This is a large backcountry loop that takes you from high desert into high alpine. The singletrack is very primitive in spots and makes for a great experience.
This ride is not passable until early July due to snow and downfall. Bring a water filter since you'll surely run out of water and there are ample places to filter water.
This ride begins off the East Fork of the Salmon River Rd, but can also be accessed from the Pole Creek Rd. outside of the Stanley area. If you need to shorten this ride you can bypass some of Germania Creek Trail
by using the bypass trail call the Bowery
Trail it is near the Guard Station. The Bowery
Trail bypass involves extensive hiking, so this route is preferable for those who prefer riding over hiking. There is also the option of using the Galena Gulch
Trail to bypass the Pole Creek road section.
The preferred route starts by climbing up Germania Creek which takes you through the heart of the White Clouds and takes you from a high desert into the alpine zone. Crossing the creek can always be an issue during high water so always exercise care.
There are a number of creek crossings without a bridge, so you might as well get your feet wet. There are some technical sections right along the river so remember to ride within your ability and walk when in doubt. Stop and admire the numerable meadows along the way and keep an eye out for wildlife.
At the end of Germania Creek Trail
, you'll come to the Pole Creek Rd. and will have some road climbing. Once you top out on the road, you'll descend Pole Creek Rd. When the road changes from a narrow 4WD road to a crushed gravel road, you'll make a left on a short spur road to the Grand Prize
trailhead. Once on the Grand Prize
trail youll begin by crossing Pole Creek and start following an old mining road, take a left at the first fork. Theres no sign, so pay close attention.
Two miles later, there will be a trail sign on a tree; take a right when you reach it.
At 3 miles, you'll reach the pass and an expansive meadow at an elevation of 9,300 ft. From here, the descent is open and flowy with some technical sections thrown in along the way to keep you on your toes. The tread is very narrow in spots so keep you bike on track to preserve this amazing trail. Lots of big old trees near the pass open up into a wide sagebrush valley. Near the end of the ride, you'll come to a major river crossing. During high water you can detour to the left here on a trail that will lead you to the Bowery Guard Station and a nice bridge. When the water is low, simply continue on the main trail to the Guard Station.
Near the guard station, there is a hot spring that involves a nice tub that you fill with a hose. This is worth a stop to at least check out if you are into soaking.
Continue on the East Fork Rd. to finish up the ride.