled cell phone will generally be the only
way of checking in with family and friends at the end of each day and
uploading challenge point photographs. A really good reason for not
using one's cellphone as a primary GPS is that uploading Challenge
Point photos becomes problematic if one's phone
gets damaged or lost because it's exposed and vulnerable (it's happened
description breaks the Tour into ten
segments. These are the intervals to which Tour participants must
on our experience, competent, well-equipped parties traveling at
reasonable speeds will have little trouble knocking off the entire Tour
in ten trail days.
the suggested schedule are that accommodations are not generally a
and the riding difficulties
are distributed so that one day is not radically more
than the next. The intervals are as follows:
D1 - Utah to Pocatello, D2 - Pocatello to Arco, D3 - Arco to Smoky
Smoky Creek to Challis, D5 - Challis to Salmon, D6 - Salmon
to North Fork, D7 - North
Fork to Lowell, D8 - Lowell to Powell Ranger
Station, D9 - Powell Ranger
Wallace, D10 - Wallace to Sundance Mountain.
day in Pocatello (the biggest town along the route) right after the
first day on the trail is allowed and recommended. Pocatello
largest city along the route and the best place to sort out
or equipment issues that you may have discovered on D1. You can change
oil, tires, repack and take care of any maintenance in the biggest (and
most well-equipped) town along the route. It
it easy to get the pre-dawn start that's a really good idea for D2.
Pass on the allowed day off in Pocatello and the historic odds of
success go way down.
Please bear in mind that though we have covered every inch of the
recommended route and believe our descriptions to be accurate,
conditions can change, in some instances
very rapidly, due to weather, fire, human activities, road
closures, etc. A group once got lost and abandoned the Tour
because of a new trailhead parking lot. It's very common for people to
miss trails or challenge points because they get tracks to follow from
sources other than here. But as thorough as we've tried to be, the
files provided here are no substitute for the ability to pull out a map
and figure things out when you discover that you're not in Kansas any
more. Those attempting to substitute a GPS unit
for route finding and the ability to read a map will
spend a lot of time lost. Again, navigation is a
deliberately important part of the adventure.
The Tour of Idaho is not a casual undertaking. Completing the
Tour requires reasonably high degrees of riding skill,
acumen, physical conditioning, route finding ability, mechanical skill,
knowledge of emergency first aid and a healthy dollop of good
luck. The information on this website is not meant as
for any of the above. A trail that
we describe as flat and fast, for instance, may change overnight as the
result of a
storm. You ride the Tour at your own risk. Any attempt to replace "eyes
on the spot" judgment with something you read here (or
elsewhere) may well result
in calamity. You may want to check out the FAQ
for answers to specific
questions we've gotten (or wish we had).
Please note that all estimates for time on the trail do not factor in
the additional time required for extensive sawing or completing the
In order to assist in
assessing what you are riding into from day to day the
(a group of
Tour vets) have produced a series of trail ratings for the ATV and
single track trails on the Tour. Please
note that these are based on nominal conditions and that all it takes
storm to change things. All ratings assume an unaccompanied
support on a loaded Tour bike riding the trail for the first
Remoteness, fatigue and technicality are all taken into account. The
scale is from 1 (easiest)
to 5 (most difficult) and the ratings are normalized to Tour of Idaho
Trails that are required for two and three member teams are
denoted by a (2) or (3) after the trail name.
The technical ratings are augmented with a scale borrowed from
MPAA we've pressed into use here to indicate mental stressors such as
exposure, creek crossings and anything else that could ruin a Tour for
the unlucky or unwary. No suffix indicates a trail that should be no
problem for any competent solo rider of intermediate ability
loaded Tour bike. A
suffix of "PG" indicates slightly elevated risk. A suffix of
means that one should make doubly sure that their beacon is
working. A suffix of "X" means to
tower and have them foam a runway.
Finally we have attempted to quantify the quality of each trail. This,
of course, is highly subjective and it is what it is. An asterisk (*)
trail of above average quality. Two asterisks (**) indicates a trail of
that is virtually overflowing with redeeming social value. Three
asterisks indicates a veritable cornucopia of the most noble
characteristics to which any trail may aspire.
The Malad City
Chamber of Commerce has arranged free parking in Malad, just a few
miles north of the Utah border, for Tour of Idaho riders. Here is a kmz file
that you may
open in Google Earth that shows where the parking is, and here is what
it looks like
from the street.
Just leave a note in the windshield of your rig that you are riding the
Tour of Idaho (it might not hurt to check in with the local police
either). The recommended accommodation in Malad City is the Hotel Malad,
just a short jog from the parking area. Hess Lumber and Evans Co-op can
take care of your last minute hardware and sporting goods needs.
to Pocatello (150 - 200
|Old Baldy Connector
|Old Baldy-Weston Peak,
|Ruben Hollow to Davis
|Oxford Ridge, PG **
|Cherry Creek/New Canyon (2,3)
|West Elkhorn/Kents Canyon (2) *
|Elkhorn Loop (2+)
|Fenceline Trail (2) *
|South Boundary Trail
|Robber's Roost (W to E) *
|North Boundary Trail
|CS Boundary Trail
|CS Reed Canyon
|CS Girl Scout Camp
|CS Robber's Roost (E to
|CS Boundary Trail
|South Fork Inman Creek
|Chinese Peak *
Border. Challenge point #1
note: you must complete D1 before midnight on the day you set out or
it's a DNF.
for your safety. If you get any reasonable start (before 6 a.m.) you
should be in Pocatello before dark. If not the great wheel in
the sky is trying to tell you something - and you should listen.
one of the shortest in terms of miles, yields long
stretches of technical riding. Roughly 2/3 of the
route consists of rugged single track, ATV or Jeep trail and
total elevation gain is between 30,000 and 42,000 feet (depending on
exact route taken). There are several impressively
and/or steep climbs. Navigation is for real. Most will take 10
hours or so to ride the solo route and 12+ hours for the two and three
member team routes - without the challenge section.
are not a problem with the longest distance between services being
about 60 miles. D1 is designed to give you a taste of what is to
come. If you cannot do D1 in less than 16 hours (in
reasonable conditions, or if you find the riding and/or navigation to
be overly difficult, you will find the days following to be desperately
The traditional Tour start in Black Canyon has been changed
to a much better start near I-15 Idaho exit #3
This is an easy ride from Malad. From Malad take Old
Highway 191 south some 10 miles to Woodruff Road.
Turn left and head east over the freeway then right (south) another
mile to the trail head at the mouth of Burnett Canyon. Head three miles
east up Burnett Canyon to a ridge. Turn right (south) and head downhill
a mile or so to the Idaho-Utah border (pictured left). This is the
official start of the Tour.
|From the border head north six
a series of roads and ATV trails (70055 and 7488)
Follow the dirt road east out of Dry Creek (71224 then 70053) to ID
36, some 5 miles from the campground. Cross the highway and follow the
road about 1/2 of a mile to an intersection. Turn north (left) and
proceed 2.75 miles long a
series of roads (King Road, 70242)
trail 7452. This trail is marked as non-motorized on some maps but is,
in fact, a legal dirt road. Follow 7452 uphill (video)
to 7451 (ATV) which leads to
single track trail 7437. Follow this spectacular trail some 4
miles up and over Old Baldy (8356'), then Weston Peak (8165').
On the north side of Weston Peak look for an intersection with 7443
and continue north. Take
east (right) a few miles to Buck Peak.
