This ride is the the third segment of the Idaho Trail. The Idaho Trail is a mountain bike friendly trail that extends from the Nevada border to Canada. It is a long-distance bike-packing or bike-supported trail. Each of the segments have been divided into what can be accomplished by an average rider in one day of riding. Since conditions can vary, please plan for possible delays. Where possible, the Idaho Trail follows the Idaho Centennial Trail (ICT), since the ICT was intended as a hiking trail there are deviations for Wilderness Areas and for more mountain bike friendly routes.
There is ample water along the route and camping is allowed anywhere. The ride ends at a bridge on the South Fork of the Boise. From here, there is a campground just up Willow Creek and a couple miles up the road you'll find the Baumgartner Hot Springs. There are no services nearby. Also all the mountain segments when done as bike-packs should be done with the lightest gear possible that does not bog the bike down in technical sections, so pack light and travel fast.
The third segment of the Idaho Trail follows the Idaho Centennial Trail (ICT). This segment has a little bit of doubletrack in the beginning followed by singletrack. On this third segment, simply follow the ICT trail markers and use the GPS route to find your way. The route is easy to follow especially if you have downloaded this route to your phone for easy reference. Most of the route does not have cell service so be aware of that fact before setting out.
From a mountain bikers perspective, the third segment is best done from late June through late October. Unlike the first two segments, you'll need to worry about downed trees and snow, hence the recommendation to not start until late June.
The third segment starts at the Hunter Creek transfer camp with a downhill on the Hunter Creek Connector
. You'll then hit the North Fork Lime Creek Trail
and need to cross the river. This first crossing can be high early in the season. Once across the river, you'll stay right and climb a ridge before hitting another crossing. The next crossing is challenging since a beaver has been busy at work. Please scout this crossing out since it may be deep in sections.
Once across, you'll continue to stay right and begin the climb up the North Fork of Lime Creek. This trail has many crossings and some short and quick ups. The grade is mellow, though, until the very end and then you might have a little pushing.
Once at the top, you'll bear right onto the Virginia Gulch Trail #037
. The first mile of this trail is actually an ATV-width trail, but then the remaining trail is singletrack. The ATV portion is a descent down a steep ridge line into a drainage.
Once in the drainage, you'll cross a road. From this point the trail is singletrack and will climb at a mellow pace back up to the ridge line. Then the trail will meander along the ridge for a while, and you'll have some amazing views. You'll then cross a second road and continue along a mellow course.
Once you make the third road crossing, the trail character will change dramatically. You'll be dumped onto a rugged and steep trail with some tight switchbacks as you descend Virginia Creek. This section of trail is very rowdy and will test your bike handling skills for sure. As the valley widens, you'll finish at a nice bridge and the South Fork of the Boise.
The Idaho Trail was created to provide mountain bikers with a long distance trail option similar to the Idaho Centennial Trail.