“A great loop near Clarkia, ID, a forest road climb with a nice singletrack descent.”
— Kyle F
The trails around the Grandmother Mountain area are remote and offer a great backcountry cycling experience. This loop could easily be shuttled if you're into that sort of thing, but the climb up to Freezeout Ridge/Marks Butte is not too bad. Once the road climb is finished, you'll begin the singletrack traverse below Marks Butte on a beautiful sub-alpine ridgeline.
In typical ridgeline fashion, the trail goes up and down (though, mostly down) to the junction with Gold Center Creek - Trail #251
. You owe it to yourself to continue along the ridge on a rougher and steeper section of 275 to the summit of Grandmother Mountain where a great 360 degree view awaits you for all your hard work. It will become hike-a-bike for most people up to the summit. Take it all in, have a snack, and enjoy a fun technical descent back to the junction with Gold Center Creek - Trail #251
From the junction, the trail has a few places that are moderately rough and technical, but as you descend from the alpine into the cedar covered forest below, the trail becomes more fast and flowy. The trail then begins to gradually widen towards the bottom where it eventually links up with Gold Center Creek with huge cedars all around.
Need to Know
These are multi-use trails and are open to motorcycles. Be courteous and follow IMBA guidelines. These trails usually don't become rideable until mid to late June because of snow. Be prepared for backcountry riding.
IMPORTANT: Despite what the GPS track of our day out there says, I would recommend starting at the bottom of Gold Center Creek - Trail #251
and riding the short flat road (3319) section to Rd. 301 and begin the climb that way!
Driving from Clarkia, follow Forest Road 301 to Forest Road 3319. The trailhead is at the end of the road 3319. Start riding back out on FR 3319, towards the junction with 301. Once back at 301, approx. 2 miles, go left onto 301 and begin the 7.7 climb on Rd. 301 "Round Top-Freezeout Road". There are a few junctions on the climb, most with unmarked logging roads. Stay on 301 all the way up, it will look like the obvious choice. At approx. mile 4.3 you'll meet a junction with road 475, stay on 301 it as it becomes dirt. At approx. mile 7.5 look to your left for a rocky out crop with a wonderful view of the drainage you'll soon be going down and take solace in knowing you are only .2 miles from the trailhead Marble Divide Trail #275
. It will be on the left.
Begin the singletrack traverse on Marble Divide Trail #275
. In just over a mile you'll reach the junction with Gold Center Creek - Trail #251
, which will be the trail you descend back down. Continue on 275 and approx. 3/4 of a mile you'll meet another junction (signed). Stay on 275, which begins to climb steeply towards Grandmother Mountain. In approx. another 3/4 mile you'll meet the summit spur for Grandmother Mountain. 275 will begin to go down from here towards the saddle with Grandfather Mountain. Take the spur up, hike-a-bike, or leave your bike and enjoy the views up top. From Grandmother Mountain, head back to the first junction with Gold Center Creek - Trail #251
and enjoy a fun descent back down to the start of the ride.