Here the trail turns north and descends about a mile into Davis
Basin. After Davis Basin the trail ascends the
spine of Oxford
Ridge gaining about 2000'.
a couple of miles of climbing one reaches a knoll near
waypoint 1Dxyz19. From here the ridge levels off and heads
the summit of Oxford Peak. Near waypoint 1Dxyz20 there is a singletrack
trail that heads off the west side of the ridge just before a steep
climb to another knoll. Miss this and you'll regret it (especially on
the way back). Park at 1Dxyz22 and hike a short distance to the summit
of Oxford Peak (1Dxyz23). Do not ride your bike(s) along the final
The Tour route descends from Oxford ridge east near
Spring and descends an
ATV trail (7419) steeply into Oxford Basin.
The descent from the ridge is not obvious and a look at the
prove extremely useful.
|After a long
descent to a small lake the
trail climbs out of Oxford basin.
A series of short climbs leads
dirt road that goes east (right). Go left after 1/4
head steeply uphill to a series
of ATV trails (7419) leading some 4 miles to Aspen
Near waypoint 1Dxyz29 the D1 route begins to diverge with one, two and
three team variants on the map. Soloists are free to skip the two and
three member team routes and continue north to Pocatello. I
recommend that even soloists
attempting the two member team variation. The two member team route is
technical enough, in terms of both riding and navigation, that it will
serve as a reliable barometer of one's prospects for future
success. I'd estimate that anyone who can ride D1 along the two member
team variant will, barring bad luck or some other unexpected calamity,
succeed on the Tour. At least you won't encounter a more difficult day.
Can you succeed on the Tour as a soloist without doing this? Certainly,
it's been done many times. But if you want to know for sure, ride the
two team variation.
Soloists will descend to the
northeast down Aspen Hollow (7416, 70050) to
a farm road
Road) that rolls straight down into Marsh Valley. Follow this road
about 4 miles to an
intersection with Back Downata Road and turn right.
and three member teams will head left (west) down Cherry Creek Trail
(406) to New Canyon (420). A series of dirt and paved roads
south then west to waypoint 1Dyz8 and the West Elkhorn Foothills/Kent's
Canyon Trail (329, 334). These trails are a riot to ride, with just a
bit of gnarl leading up to the pass near Kent's Peak to keep one on
their pegs. Two member teams will turn right in Mill Canyon and head
east down Power House Road. Three member teams will head west back up
over the Elkhorn Crest, around the west side of the range, then back up
to the Elkhorn Crest near Walkey Peak, then south and east back to
where the variants merge again at waypoint 1Dyz13 (333, 336, 391, 330).
From here it's just a few miles along some ATV trails (371, 325, 374)
to Fenceline Trail (384, 331). Fenceline trail. Fenceline will test
your navigational skills. It's incredibly easy to get led astray in the
maze of criss-crossing game trails. Pay attention to your waypoints and
look around before you twist the throttle.
After Fenceline Trail the route follows FS044 to Marsh Valley road.
From here a series of farm roads leads south then east toward Downey
and a reunion with the solo route at waypoint 1Dxyz30. From here follow
east a few miles past Downata
Hot Springs to US 91. Though it
shouldn't be an
issue at this point, gas is available a few miles north on Highway 91
in Downey or south at Swan Lake. Downata Hot Springs is a nice
place to stop for a few minutes to cool off with a drink and a snack.
crossing US 91 the Tour jogs south about a mile to Calvin Road
(Red Rocks Back) on
the east (left), east along Pratt Road to Cottonwood
The route then follows a
series of logging roads and ATV trails (video)
that ascend to
Sedgwick Peak (9167').
A series of roads follows the crest of
Portneuf Range northwest from Sedgwick Peak some 10 miles, eventually
descending to Lava Hot Springs - a
resort community that is an excellent place to stop for food and gas
before the afternoon trek to Pocatello. We recommend the Sunnyside
Store/Sinclair station, on the way out of town for a quick lunch
and fuel stop.
mile west of Lava on
turn north (right) on Sunnyside Road (70030).
north 3 miles up Beach
Hollow (watch for a jog to the right near a house and a "dead end road"
sign) to an intersection with the Boundary Trail (7272). Here the Tour
route splits. The
regular route continues west and north along
Boundary Trail some six
miles to Robbers Roost Trail (7253). Robbers Roost
is steep (video)
and crosses the Portneuf Range crest just north of
Haystack Mountain (9033') before taking the rider steeply
Springs Campground back on the eastern side of the range. From
Big Springs follow the Boundary trail north about
4 miles again to the
Portneuf Range crest this time at Inkom Pass (7232').
(7272) east and north from Beach Hollow for
several miles to Reed Canyon (7277), then up Reed to Girl Scout Camp
Trail (7274, road 70022), back to the Boundary Trail a few
miles south of Big Springs Campground. The challenge
takes Robbers Roost
Trail (7253) from east to west (reverse of the regular route) to the
Boundary Trail and follows the Boundary trail north a few
Inkom Pass. It's permissible to
bail out at the top of Reed Canyon and ride
down Bob Smith Canyon to reconnect with the regular route. Why you should ride this.
Because it's there. Why
you should not. It's
long and difficult right out of the chute and has ended many
hopes of completing the Tour less than a hundred miles in. There's a
lot more ahead.
Inkom Pass follow trail (7243) from the pass first uphill and
north then downhill and east to the South Fork of Inman Creek (video).
Follow the South
Fork Inman Creek single track (7240) north several miles (one of the most
enjoyable trails of the
entire Tour) to
Canyon Road. At the intersection with Inman Canyon Road head west
(left) and descend several miles to an
intersection with Rapid Creek Road.
Inman Canyon and Rapid Creek travel west into the small town of Inkom.
Inkom is a good place for gas and a cool drink, if you choose, before
last sprint to Pocatello. Head north out of town
and look for the
Sorelle Road sign at the I-15
intersection on the north end of town.
Inkom head west about 5 miles along US 30 (all pavement,
unfortunately) to Blackrock Canyon
Road. Turn right and proceed under the freeway and north into Blackrock
Canyon. Two and three member teams get a bit of a break at the end of
the day here are are permitted to take a shortcut at 1Dyz78 that heads
north along the Pocatello Range Crest several miles to Chinese Peak.
The view are grand - especially around the time of day you'll be
Everyone else will head up into Blackrock
Canyon for a
mile or so past a parking lot on the left to a fork in the
road. Take the right fork across the creek and follow the road
Boy Scout Pavilion. Go another 1/2 mile to an intersection with a jeep
road that heads left (north). Instead continue ahead and
trail east that heads steeply uphill.
|Follow this uphill
miles to another ATV
trail on the ridge. Go right (south) then left (continuing
downhill a mile or so to Caddy Canyon. Follow
ATV trail several miles north to a ridge, then about 4 miles west as a
series of jeep roads and ATV trails wind to the summit
Chinese Peak (video). At
several points along this trail you will be able to look back to the
south and enjoy an evening vista of your entire day's travels.
summit of Chinese
Peak, the town of
Pocatello lies in the
valley to the west. Follow the wide, well-traveled
road that descends to the west. About three miles from the
of Chinese Peak you'll
encounter the TID flagpole on the left about 100 yards after reaching
pavement (below the BLM parking area) at the top of Barton Road. This
is the last challenge point of D1. The
flagpole is on private property. You are welcome to sign the register
but please do not enter the property beyond the flagpole without prior
arrangement. The signs warning of an electric fence should be taken
seriously. You should also know that the llamas spit, the dogs
bite and the folks who live there are armed, crazy and dangerous.
