MTB Project Logo

black Big Smoky Trail

  4.5 ( 2 ) Favorite


18.4 mile 29.6 kilometer point to point
100% Singletrack


Ascent: 234' 71 m
Descent: -2,936' -895 m
High: 8,300' 2,530 m
Low: 5,590' 1,704 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 13% (8°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Chris Wandervans

A big backcountry ride with amazing views and singletrack.

Chris Wandervans

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

The pass is snow bound until July and trees are usually cut out by mid-July.


The Big Smokey trail provides unmatched solitude as it winds through a remote drainage in the high mountain meadows of the Smokey Mountains. Riders should be prepared since there is no easy way out once you have dropped in.

Need to Know

This ride can be setup using a shuttle service out of Sun Valley or, plan on riding a large loop of around 60 miles. It's also possible to turn it into an awesome weekend ride. The weekend ride option is best done by riding to Smiley Creek lodge from Smokey Junction using the South Fork of the Boise road and going up Emma or Vienna Creeks. Expect hike-a-bike on the weekend option.


Big Smokey starts off the Mule Creek Trail at the pass. At the pass you'll enter an expansive meadow and pass the headwaters of mighty Salmon River! From this point, the trail is all very narrow singletrack. Riders will need to understand that there are no bail out options.

After the meadow, the trail descend steeply through some switchbacks and over rough rocks. There will be some occasional muddy areas, so watch out for those since they tend to hide in the grass. The trail then mellows out and you'll begin a series of stream crossings. Do not attempt to ride these crossings. From here, the trail alternates from short ups and downs to buff singletrack followed by rocky sections and talus. A number of trails connect with Big Smokey, so it's easy to track your progress. After about 6 miles, the trail will cross to the west side of the river and remain on that side of the river for the remaining ride.

Signage is great along the trail and you'll have no problem navigating. Towards the end of the trail there is signage that mentions a low and high trail. Unless you are doing this ride in late fall, you'll want to take the high trail. The river can be very dangerous otherwise.

Towards the end of the trail there is a hotsprings for those interested in a soak.

History & Background

This is a historical motorcycle trail and they pay for maintenance, so please respect them if you see them on the trail!


Rate This Featured Ride

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Ride

Check In


Jun 4, 2017
Melanie Yakemovic
Hiked in from the south to get to Skillern Hot Springs, but the river was so high we couldn't cross. 3mi

Stewarded By

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes


  4.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Idaho


73 Views Last Month
2,734 Since Jul 16, 2014
Difficult Difficult



MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter