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“Surrender to a big hike-a-bike effort and be rewarded with a wild Lemhi ride!”
— Dean Lords
Start with a mellow and scenic romp up Rocky Canyon then a loooong steep hike-a-bike to reach the shoulder of Rust Peak. South Fork Meadow Canyon is a steep and technical descent with challenging and chunky terrain that just might break your bike.
Start near the mouth of Meadow Canyon or at the Rocky Canyon trailhead, both are about the same driving effort.
Meander through Rocky Canyon and continue up the right fork to an unmarked and difficult to locate trail junction. A steep trail connecting the right fork to the head of South Fork Meadow Canyon leads strait up to the southwest shoulder of Rust Peak providing a little over 1,000' of hike-a-bike in one mile. This trail basically starts in a shallow drainage and is easy to follow to the top of the pass.
From the top of the pass, the trail into South Fork Meadow Canyon is very faint and hard to find; basically travel strait down into the basin below staying just to the right of the bottom of the drainage. Once you enter the trees, the trail appears, but if you miss it, which it's easy to do, you'll turn up the adventure knob from 10 to 11. It's worth some pre-trip map work and then taking the time to make sure you're actually on the trail once you're below the pass.
Once on the trail, it drops steeply over rocks and roots, twisting and turning downward with occasional bits of traversing. As of 2017 there were a handful of downed trees in the upper canyon and required a bit of scouting to stay on the actual trail and not one of the many game trails.
After reaching the canyon floor, the grade backs off but maintains a rocky and technical nature until the bitter end. South Fork Meadow Canyon is one wild and mean ride through a spectacular setting!