Pocatello is the largest town
along the Tour route. It's a full-service
University community of over 50,000 with numerous motels, hotels,
shops of all kinds. We do not recommend any particular motel or hotel
because all of the ones above "no tell" status are just
fine. It is highly recommended that Tour riders avail
themselves of the allowed day off in Pocatello to rest, sort out bike, equipment
that inevitably arise during the course of the first day. A day off in Pocatello
also allows one to
get a highly advised very early start for D2.
Pocatello has a
Power Sports (Honda/KTM/Suzuki).
A good Tour strategy is to
"run what you brung" on your Tour bike on D1 then use your day off in
Pocatello to have
your bike serviced and shod in new tires at PPS. They understand what
the Tour is about and all you have to do is call ahead and they can
have anything that you need ready. They are great at
getting you in and out during your day off. Make sure that you
treat them well.
While in Pocatello, we
Market for breakfast, lunch and
coffee (they even have a sandwich
called the T1), The
Sand Trap, Mama Inez or
the Sandpiper for
lunch and dinner. Best bets for provisions and services are Pocatello
Sports for motorcycle related needs, Barrie's Ski &
Sports for general outdoor equipment and Fred Meyer for food and
general supplies. Ethanol-free
available at Oak
Street Sinclair (premium
Ethanol-free is available at any local
Wing Shoe store
offers a free
while-you-wait foot and boot inspection (custom insoles are pretty
boot cleaning for any Tour of Idaho rider who stops in. Jason Smoot has
variety of accoutrements for the feet that you ought to think
about (1400 miles is a long way to stand on your
pegs). Please snap a selfie with the folks at any of these
establishments that support the Tour and post on our Facebook page.
in Pocatello please be sure to patronize these supporters of the Tour
to Arco (260
|Slate Mountain, PG ***
Trail/Scout Mountain, PG *
|CS Bell Marsh
|CS Bell Marsh to Mormon
|Mormon Canyon, PG
|Frog Pond/Valve House
|Green Canyon/Sand Hollow
|American Falls Desert
sets out along the
world's mellowest motorcycle single track trail
just as your coffee is
kicking in and the sun is coming up. That last part is important
because things get very interesting west of
Falls if you hit the desert sand in the heat of the afternoon on most
Twelve or so hours
ought to suffice
at any reasonable
The longest stretch between fuel stops is 140 miles (between American
Falls and Arco).
Begin by heading west out of
Pocatello to Gibson Jack Road (70008) and follow it to its end. At the
west end of the parking
lot find the ATV trail that crosses a creek and heads uphill
(7015) for less than half a mile to an intersection. Go left (downhill)
a short distance
(7018) which narrows to single track and heads southwest up Dry
Creek. Follow this trail some 6 miles as it contours the
eastern slopes of Gibson and Slate Mountains (video).
Aside from some brief side hill moments of concern this trail
one of the best anywhere.
You'll eventually descend to
Mink Creek Road. Turn left there and
proceed northeast for about a mile to a
well-marked intersection with East Fork (Scout Mountain) road
on the right. Follow this east for about half a mile to a parking
area on the left. This marks the beginning of the Lead Draw trail
(70331, 7109). Follow this east for for a little over a mile (video)
and look for an intersection with trail 7133 on the right. Follow this
trail south a little over 2 miles to a picnic area/campground.
Proceed south through the picnic area to the Crestline Cycle Trail
(7148). The Crestline Cycle Trail winds up wooded slopes to eventually
emerge beneath the rugged and spectacular east face of Scout Mountain (video).
After about 4 miles from it's start the Crestline Cycle
Trail intersects road 70009. From here one turns right (west)
follows the winding road 2 miles to the top of Scout
Mountain (8700'). Your first CP of the day is on top.
D2 challenge section
begins at the aforementioned intersection. Just before
the Crestline Cycle Trail intersects road 70009
one encounters trail 7178 (Bell Marsh) on the left (east). This 11-mile
loop winds east
down Bell Marsh, south then west along trail 7152 eventually
road 70009 (you'll have to backtrack just a bit along 70009 to
reconnect with the Tour route). Why you
should ride it.
It's far and away the easiest of 'em all. If you got off to an early
the weather is overcast or cool go for it. Why
you should not. Though short, this loop
is time-consuming and soaks up a lot of time while not
you an inch (you end up back where you started). It is not
recommended unless you've
managed a very early start out of Pocatello because you do not want
to get to the desert section of D2 much after noon.
From the intersection of Crestline Cycle Trail with the road follow
70009 downhill less than a mile to an intersection with East Fork Trail
(7186). Turn right (west) and follow this ATV trail about a mile west
then north to Frog Pond. From there, proceed north another mile or so (video)
to Race Track Trail (7184), a single track trail that veers sharply to
the left (west). Follow this for about 3.5 miles west to South Fork
This initial 20 or so miles of trail on D2 is among the most enjoyable
of the entire Tour. But for a few miles of connecting roads
and ATV trail it's almost entirely casual single track. The riding is
mellow enough that one may enjoy the scenery in a manner that
often not possible
elsewhere along the Tour.
south (left) on South Fork/Mercer Creek
Road for a few miles to an intersection with Garden
Creek Road. Continue south another few miles to an
intersection with Rattlesnake Creek Road. Turn right and proceed a few
miles west to South Bannock Hwy.
proceed west into Arbon Valley and around Lusk Loop. Cross Arbon Valley
Hwy and proceed due west toward the flanks of the Deep Creek Range. The
road deteriorates to a jeep trail at a fence crossing at the foot of
the range. Proceed generally west up Green Canyon. Near the top of the
range the trail comes out of the trees and connects with Dry
Hollow Trail (956). Head
right (west) over the crest of the range (the day's second CP is on a
knoll just off the trail) and descend into Portage
Canyon toward ID 37 in
the Rockland Valley. At the intersection of Portage Canyon Road and ID
continue west crossing ID 37 to Kuper Road.
Kuper Road west then
south a few miles
to Green Canyon Road. Follow Green Canyon Road/NFD 569 southwest a few
miles to an intersection with NFD
Turn right (west) and follow this road as it descends Sheep
for a few miles to an intersection with
NFD 577 on the right. Head steeply uphill on NFD 577 to a
and descend into Houtz Canyon. Follow NFD 577 down Houtz Canyon about
4.5 miles to an intersection with a road on the left that leads to
Dairy Canyon. Follow this road uphill a mile or so to a pass
then descend another 3/4 of a mile into Dairy Canyon.
right at the first intersection and left at the second (indistinct)
(west) to a
just south of Badger Peak (6500'). There is a faint road that leaves
west and can be ridden a half mile or so to the top of a knoll.
Your third D2 challenge point is on top of the knoll.
pass descend 1.5
miles to a four-way
intersection at the base
of the hill. Proceed straight through this intersection and
continue north 5 miles along Fall Creek to an intersection with Benson
Spring Road. Turn right (continuing on Fall Creek Road) and head
steeply uphill then downhill about 1.5 miles to an
Register Road (paved).
Turn right and head east on Register road to the Register Rock roadside
park - a historic point on the Oregon Trail. Head east
couple of miles to Deeg Road on the right. Head east on Deeg Road 3.25
miles to an intersection with Rock Creek Road (paved).
