White Clouds

Last week I was fortunate enough to do a two day ride through the White Clouds mountains of Idaho.  The White Clouds are located on the east side of the Salmon River Valley, opposite their more famous and “windshield friendly” neighbors, the Sawtooths, on the west. The Sawtooths are a wilderness area and as such, are not open to mountain bikes (don’t get me started on the idiocy of how this came to be).  The White Clouds on the other hand, are home to some of the most incredible backcountry riding opportunities anywhere in the world and are part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

Our route for Day 1, was to climb Boundary Creek Trail (3,000 vertical in less than 5 miles), descend Marten Creek Trail to Warm Springs meadow and then descend Warm Springs Trail to Robinson Bar on the Salmon River.  All total, the route was around 25 miles long.  However, in typical Idaho backcountry style, the average speed tends to be quite a bit slower than you think.  After climbing/riding over roughly 60 trees down across the lower Warm Springs Trail, we arrived at the car nearly 5 hours later.

From there, we drove up to the 4th of July Creek trailhead where we camped for the night.  We sat around the campfire, shared a flask of whiskey, traded stories of backcountry adventures, and discussed the future of mountain biking here in central Idaho.

Day 2 started off great with the arrival of two more members of the tribe who had come to join us for the day.  We rode out of 4th of July and headed south through a saddle and descended by Washington Lake.  We then headed east and climbed over into Chamberlain basin and the base of Castle Peak.  From there, we climbed over the southeast shoulder of Castle Peak and dropped in on a nearly 5,000 ft. descent down the Little Boulder Creek drainage to our rig.

The ride was one of the highlights of the year for me.  I go to the White Clouds every chance I get and have ridden most of the trails there in various configurations.  To ride most of my favorites in a two day period with good friends just added to my connection with the area.  As a mountain biker, I hope we never lose access to the beauty, challenge, and inspiration that the White Clouds have to offer.

Panorama pic from the ridge above Chamberlain basin

Up close & personal with Castle Peak


~ by ketchumgreg on October 2, 2011.

2 Responses to “White Clouds”

  1. Where does one find good maps and information on trails/routes in the White Clouds Mtns?

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