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Cow Creek Loop

Difficult

Trail

23.6 mile 37.9 kilometer loop
70% Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,901' 579 m
Descent: -1,917' -584 m
High: 5,144' 1,568 m
Low: 3,644' 1,111 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Trail shared by Wayne Ruemmele

A super fun and amazingly flowy singletrack trail in the remote backcountry.

Wayne Ruemmele

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Overview

What makes this one special? Probably the amazingly flowy singletrack that is impossibly remote. No one expects a buffed trail in the middle of nowhere.

Need to Know

Bring absolutely everything you'll need with you! Double the water. This is a remote backcountry trail with no support and some significant exposure and fall potential in spots along Fitsum Creek. There's a derailleur devouring rock on Fitsum Creek Trail. This trail is occasionally maintained by the USFS, CIMBA, Backcountry Horsemen, and the local moto club, CITRA. If you see motos on the trail, don't give them the stink-eye, more than likely they just cut out a bunch of deadfall.

Description

This remote loop takes a bit of effort to get to, but is well worth it. It's rideable quite early in the spring, but you'll have to access it from Warm Lake Rd near Cascade. Once Lick Creek Summit is passable, you'll have an hour drive from McCall. Begin at Ponderosa Campground.

Leaving the CG, turn left (uphill) and ride approximately one mile up the road to the bridge which crosses Lick Creek (pronounced Crick so it rhymes BTW). Continue along the dirt road to a few parking spots and the beginning of the Cow Creek singletrack at approximately three miles from the start.

The trail climbs and twists and tops out at about seven miles and then begins a great roller coaster descent to the crossing of North Fork Fitsum Creek onto Fitsum Creek Trail.

Crossing the creek, the trail begins climbing again for a mile. Again the trail tops out and this time the descent continues down the South Fork of Fitsum Creek all the way to Water Stop and the confluence with South Fork of the Salmon River. From Water Stop, continue riding up the South Fork Road to Lick Creek Road and back to your starting point at Ponderosa CG. If you plan ahead, it's easy to set up a shuttle by leaving a vehicle at Water Stop.

History & Background

Take a minute to walk along the marked path at Water Stop to see the restored Chinese miner pit cabins that were once pretty common along the South Fork of the Salmon.

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Aug 12, 2019
Ang Schmidt
Cow creek-unexpected fun and flowy. Fitsum Creek was loose and narrow with about 6 trees over the trail. Fun ride! Go early in the day-heats up quick! 23.2mi

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 4 votes

#3045

Overall
  3.3 from 4 votes
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Ride Rankings

#121

in Idaho

#3,045

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751 Since Jun 4, 2018
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Photos

Lots of deadfall in the old burn.
Jun 5, 2018 near McCall, ID
Yes, the trail drops into the creek during spring.
Jun 5, 2018 near McCall, ID
This trail has lots of flow and speed for being so remote. Lots of fun.
May 31, 2018 near McCall, ID
Looking back up the trail while descending along Fitsum Creek
Jun 5, 2018 near McCall, ID

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