Head north 3.5 miles to the I-86 overpass and continue along Eagle Rock
Road which runs east along the north side of the Interstate another
3.25 miles to an intersection with South Frontage Road that leads 2
miles into American Falls. The best place for gas and snacks in
American Falls before the epic plunge into the desert is the Bingham
Coop. There's a waypoint in the parking lot.
route out of American
proceeds west along ID 39 across the
American Falls Dam. Just across the dam turn left (west) onto Lamb
Weston Road. Jog around a few corners and turn south (left) on Borah
Road a short distance later. Follow Borah Road south and west about a
mile to a railroad crossing. From here follow Lake Channel Road
3.75 miles southwest and begin looking for a sandy dirt road
on the right. The next 30 miles of deep sandy trail is one of the
technical highlights of the Tour (video).
things about the desert. The first is that most of it is
land owned by a few large holding companies. Some of us have ridden
here for 40 years without any problems but the inconsiderate actions of
a few are beginning to endanger this. Make sure that you close any gate
that you open. Although you are very unlikely to encounter anyone who
has a problem with you being there, if you do, find your way to the
nearest power line road (all are easements) and just get back to the
route as soon as you can. The second thing that's important to now is
nowhere else along the Tour is it as important to stay on the
track as it is out in this desert. The consequences of getting lost in
the middle of a hot day (or worse at night) are almost too awful to
even consider. The trail from Lake Channel Road to Quigley
Railroad Crossing, though
reasonably well-marked, is at times difficult to follow. When in doubt
the route goes in a reasonably straight line between waypoints and
when it does not it's obvious what to do. It is
important that you stay as close to the track as possible to avoid
unpleasant encounters with trespass, basalt rock, cactus, nasty whoops,
holes and other desert treats. On Tour veteran, a professional rider of
vast experience, referred to the desert section of the Tour as "a
beater." He wasn't making anything up. Personally I love the desert but
I also recognize that it has the potential to be grueling and serious
if you take it lightly.
Most of the established tracks in the area are overused, whooped-out
and nasty. Our track is designed to help you avoid the
In some places you'll be on an established trail but in those
places the trail will be OK. If you examine the track carefully from
where you first exit Lake Channel Road to to the point you cross it
you'll note that in some places it's way off on it's own and in others
it appears to lie a few feet left or right of the main trail or a road.
because in those places there's a motorcycle singletrack that was put
there to avoid the whoops. You are required to follow our route through
the desert as closely as possible and you'll get dinged some CP's if
your track shows that you strayed very far from it.
The normally fine,
extremely dry basaltic
sand in this area is the most difficult that some have ever ridden.
Where the trails are
whooped it's difficult to keep up the speeds required to stay on
top of the sand. If you are very, very lucky,
you'll get there after a summer thunderstorm and experience nirvana.
It is incredibly
important that you scout the rock chute entrance to Lake
Channel, to make sure that you are in the right spot, before
taking the plunge - as the
surrounding cliffs reach heights of nearly 100'. Most
attempts to do this after dark count as failed suicides rather than
note that it is very hot in the desert most of the time during the Tour
of Idaho season (July and August anyway). Do not go out into the desert
without proper hydration and ventilation. On a hot day the 140 or
so miles from American Falls to Arco are very serious (110+ temps).
Once you get out of the sand and into the basalt rock (after the first
30 miles) you'll be able to ride fast enough to cool down except
for numerous gates that need to be opened and closed. The
only real respite
the heat will be the summit of Big Southern Butte many miles to the
the west side of Lake Channel
road proceed south
then west about 1/4 of a mile to a cliff above Lake Channel Bowl. As
previously mentioned it is advised that you get off your bike and
scout the entrance to the bowl
to make sure that you have the right one (a minimally technical short
rock chute that's difficulty changes a bit with the amount of sand
blown into the bowl below). Be aware that the cliffs in this area rise
to about 100'
above the bowl in some places and that you would be unlikely to enjoy
the plummet should you choose your line poorly. Your fifth D2 challenge
point is the top of the chute.
| To enter
the sand, bear
off Lake Channel Road at waypoint 2Dxyz84 onto a sandy dirt road and
follow it about 1/4
of a mile to a faint trail that leads off to the west. Follow this
another 1/4 of a mile to a well-defined trail that leads north down a
canyon. After another 1/4 of a mile this trail climbs the steep left
bank of the narrowing canyon then heads west along a fence line. Climb
sandy hill then follow a faint trail (occasionally marked
with red ribbon) generally north up past large piles of lava rock to a
power line road and a fence crossing. Head through the fence and
proceed north for another 1/4 of a mile to a faint single track trail
that heads west. Follow this trail, generally west, as it
winds through dunes, sandy whoops and lava rock some 7 miles
to Lake Channel Road. There are a myriad of trails
criss-crossing this area
and you'll end up riding around in very tiring circles without paying
close attention to the direction of your next waypoint. At times the
trail is tenuous (look for red marking ribbon) but as
long as you take your time and keep heading toward the next waypoint
you'll be fine. At times the sand is quite deep and
the dunes high and steep. Though exciting these
trails are well-ridden
hazards. Beware of large lava rocks, often hidden in the sand,
may assume are bolted directly to the center of the earth. You'll need
to keep up your speed
climb the omnipresent dunes, but at a level below reckless abandon
Your fourth D2 challenge point
(2Dxyz113) is in this area. And, yes, you really do have to go right
where the map and
gps says the point is.
bowl follow the waypoints half a mile to a climb out of the bowl on the
right. Proceed along through a
dunes, rocky roads, sandy roads and sandy trail about 5 miles to an
intersection with a trail that heads north. Follow intermittent cow
trails north a
few miles to the third of three power line roads you'll encounter. Turn
right (east) and head back to Lake Channel Road. Once there turn left
cross the RR tracks, and immediately locate a gate on the left side of
the road. Head through this gate and proceed due north to the obvious
large sand dune about 1/4 of a mile away. Head over the dune and
follow an enjoyable single track trail north a few miles to Quigley
From here the
route skirts the east edge of the Wapi Lava Flow some 35 miles
the Great Rift - an area of lava tubes and deep chasms in the Basalt. Proceed
north along Quigley
Road some 10 miles north to North Pleasant Valley then along
Schultz, Funk Roads and Classen Roads to Water Tank Road. The turnoff
north (right) to Classen Road from Funk Road is unmarked but
located where Funk Road turns from gravel to dirt. When the fields are
planted this may be difficult to find. It is entirely possible to skirt
the fields by continuing another half mile west to Winters
Road, then turning right (north) and proceeding another half a mile to
an east/west road on the south side of a fence line (Water Tank Road).
No matter how you get there follow Water Tank Road east
Top Road (0733).
Follow this north about 7.5 miles to Gasten Beattie Well. Continue
north along 0733 another 3.5 miles to Mosby Well. Continue north
another 25+ miles to Big
Road. Along this section of the route it is very easy to get confused
by a myriad of jeep roads and goat trails.
BSB-Springfield Road turn
left (west) and proceed
a few miles to Frenchman's
6-mile trek to
top of the Butte begins here. On a
clear day the view from the top (7560') includes a dozen mountain
ranges, 1/3 of the Tour, most of T2 and parts of Utah,
Montana and Idaho's Snake River Valley from the Tetons all the
to Boise (video).
Your sixth and last D2 challenge point is on top
of the butte.
