This ride is the the tenth 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.
Need to Know
There is ample camping all along the route. There are no supplies on this segment. It is recommended to stock up during the previous segment. 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 tenth segment of the Idaho Trail puts you back on the Idaho Centennial Trail (ICT) so you can use the markers again. This segment has a lot of downhill and rewards you after some tough days around Stanley. You'll definitely have a lot of climbing on this segment, but the majority of the climbing is on forest service roads so it will go by faster.
You'll start on the Burnt Log
Trail. This is a nice, remote experience since it traverses near the boundary with the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The trail traverses above the creek over its whole length and does get faint in sections. Early season, there can be a lot of downfall, but it usually gets cleared once a year. At the end of the trail, you'll find yourself crossing Johnson Creek, which can be deep, so beware if you ride this trail in the early summer.
After crossing Johnson Creek, you'll take a left on Johnson Creek Rd (FS413) and ride down the creek a little ways before turning right onto FS410 and climb on the road to the Canton Lake Trail. Stay on the main road and avoid any side roads. At the top, the road ends and the Canton Lake Trail begins.
The first nine miles of the Canton Lake Trail is a non-motorized route and the last three miles are open to motorcycles so this means that the first nine miles are on a three-year rotation for trail clearing and the last three miles are cleared about once a year. The trail conditions are a good thing to keep in mind when riding this trail.
The first 3/4 of a mile of trail sees the most traffic since it goes to Rainbow Lake. The lake is certainly worth the short detour for fishing or sightseeing. Once beyond the lake, you'll continue a moderate ascent to the pass overlooking the lake. Once over the pass, you'll descend into a creek bottom and into a number of meadows. Beware, as the trail can be faint in the meadows depending on the time of the year. The trail remains gradual with a short up to a large meadow before descending to Canton Lake.
Once at the lake, take in the remote valley before picking your way through the meadows to where the trail becomes a motorcycle trail. From this point, the tread will see more use again as you ascend some switchbacks as you leave the valley with Canton Lake. At the end of the Canton Lake Trail, you'll intersect the Indian Ridge
The Indian Ridge
Trail is in the middle of nowhere and far from any help so make sure you are prepared. From the start of this trail, you'll have some moderate climbing to Indian Peak. The grade is mellow and the tread is in good condition. You'll then summit and start your descent. The descent has a couple short and steep ups that you'll have to manage and might require a little pushing, but you are on a general downward trend so the going is fairly fast.
Once you hit mile 10, the trail will start dropping a lot steeper, and you'll rapidly ride toward the river. At about mile 11.5, you'll enter into a series of switchbacks. The corners on these will be tight, so watch your speed and expect some of them to be loose. The trail will end and you'll be at the Krassel Guard Station. The guard station is also the end of this segment.
History & Background
The Idaho Trail was created to provide mountain bikers with a long distance trail option similar to the Idaho Centennial Trail.