This ride is the the 11th 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 has 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 camping all along the route. There are no supplies on this segment. It is recommended to stock up during the previous segments. 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 11th segment of the Idaho Trail deviates from the ICT. The ICT climbs up the Krassel Knob
Trail and then descends to the Six Mile Ridge (North Segment)
. This means you basically go up a lot of switchbacks and then back down to the Fitsum Creek Trail
. Instead the Idaho Trail's route is to ride north on FS674 to the Fitsum Creek Trail
. This trail is a lot more gradual as it climbs away from the South Fork of the Salmon River.
The Fitsum Creek Trail
is a very pleasant climb and a great intermediate ride in the Krassel Ranger District. The trail goes through a couple of old burn areas, and also cuts through some thick tree cover. Your feet will likely stay dry since the creek is by no means a raging torrent. At the beginning of the ride, you'll follow along the South Fork of the Salmon River; luckily you don't need to cross this massive river. A tiny parking area is right next to the bridge over the South Fork of the Salmon. The trail is a bit narrow right near the Salmon River in spots, but it gets better once you turn up the creek. The bottom part of the trail will be a little warm on a hot day since the trees are sparse. Once you get close to Six Mile Ridge North Segment, the trail moves into some thick tree cover and stays shaded until the trail terminates. At the end of the Fitsum Creek Trail
, you'll come to the Cow Creek
Trail manages to work its way across the forest in all the right places to keep this trail moderate and rideable by most intermediate riders. The Cow Creek
Trail does lots of twist and turns as it follows the contours above and around the creek. A lot of this trail is built on some old logging road, unlike a lot of the other trails that were just pioneered up the side of the mountain in search of mines. You'll definitely see some of the old road cuts as you ride this trail. It appears the area was logged in the 50s or 60s, and the road to trail conversion has fully taken since then. The trail is definitely a singletrack.
There are some open faces along the way, but most of the time you'll find some nice shade. You also don't have to worry about too many rocks or exposure. At the end of Cow Creek
Trail you'll descend to the Lick Creek Rd. Now take a left and climb for a ways on the Lick Creek Rd. You'll ride almost to the summit and then turn right onto the Twenty Mile Trail
. Now you'll have some steeper climbing as you pass by Duck Lake and then finish out the climbing for the day as you cross over the pass.
From there, you'll have a nice long a ripping downhill down Twenty Mile Trail
. Much of the area around the Twenty Mile Trail
burned in the Blackwell and Corral wildfires of 1994 and the vegetation is regenerating nicely.
After a great downhill you'll come out at Upper Payette Lake. There is camping at the lake and plenty of water.
The Idaho Trail was created to provide mountain bikers with a long distance trail option similar to the Idaho Centennial Trail.