Frenchman's Cabin the Tour proceeds west along
Aspen-Frenchman Road some 10 miles around the southern boundary of the
Idaho National Laboratory. Head west
toward Quaking Aspen Butte and an intersection with the Arco-Minidoka
road. Most of this section near the end of D2 is fast and flowing
but you will be happy to see the lights of Arco glittering in the
gathering darkness off to the north. Head north along the Arco-Minidoka
road 14 miles to an intersection with US
20/26/93. Turn north (right) and proceed about a mile into
community with an excellent motorcycle shop (Lost River
Honda), a variety of eateries and several motels.
friendly town, and anything short of wheelies down main street
will probably pass without notice. We recommend the DK motel
for accommodations but every place in town is pretty good to Tour
riders. The folks at Lost River Honda have been especially helpful to
Tour riders over the years. Treat them well.
in Arco please be sure to patronize these supporters of the Tour of
to Smoky Bar
(185 - 200 miles)
|Sands Canyon Trail
|Stewart Canyon - Corral Creek
|Wildhorse Lookout, PG ***
|Burnt Aspen-Kane Canyon
|Warfield-South Fork **
|CS Meadow Creek
|CS Placer Creek
|CS East Fork Big Peak Creek
|Middle Fork South
|Middle Fork Warm Springs **
|Dollarhide Summit *
|Big Peak - Carrie Creek **
|Grindstone-BIg Peak **
|Lick Creek (West)
|Lick Creek (East)
|Lower East Fork Big Peak, PG
Smoky Creek, PG
|Lick Creek/Big Peak Creek
three begins your journey into the very heart of Idaho and the best of what the Tour has to offer. Lots of single
track and you'll encounter
your first exposure to some side hills worthy of attention.
Gas should not be an
will find this to be an easy day and unless you do the challenge
section or are in a team of three you should be kicking back at Smoky
Bar Store by late afternoon.
route out of Arco may be
US 20/26 near the southeast edge of town. Look for the large submarine
mast parked on the east side of the highway (I kid you not). Turn east
(left) at the sub onto HiWay Drive which parallels US 20/26 southeast
for a 0.3 miles to a fork in the road. Take the east (left) fork 1
mile to an intersection with Arco Pass Road on the north
(left). After about 7 miles the Arco
intersects Sheep Camp Road near the base of King Mountain. Head
east (right) then north along a series of jeep roads that skirt
the eastern flanks of King Mountain, up and over Arco Pass,
down to Little Lost River Valley.
You'll head north about 10 miles to the entrance to Sands Canyon ATV Trail (4210) at waypoint 3Dxyz18.
Turn left here and proceed up and west several miles to a divide
between Bird Canyon (west) and Van Dorn Canyon (east). Please note that
this section of trail is seasonal and closes about a week before the
Tour closes (September 7). Late comers will need to take the
the tip of the divide take Mike's Trail (4308) a couple of miles down
to a Jeep road that heads downhill to an intersection with Dorn Canyon
(NFD431). Turn north (left) at Van Dorn Cutoff Trail (432) and soon
after west (left) at Deer Creek Trail (277). About 3/4 of a mile
later the route splits at waypoint 3Dxyz24.
Soloists will follow Blacktail/Mud Lake (094) 11 miles to an intersection with Pass Creek Road (FS122).
Teams will head north along FS527 and then FS235 to Deer Creek Pass,
then downhill several miles to an intersection with Pass Creek Road
(122). Proceed south about eight miles to Pass Creek Summit. From there
turn west (right) and head up FS539 a mile or so to an intersection
with trail 4092 on the south (left). This single track wanders around
Warren Mountain some four miles to road 832 which intersects Pass Creek
Road after a short distance. Turn south and and head a short distance
to waypoint 3Dxyz25 where the routes converge.
Head south down Pass Creek road a few miles to an intersection with
Bench Road at waypoint 3Dxyz27. Turn west (right) and proceed several
miles to the town of Mackay. Mackay has gas, grub and a hardware
store so you can find about anything that you need there.
From Mackay you'll head out of town to the south via Smelter Ave, west
past Anderson Spring toward the entrance to Grande Canyon. At waypoint
3Dxyz32 turn to the south and up Alder Creek Road. About six miles
later, at waypoint 3Dxyz34, you'll intersect Mammoth Canyon Road (517)
and turn north (right). Head
up Mammoth Canyon about a mile to road 40516 on the west (left) which
quickly turns into trail 4070 in Stewart Canyon. Those who disdain quad
unworthy are in for a surprise. You'll crest 10,000' for the first time
on the Tour here on the White Knob Mountain crest at the pass between
Stewart Canyon and Corral Canyon.
the pass you'll descend north then west down Corral Creek a few miles
to Burma Road. Take Burma Road south to East Fork Road - the main drag
through Copper Basin. Head north then west several miles to trail 4056
that heads up Wildcat Canyon and Wildhorse Lookout (9359') - truly one
more spectacular spots along the Tour. Again, for those who disdain all
quad trails as unworthy, here's part II of your education.
the descent from Wildhorse LO, turn west (right) and jog down East Fork
Road a short distance to Wildhorse Creek on the left. Head south along
Wildhorse Creek Road (40136), past the Guard Station to Burnt
Aspen Trail (4055) on the west (left). This trail is among the best of
the entire Tour. You will enjoy the increasingly spectacular views as
you wind your way up to the divide between Burnt Aspen Creek and Little
Kane Creek - and they get even better as you wander down the Kane
At the bottom of Little Kane Creek you'll encounter a road (40134) that
winds its way west around Phi Kappa Mountain to Trail Creek Road (NFS
here the route heads
west over Trail
Creek Summit. From Trail Creek Summit you'll head southwest some 12
Ketchum/Sun Valley Idaho - a.k.a. "Glitter Gulch." Bruce Willis lives
here. So do Peter Cetera, Steve Miller, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark
Zuckerberg, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Tony
home here as well and that might've had something to do with why he
for an early ride on the great wheel in the sky on July 2, 1961.
taking the time to park your fanny on a bench in the
Jacques and just take it all in (you are, after all, on a Tour of
immortal words of Sophocles, "Oh, God, here comes the dreadful truth,"
will never ring more true. More than a few hours here and you will want
to jab yourself in the head with a piece of rebar.
Do not let the laid back demeanor of the locals wearing $300 sandals fool you either. Almost everyone
you and your bike dislikes you and hates your bike. Honest and no lie. Shall
I fan you gently so
you don't go into
The pass between Stewart Canyon and Corral Creek.
Ketchum head west along
Warm Springs Road (NFS 227) about 11
miles or so to Warfield-South Fork Trail (7151). Head southwest for a
few miles until the trail climbs steeply through a series of
switchbacks to an intersection with Red Warrior Trail (7120) on the
left. Continue south, then west, then north to Middle
Fork Trail (7199) to
Middle Fork Warm Springs Trail (7150) to Dollarhide Summit
(7995). Take 7995 west a couple of miles to
Dollarhide Summit. The exit from the trail is a bit difficult to find
but is very close to waypoint 3Dxyz74 off to the right in the middle of a
steep uphill section of the trail. Someone usually piles up some logs
here to block the trail but you'll most likely be to wheelie over them
as the trail appears to continue ahead. It does, but only for another
1/4 of a mile or so.
D3 challenge section begins near waypoint 3Dxyz69 and
trail 7151 to Meadow Creek ATV trail (7302) back to Warm Springs Road.
turn here leads you to the challenging part of the D3
challenge: Placer Creek/East Fork Big Peak
should ride it. It's challenging and scenic. Why
you should not. It's a long way to
the intersection with Lick Creek (7080) and you'll need your
jammies some of the way. In nominal conditions it's an
adventure. Please note that the first part of this closes very early each year (end of August).
