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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NCW
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    583

    Looking for MTB Suggestions from Lolo to Salmon

    The wife and I are heading to visit family in SE Idaho for July 4th. We're thinking of traveling via Missoula down to Salmon then to Idaho Falls for the largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi™. Looking at mtbproject, there appear to be plenty of options along this stretch.

    As for what we're looking for -- my wife is relatively new to mountain biking, she's a strong climber, but I don't want to scare her too bad on the descents.

    It looks like many of these rides require long sections of pavement to make a loop or are out and back. Any good rides with shuttle service in the area?

    We'll have the camper so any suggestions for camping along the way would be appreciated as well.

    Also, hot springs?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    18,506
    trailforks has some good suggestions too?

    Email me at dave@fatskideals.com for boot fitting questions,
    read where I'm skiing at http://www.fatskideals.com/blog.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Hugh's Mom's House
    Posts
    11,137
    I am not aware of any shuttle services in the area. One ride that would only have a little pavement would be Mill Creek, which is just a few minutes from Lolo. Without a shuttle, you'd have a decently long gravel climb but plenty of people do it. You could continue up to Carlton Ridge to put together a 5000' descent if you wanted. Otherwise, with just Mill Creek, it's about 2500' (with a shuttle, you can turn 2500' of climbing into a 5000' descent).

    Down by Lost Trail, you can do the Warm Springs Ridge rides as loops. You could climb Porcupine then ride the ridge out to Warm Springs Ridge proper, or do an out and back on Porcupine. Neither is a technical descent at all.

    Riding around Lake Como south of Hamilton isn't a bad way to spend an hour and half or so. The south side is rocky and interesting and the north side is pretty smooth. There is a campground there and a big lake (obviously) if it's hot.

    Bitterroot Brewing in Hamilton has good beer and great food.

    It seems there are tons of rides around Salmon but I haven't done any of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NCW
    Posts
    583
    Good info, thank you Root.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    west tetons
    Posts
    1,111
    For the Warm Springs Ridge ride, park the camper up at the top of the pass at the ski area or the rest stop, then do the ride. You'll come out right on the highway after riding maybe a mile or two on the side road (see trailforks). None of it is too technical or scary at all- amazing backcountry singletrack.

    Then one person can hitch back up to grab the rig while the other one hunkers down with the bikes. This is a world-class ride and should not be missed while you are in the area.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    6,774
    Goldbug hot springs is a bit south of Salmon, and is pretty rad. Google will get you there without too much trouble. Sharkey hot springs (a bit southeast of Salmon) is more developed and somewhat less rad, but it's easier to get to than Goldbug.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NCW
    Posts
    583
    This is getting good. Mags FTW

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Hugh's Mom's House
    Posts
    11,137
    Quote Originally Posted by homemadesalsa View Post
    For the Warm Springs Ridge ride, park the camper up at the top of the pass at the ski area .... Then one person can hitch back up to grab the rig
    This is a good plan. Reasonable chance someone with a truck will take both of you and the bikes back up, too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Missoula
    Posts
    978
    The main warm springs trail comes out even closer to the highway, like 100 yards. It's a pretty nice ride, did it last fall. Thinking I should get to the shuttle fest this year to try the other routes.



    Como lake ride is pretty fun and scenic. There are some challenging rocky bits in it, water falls to look at, and the lake is nice.



    There's parking and a beach near the dam on the north side.

    There's also some stuff on the other side outside of Hamilton I'd like to try, like Palisades and Buttercup (should be straightforward to find and ride with trailforks)..

    I also have some friends who bikepacked from somewhere around Chief Joseph pass (just to the east of lost trail pass), south into ID along the continental divide. Not sure there is a decent short ride to be done out of that but I'll ask them a little more about it and see if I can get some gps tracks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NCW
    Posts
    583
    TR - We didn't get away as early as we wanted to due to work, so we only got two riding days in before we had to book it to SE Idaho for some obligatory family time.

    Our first night was spent near Hamilton, which looks super cool and I'd like to get back there to try the Brewery. As it was, we were only there for breakfast and weren't too impressed with our coffee choice. Sometimes it's prefereable to wait for the second option. We stopped at the Red Barn Bike shop south of town, they were great guys with great beta on the area. They directed us to Como as well for a warm up ride, since this would be the wife's first days on the bike this season. The owner suggested that we ride it CCW, stating that he thought it just rode best in that direction, and I think he was correct.

    Lots of runoff
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    Time for a swim.
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    After we finished up our steak tacos on the beach, we headed for Lost Trail pass before sunset. We were able to set up a fishing shuttle for our truck from the ski resort parking lot to Spring Gulch campground at the end of Warm Springs Ridge trail. This was a great service as we were able to ride straight to the truck and load the bikes and take off without waiting for a ride back to the pass. If anyone is interested in the details, pm me.

    Warm Springs trail was a great ride. The beginning was definitely an adventure once you got off the road. Very narrow trail, plenty of deadfall and pockets of snow on steep slopes that were made even more interesting by walking the bikes. Once we got past the Colter creek junction the trail was really great, with incredible views, until the less stellar, steep dry switchbacks at the end.

    If only all trees would fall this way.
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    Wildflowers were just coming on in the high meadow.
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    The middle section through the forest was super fun downhill.
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    The town of Salmon was a bit of a letdown, but the hike and soak the following day were just were worth the trip. We hit goldbug at 8am, just as all the overnight campers were heading out, and we got back to the parking lot just as all the teens and families were showing up from town.

    Scenic and perfect temps.
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    Last edited by kai_ski; 07-03-2017 at 01:46 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    208 State
    Posts
    1,649
    Nice to hear Chad took care of you guys for trail suggestions. I was going to chime in and say that Lost Trail Pass apparently also has some good riding.
    Probably next season before I get over there now due to a broken 5th metatarsal after a cased jump at the local bike park.

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