“A long, strenuous loop that connects primitive dirt roads with backcountry singletrack in a wilderness setting.”
Despite this ride consisting mostly of dirt roads, this is decidedly a mountain bike ride. The terrain is mountainous, and the roads can be surprisingly difficult due to rockiness and general lack of maintenance. Highlights include solitude, grand views of the Sawtooth Range, copious wildflowers, and a screamer of a singletrack descent. If you've got the fitness to climb 8,000 feet in a day, this ride is worth checking out.
Need to Know
Way remote, and far from help. Plan accordingly.
Park where FSR 384 and 312 meet. Start riding up FSR 312, which follows a creek up to a ridge top. From this first "summit," you'll buzz your way over to the Crooked River Valley, still on 312. Keep climbing until you reach a high ridge, at which point you are rewarded with excellent views of mountains in all directions, including the crown jewel of Idaho, the Sawtooth Range.
Once on the ridge top, FSR 312 turns into a steep, rocky descent to the North Fork of the Boise River. This section is some of the rockiest "road" I've ever encountered, anywhere. Don't be surprised to have to walk a section or two if the road is in rough shape.
Continue downstream along the river, still on 312, past Graham, to Johnson CG, where the road ends. At this point, you'll start up the Horse Heaven Trail
. This trail starts as gently climbing singletrack, and gets steeper and steeper as you approach the pass on the ridge high above the river. Expect to push your bike here and there.
Upon reaching the Horse Heaven Pass, you'll begin descending westward. At first, the descent is steep and rocky, but it quickly gives way to smooth and fast singletrack, which flows at a very high rate of speed down to FSR 327.
At this point, you'll cruise down 327, turn left at the North Fork of the Boise to stay on 327, and turn right on 384 to return to your car. You're sure to enjoy the final climb back up from the river.
The best part of this ride is from the high point on 312 to the end of Horse Heaven Trail
, so if you've got a shuttle buddy, all the better!