Dollarhide Summit proceed
west another 5 miles to an intersection
with Trail 7016 (Big Peak) on the right. Follow this trail
uphill a few miles to an intersection with trail 7081
this about 5 miles west to an intersection with Lick Creek Trail
(7080). One and two member teams:
continue straight on 7080 west 4 miles to an intersection with NFD
227 and Big Smokey Guard Station just a stone's throw down the
road. Three member teams:
Turn back right (east) on 7080, Lick Creek Trail, and follow it a few
miles downhill to an
intersection with East Fork Big Peak Creek (7076). Turn left (north)
head a few miles to an intersection with Big Smoky (7072). Beware of
numerous creek crossings on Big Smoky Trail. More than one person has take an
unplanned bath here. You might need to read this.
Your day ends at Smoky Bar Store. You must make reservations in advance
if you expect to have a bunk for the night. Please make sure to tell
Kaylin, your host, that you are on the Tour of Idaho T1. She'll do her
best to hook you up.
|Warfield - South Fork Trail - the "Cliff VIew" challenge point
at Smoky Bar please be awesome to our benefactor (and your host) Kaylin
Dennis - proprietor of Smoky Bar Store.
Bar Store Facebook
- Smiley Creek
|Paradise Creek (to Snowslide) **
|Paradise Creek (after
Snowslide), R **
|West Fork Big Smoky
|Mule Creek **
|Grand Prize Gulch *
|Little Boulder Creek ***
|Frog Lake, PG
|Big Boulder Creek **
|Five Mile Creek, PG
|CS Custer Lookout (CCW),
|Lombard Trail **
four continues the trend that began with
traversing some of the most spectacular terrain
in the USA
accessible by motorcycle. It's 135 miles of continuous fun with an
elevated level of
challenge - both riding and navigational. Fuel
should not be an issue. D4 is
short by design. You'll have plenty of
time to kick back at Sawmill Station for lunch and you should get in
or so hours ought to suffice. From the
southern end of Big
Smoky head north
about 11 miles
along Paradise Creek Trail (7070) to Snowslide Lakes.
The first part of this is great with just a bit of gnarl before
Snowslide Lakes. But after that this will be, for many,
an introduction to "side hills of
major concern" - a theme that will become much more prevalent in coming
Continue over the pass (the last D3 challenge point is
and down a couple of
miles to the West Fork of Big Smoky (224). Head southeast just
bit over 2 miles and look for an intersection on the
left with Mule Creek Trail (198), which is not well-marked. Trail 198
is a riot (video),
will aptly punctuate the end of a great day of riding as you follow it
up several miles to the divide between the Smoky Mountains and the
Sawtooths and an intersection with Big Smoky Creek Trail (072).
this intersection head north and follow the trail steeply
a few miles to an
intersection with NFD 215. The small creek on your left is the origin
of the mighty Salmon River. About 5 miles later you'll encounter ID 75.
From here it's a short jaunt north to Smiley Creek Inn or a slightly
longer (21 miles) ride to Stanley which has a wider variety of
north 11 miles (70670, 7615, 7675,
2001) to French Creek where
the trail narrows from dirt
road, to jeep trail to
single track as
it descends down to the
Salmon River. At the very bottom
French Creek, within sight of Hwy 75, the trail bears left to avoid
private land near waypoint 4D24. Do not go through the gate to get to
the road. Instead find the
trail off to the left which climbs a side hill and descends toward a
trailhead parking area. From
Hwy 75 head east
about a mile to Old
is available (24 x 7) along with supplies,
and some of the best grub along the entire
Smiley Creek head east on trail 194 a few miles to Pole Creek then
about 3 miles further to a intersection with Grand Prize Gulch Trail
the right. Please note that the alternative route, Germania Creek
(7111) is available only in the event that Grand Prize Gulch is closed.
Follow 7112 uphill a few miles to your first challenge point
of the day, the scenic view at the top of the pass between GPG and West
waypoint 4D5. Continue downhill about 5 miles to the East Fork
of the Salmon
then another few miles further to NFD 120 near the Bower Guard
the Guard Station follow the East Fork Road about 8 miles to an
intersection with the Little Boulder Creek Trail (7682) on the left. This
single track is
one of the
highlights of the Tour (video).
(7682) about 4 miles to a clearing with a spectacular view of Castle
and Merriman Peaks (D4 cp #2, near waypoint 4D10)
then another 6 miles (7407) up and over a pass (cp #3 near
waypoint 4D12) to
the abandoned mining town of Livingston
next 5 miles (70669) climb
to the highest point of the Tour (10,420') atop
Railroad Ridge where you'll want to pause to enjoy a vista
that includes virtually all of the highest parts of Idaho and the
spectacular Chinese Wall. D4 cp #4 is the highest point on the ridge,
near waypoint 4D19.
Boulder Creek - D4 challenge point #2
Ridge - the roof of the Tour. Challenge point #4..
head west along 75 about 3 miles to a bridge which crosses the
River on the right, The right of way on the north side of the bridge is
private so head west another two and
miles along 75 to a dirt road just the other side of a bridge that is
a public right of way. Follow this back around to Thompson
Road (FS 040).
north along Thompson Creek Road (FS 040) about 10 miles
to a trail on the left (161) near waypoint 4D32. This trail is not hard
to miss but you'll know you did if your start climbing steeply up a
series of switchbacks.
Follow 161 west about a mile and a half
to Cinnabar Creek Trail (162). The last 1/4 of a mile up to Cinnabar
ascends a steep meadow and the trail is a bit difficult to follow. The
optimal path is marked by a series of rock cairns. Your fifth D4
challenge point awaits near waypoint 4D35.
very short distance to the west along trail 162 you'll
encounter the D4
Custer LO. This is a spectacular trail and a must do at some point in
your riding career but one of the more airy and technical
challenge sections on the Tour. Though short
this four mile loop will test your meddle - including
your ability to deal with dizzying side hills. It is
recommended that you ride the loop in the
counterclockwise direction only. You must go all the way to the
lookout, which requires some extra work, to complete the
should ride it.
find a better view than from the
top. It's one of my favorite
should not. It's a long way
down in a few spots and some
commitment is required to advance. Not advised for soloists.
west down Five Mile Creek to an
intersection with Yankee Fork Road (FS 070). Turn right and head
northeast about eight miles to McKay Creek on the
McKay Creek Road about a mile as it turns into trail 151, then
short distance to an intersection with Squaw Creek Trail (149). Follow
149 south about 7 miles until it turns into Squaw Creek Road (40041),
then another mile to an intersection with Trealor
Road (40045) on the east (left).
Follow Trealor Creek road a
so to an
intersection with a jeep trail (40695) that heads north. A short
distance up this trail you'll encounter the Trealor Creek Trail (159)
on the right. In the beginning this is one of the worst beater ATV
trails bad dreams are capable of conjuring. It does get better with
elevation. Follow this five miles up and over Buffalo Ridge
down to Bayhorse Lake. Head down Bayhorse Creek Road about a mile to an
intersection with a jeep road that ascends sharply to the
up this road past Little Bayhorse Lake to a hard left at waypoint 4D53
and past a spectacular rockslide.
