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West Warrior Trail

Extremely Difficult

Trail

8.8 mile 14.1 kilometer point to point
Singletrack
Extremely Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,030' 619 m
Descent: -3,723' -1,135 m
High: 8,703' 2,653 m
Low: 5,755' 1,754 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Map Key

Trail shared by Trevor.

A lightly-used backcountry singletrack on an alpine ridge with a gnarly, steep descent into Black Warrior Creek.

Trevor.

Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed

Features Views

Snowed in approximately November to June.

Need to Know

Very remote, difficult, and at times hazardous trail. Drops you into Black Warrior Trail, which crosses the creek many times. Plan on soaking your shoes as you exit via Black Warrior Trail.

Description

The West Warrior Trail is a spectacular trail in one of the wildest settings one can bike in Idaho, and maybe anywhere. If difficult riding on a high alpine ridge is your cup of tea, this trail should be on your bucket list. That said, this trail is to be taken very seriously. It was not built with mountain biking in mind and will challenge even the best of riders. Due to the loose and rocky nature of this trail, I strongly recommend heavy duty tires with lots of traction.

DO NOT attempt this trail east to west. It'd be absolutely miserable.

To access the west end of this trail, you can climb up Horse Heaven Trail to its high point from either direction. Starting from this saddle, climb/push up to the summit of Swanholm Peak. This involves some serious hike-a-bike but is doable and worth the effort. Alternatively, if you can arrange a shuttle, a 4WD vehicle can drive you to the summit of Swanholm Peak, circumventing some 3,000 feet of steep climbing.

From Swanholm Peak, you'll ride along the ridge to your west. It's smooth and flowing at times, and barely rideable at others. As you proceed along the ridge, you'll pass several lakes to your right, which make for a great lunch spot or campsite. Eventually, you'll hit an intersection with the Lodgepole Trail, which I do not recommend. This intersection marks the start of the very sustained steep descent into Black Warrior Creek. Not a bad idea to double-check your bike and secure any load you're carrying, because this next section is rowdy.

The descent to Black Warrior Creek starts gentle and flowing, but quickly develops quite the downward slope. Think, "I can't stop" steep at times. Straight down a steep ridge with lots of loose scree, then into ass-puckering exposed switchbacks, and finishing off with forest singletrack. I don't think I've ever worked brakes as hard as I did on this one. This section is legitimately hazardous, and should only be attempted by riders who are very solid when things get spicy. There are places where crashing would be disastrous, especially considering the extremely remote location.

Don't think your ride is over once you're down off the mountains, though. You've still got the Black Warrior Trail left, which has dozens of creek crossings that WILL soak your feet. You'll want to take the Eagle Creek Trail to escape to the road. Despite having a steep climb out, it's far less work than continuing to the Black Warrior Trailhead.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible

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Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2177

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#93

in Idaho

#2,177

Overall
10 Views Last Month
76 Since Oct 27, 2018
Extremely Difficult

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Photos

Swanholm Peak
Sep 6, 2019 near Idaho City, ID
West Warrior Peak
Sep 6, 2019 near Idaho City, ID
Looking down start of the mind blowing descent into Black Warrior Creek.
Oct 27, 2018 near Idaho City, ID
If this doesn't look fun to you, don't ride this trail!
Sep 10, 2019 near Idaho City, ID

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