“A classic Idaho backcountry shuttle ride from open ridgetops down to the mighty Salmon River.”
— David Lingle
This route frequently has deadfall across the trail. Local riders try to keep it clear but expect to see trees down anywhere along the wooded parts of the route.
Twelvemile to Lime Creek is a shuttle ride with two big descents connected by some burly cross country.
After a gentle three-mile warmup cruise, this ride climbs to the top of the Lemhi Mountains and a great viewpoint. From there, the ride drops for Salmon-style meadow surfing and remote creek-side cruising. Another hefty climb leaves the serene canyon for a fast desert-like drop to the Salmon River.
Need to Know
The ride starts from the top of Twelvemile Creek Road. This Forest Road leaves US-93 12 miles south of Salmon and it is another ~9 miles up to the end of the road. High clearance vehicle suggested as there are frequent large rocks on the road.
Leave a shuttle vehicle at the Lime Creek Trailhead another 8 miles past the Twelvemile Road, 20 miles from Salmon. This trailhead sits on the edge of US-93.
From the top of the Twelvemile Road, follow Porcupine Spring #6059
for about 3.5 miles. This is an old decommissioned forest road and is a good warmup. Look for a stone cairn marking the junction with Twelvemile Meadow Trail #101
Here, you climb straight up. Expect several crawling granny-gear climbs and hike-a-bikes as the trail gains 1000' in less than 1.5 miles. The trail is generally easy to follow as backcountry trails go, but stay alert.
Take a breather at the top at the skull capped post to soak in the view of Poison and Watson Peaks to the south. The trail continues through the gate in the fence just beyond the top. Once through the gate, look to the right for a faint trail contouring across the open sage meadow. Follow this to a short wooded section and beyond to a boggy, wet area and a stock water trough at the head of another large meadow.
The trail disappears at the water trough, head down the trail-less meadow and follow open areas to the right of the crest of the meadow's highpoint. Watch for large rocks hidden by the vegetation and avoid the thick sage by linking the grassy areas together.
As you near the bottom of the meadow, a trail appears and switchbacks steeply around a big tree, then crosses a small stream to enter the woods. Use the MTB Project mobile app
to find your way if you think you are lost.
The trail now gets more defined and drops through the woods to parallel Meadow Creek. There are some short climbs and a couple of stream crossings but the trail is generally fast and downhill with some loose side-hilling.
The lower end of Twelvemile Meadow Trail #101
terminates at a crossing of Warm Springs Creek. Lime Creek Trail #100
is just beyond the creek, hang a right and follow the trail as it parallels the creek on the left hand side for just about a mile. This section is characterized by short, wooded groves and grassy, open meadows.
The trail continues on the right side of the creek briefly after a rideable crossing before starting to climb. The trail becomes dry and gravelly and gets very steep. It is possible to ride this climb but you'll need skills, determination, and some luck. For most, it is a hike-a-bike up the the saddle.
Cross the fence at the top of the climb and the start of over 2700' of continuous downhill to the Salmon River below. The trail drops very steeply through several switchbacks and challenging rocky spots. Then you emerge from the woods on a broad ridge and follow it through "baby head" rocks and dry sage.
The trail cuts right, leaving the crest, and continues down through more rough and rocky and more dry and smooth. After another saddle, the river comes into view and drops through a few open switchbacks. Continue through another rocky section and come to the end of the trail at the trailhead.
History & Background
Lime is used in brick construction as an ingredient in mortar. It is readily made by heating limestone. The remains of an early lime kiln that supplied lime to the town of Salmon is near the top of Lime Creek Trail #100