- D4 challenge point #5.
| Continue east
a few miles
to the summit of Ramshorn Mountain and the final challenge point of the
day (waypoint 4DRM). Continue east a few more miles over Keystone
to an intersection with the Keystone Gulch jeep road.
ascend Keystone Gulch and hang a left (waypoint 4D59) at the
Lombard ATV trail
northeast past Blue Mountain (video).
few miles outside
of Challis, a mile
or so below the pass north of Blue Mountain, the trail splits (waypoint
right fork descends to the State Park at Yankee Fork (a fee area). Take
the left fork, right down the creek bed, a few miles into
at about trail
mile 700, is about
the same size as
has about the
same level of services. There
are several motels,
half a dozen or so
eateries and plenty of choices for gas and supplies (The
Village Square on U.S. 93, is particularly well-equipped for
your TID needs:
straps, gas jugs, tools, outdoor equipment - we even found 2 and 4
motorcycle oil there). Ethanol-free gas is available at Kimble
Village Inn is
best place to
stay in Challis but there are several other perfectly fine motels. Any
of them will work.
permits the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center (south of town at the
intersection of US 93 and ID 75) is well worth taking the time to
|Ramshorn - D4
challenge point #6
to North Fork
in the Challis area, please patronize these supporters of the
|Pat's Creek/Eddy Basin,
|West Fork Morgan
Creek/Furnace Creek, PG **
Peak/Alder Creek, PG ***
|CS BIg Hat Creek PG *
|Hat Creek Lakes, PG ***
five includes the second
highest point of
the Tour (Twin Peaks
10,330') and about 50 miles of single track that can be quite
technical at times.
Most will find
this to be a long day for a relatively short distance. Count on
10 hours on the
trail or more to North Fork if sawing is required (almost
always). Eight hours ought to suffice if the trail is clear (later in
the season). Some of the
trails on D5 are
rarely ridden outside of the Tour of Idaho community. At the
beginning of the season it could take two days to ride this
section if it hasn't been sawed. There is no gas available between
Challis and North Fork.
begin, head west
up Main Street a
few blocks to 7th Street/Challis Creek Road
on the north (right). Proceed north out of town five
miles to NFD 138 - the Darling
Creek Road. From here it is a 25-mile out and back to the summit
Lookout (video). The first challenge point of
the day is at the lookout near waypoint 5D8. Enjoy the view.
the descent from Twin Peaks head back down to Challis Creek Road
and look for Pats Creek (40173) on the left
side of the
intersection of Challis Creek and Valley Creek. If the Pat
Creek/Eddy Creek trail
is closed the Darling Creek trail, a few miles east, is an alternative.
left (north) and
follow the Eddy Creek/Camas Trail (4134) a few miles to Eddy Basin.
Turn right on trail 4145 and head uphill a few miles to a
sharp right turn (at waypoint 5D13) that's easy to miss. Head southeast
as the trail climbs to a spectacular view of Morgan Creek. Your second
challenge point of the day is anywhere near waypoint 5D13 where you like the
view. Continue to an
intersection with Trail 4144 which
descends to a picnic area at the top of road 176.
Follow this road
downhill a few miles to an intersection with road 057 and turn left.
Follow 057 northwest about 3/4 of a mile to the West Fork of Morgan
Creek Trail (4143).
Peaks. The first challenge point of D5 is near this spot.
This is the view from D5 cp #3.
| Once you head up West Fork you are
of the most
remote areas you'll ever visit on a single track trail motorcycle trail
in the United States. Trail 4143 has wonderful
views and is of only moderate difficulty (except for
a few short technical
sections) but it is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Don't ride off
a side hill or
break down. It's a long walk out and no one is coming up the
trail except another Tour of Idaho rider. This area generally gets
sawed only by Tour of Idaho riders so be prepared for some
work in early season.
Trail 4143 up
Morgan Creek for about 3 miles to an
intersection with trail 4234. Continue another few miles past West
Fork Lakes - climbing steeply to the scenic headlands above Morgan
Creek/Furnace Creek and an intersection with Trail 4138
which loops back to the
east. The next few miles are outrageously fun and contain the
scenic view pictured at the left. This is challenge point #3, between
5D19 and 5D20.
As 4138 descends from the ridgetop it
intersects Lick Creek Trail (4142) on the right.
Continue northwest (left) on 4138
this intersection and around the steep slopes above
headwaters of Furnace Creek. After another 1.5 miles you'll encounter
the Furnace Creek Trail (4140) on the left (west). Turn
right and continue northeast up Furnace Creek on 4138 over a divide
west of Van Horn Peak (9616') and an intersection with Trail 4139 which
descends to the right.
|Continue on Trail 4138 a mile or so
to D5 challenge
point #4 (right) a bit less than midway between waypoints 5D22 and
5D23. It's a really good idea to locate this challenge point, get off
your bike and then look around. The trail ahead may not go where you
think that it goes (Go west, young man).
Descend to the western flanks of
Wood's Peak and contour around a few miles to an intersection with
Trail 4135 (Black-Alder Creek). D5 challenge point #5 is the
spectacular view from the boulder field just beyond waypoint 5D23
After that it's a very pleasant cruise down Alder Creek to Morgan Creek
Soloists - at the base of Alder Creek turn
(north) on Morgan
Creek Road (FS
follow it a few
miles to Morgan
Creek Summit. Turn right (east) on
road 40129. At the end of this road you'll intersect Trail 8360.
Continue along Trail 8360 north,
3.3 miles to an intersection with trail 6093. Soloists
are advised to follow this allowed short cut. Trails 8360
and 6093 have
a few sections that may slow soloists down significantly. The short cut
does not bypass these sections but does allow one to access them more
Teams - at
the base of Alder Creek turn
right (south) on 055 and head a few miles to trail Trail
8360 (Corral Creek-Hat Creek) on the left. Follow Corral Creek Trail
north a few miles to the
intersection with Road 40129. From this point proceed as described
D5 cp #4. It's
a really good idea to locate this spot and stop.
Alder Creek -
D5 challenge point #5
| The D5 Challenge Section
goes down Lick Creek (4142), up FS 055 and up Van Horn Creek
(4139). This challenge short, interesing and fun - though the
downhill on Lick Creek may prove scintillating. Why you
should ride it. Great views and generally very easy. Why
you should not.
The trail it replaces is pretty cool as well.
everyone else turn left (north) at the
intersection of 8360 and 6093 and follow
FS 6093 a
few miles north to Hat
Hat Creek Lakes and surroundings are spectacular - one of my favorite
places along the entire Tour. There is a short, 100 yard section
climbing out of the lakes toward Taylor Mountain Pass that will take
some time and effort for most soloists. The final challenge point of
the day (#6) is located at the top of Taylor Mountain Pass
waypoints 5D31 and 5D32 (shown below). The first of two optional (or
bonus) challenge points is on top of Taylor Mountain off to the west.
For those of you who intend to ride every special challenge
obtain every challenge point in record time, here you go.
From the pass continue generally north another 3 or so
miles to Iron lake. From Iron Lake continue north
FS 020 road 7 miles to an intersection with NFD 099 on the left.
|Continue along FS020 for
10 miles to
Williams Creek Summit (some of the
views along this ridge are truly stunning). Turn left
(west) at the intersection and follow the Salmon Truck Route 13 miles
down to Panther Creek. Don't let "Truck Route" fool you - this is a
sweet ride. From the intersection with Panther Creek Road it's
uneventful miles to North
years the Tour has, in some years, made an overnight stop at
Shoup. We recommended The
Shoup Store for
food, lodging and some motorcycle
supplies during seasons it was open. Unfortunately, as of
the Shoup Store has once again
closed and up for sale. This is the third time in the history of the
Tour this has happened and we are no longer recommending
Shoup as a reliable overnight stop.
Instead ride 17 miles east to
at North Fork where
accommodations, supplies and fuel.
North Fork is a very
facility. If you get to North Fork and the store is
up it means that the world has come to an end while you were
in the woods.
Pass. D5 challenge point #6 is here.
in North Fork please be sure to patronize these supporters of the
- North Fork to Lowell
|CS Butcher Knife Ridge **
|CS Divide Trail, PG *
easiest days of the Tour.
Though most of the riding covers scenic dirt roads, the 50 miles of
single track and ATV
trail east of Elk City are a treat. Budget 8 hours to Elk City
and another couple of hours to Lowell. The only major difficulty is
that D6 begins one of the longest gas-less stretches
Tour. There is exactly one place for gas in the next 425+ miles. Your
Loop fuel bags
will prove their
value in the next
two days. The D6 challenge is one of the best of the Tour. If I were
going to choose only one challenge section it would be this one.
You'll want to load up
on gas at North Fork because
the next opportunity
for fuel (short of scavenging) is in Elk City, 200 miles away.
bitter experience have taught
us that dirt bikes make particularly poor wheelbarrows when deployed
along the Darby-Elk City Road. You'd be amazed at how few people travel
that road when you are out of fuel.
Road near challenge point #3
west out of North Fork
NFD 030 about 8 miles to an intersection with Sage Creek
Road (NFD 005) on the right (north). It is here, right out of the
encounter the D6
Butcher Knife Ridge/Divide Trail, which ascends steeply many
thousands of feet to the Idaho/Montana border. This one is a good one
and eminently worthy of your consideration.
should ride it. Butcher Knife Ridge is one of the best
single track trails on the entire Tour. Why
should not. Spring
Creek Road is pretty scenic as well. The lookout tally is the same
either way. On the standard route you get Blue Nose, on the challenge
section you get Ulysses Mountain. Both are challenge points and you can
claim one or the other depending on your choice of route.
along NFC 030 a few
more miles to NFD 038, Spring Creek Road. Head north and
over the next 16 miles to NFD 044 near
A bit north of this is Blue Nose Lookout (8677'). Follow NFD 044 north
5.5 miles to Horse Creek Pass
(7400') on the Idaho-Montana border. Turn right (north) and
along Beaver Creek 10 or so miles to West Fork Highway (473), which is
paved. From the intersection of NFD044 to
Pass you are in Montana.
east (right) onto 473
follow it generally north for several miles past the community of
Alta to mile-marker 26 (just south of Painted Rocks
Turn left (west) onto NFD 5660 (Coal
follow it past
some homes (please respect the privacy of these homeowners and take it
easy while riding the right of way through their properties) for about
a mile to an intersection with NFD 5658 on the right. Turn
this intersection and go several miles
as Upper Coal Creek
Road skirts the south and west shores of Painted Rocks Reservoir on a
scenic ridge high above the waters.
into a valley and intersects with NFD 362. Turn left on NFD 362 and
follow it a short distance to the first road that veers off to
the right. Follow a series of well-marked roads 6 miles up
to Tough Creek Saddle. From Tough Creek Saddle follow the road
goes north then west descending steeply down to the Nez Perce
are beginning a trek through the heart of the largest contiguous
wilderness area in the lower 48 states - the Frank Church. Head west on
Nez Perce (also know as the Darby-Elk City Road) to Nez
Perce Pass (6597') - D6 challenge point #2. This
pass marks the approximate halfway
point of the Tour
west 15 miles downhill to the Selway
River, then another 5 miles to the Magruder Crossing Campground and an
intersection with NFD 6223 on the north (right). Go left
continuing along the Nez Perce Road and the Magruder Corridor. The road
climbs a long grade 5 miles to Kim
(6000'). Continue a few more miles to Salmon Mountain
repair on the second Tour of Idaho
Mountain Lookout is the second optional (bonus) Challenge Point of the
Tour and as with the first you have to hike a bit to get there (though
not nearly as much!). The Salmon Mountail
Trail (FST 705) is a 1.2 mike trek that gains about 700 feet.
you fail to use your motor and wheels appropriately elsewhere you can
make up for it here the old fashioned way!
along the Nez Perce/Magruder Corridor/Darby-Elk City Road (video)
miles, generally west, to Mountain Meadows. Your third D6 challenge
point is a short out and back to Burnt Knob Lookout (8196'). After
descend steeply into Poet Creek then trek an interminable number of
miles along the world's most dangerous dirt road looking
ATV trail (505)
that departs the road north less than a mile from Mountain
Meadows (mile marker 6, waypoint 6D36).
The 505/835 ATV trail network is one of the better ones along
Follow the 505 north several miles to Soda Creek
Point. Your fourth challenge point of the day is a bit beyond Soda
Creek Point where the trail turns off the ridge near waypoint 6D37.
Continue as the trail gradually follows a series of
down the mountain to Red River and FS
234, Hot Springs Road (note: Red River Hot Springs
miles northeast along the road 234 at this point. There are supplies
there, but no gas pumps).
left and head
southwest on FS 234 a mile or so to an intersection with Divide
Road (FS 423). Turn
right and head west then north a few miles up single track to
with FSR 1182. Then
it's northeast for a few miles to an intersection with FSR 423. Follow
to Black Hawk
2016 the Tour continued past Black Hawk Mountain
directly to Lowell. Unfortunately the only gas
in Lowell is now closed. That being the case you'll have to take
the 25-mile detour
west into Elk
City for gas. Elk City is a pretty remarkable place. It's remote and as
such well-stocked to keep the locals from having to make the
horrendous drive to the nearest town.You'll find gas,
food and some supplies if you look around. You'll want to take
as much gas as you can carry at Elk City because it's 225+ miles to the
along the Tour route at Powell Ranger Station.
The network of roads, single track trails, ATV trails and goat trails
around Elk City is a complex maze. I've ridden these trails dozens of
times and I still have trouble in places. That's because there are
trails literally going everywhere - often within a few feet of each
other. In places there will be a road, an ATV trail and a single track
all going in the same direction a few yards apart. This is the one area
along the Tour where you may be forgiven from wandering from the
established route. Just get into Elk City and back on the
best way that you can that's close to the recommended route. The
recommended route is good, but good luck staying on it.
After Elk City you'll ride back to the 505 and head
generally northwest along
ATV trails (505) another few miles to Anderson
Butte. Your fifth and last D6 challenge point is on top of Anderson
Butte between waypoints 6D79 and 6D80. After
this go northwest 10 or so miles along the Anderson
Recreational Trail (835) to NFD 443 (Note: There is a right turn just
north of Anderson Butte that is not completely obvious).
NFD 443 a short distance to an intersection with NFD 464 on
the west (left). Turn east (right) and continue along NFD 443
another 6 miles until the road narrows near
Falls Point. Here the road takes an
amazing 3800' plunge in 7 miles to Selway
Once in the valley follow the Selway River downstream a mile or so to
a bridge crossing. On the other side of the bridge turn northeast
(left) and follow the Selway
Road downstream some 14 miles to Lowell.
is a small
community with a motel and a restaurant. As of 2016 the gas
station/store (Cougar Station) is closed. The Wilderness
Inn is currently the only
dependable option for lodging.
is the lowest
elevation of the Tour at 1450'.