French Pass Trail
takes you up an amazing valley and down the other side and connects to a gravel road. Parts of the climb are steep but the views are worth it.
Climbing up Little French
, you pass an old mining area and several abandoned cabins. On the north side of the flume, you cruise on some beautiful loam through the trees. Headed southeast on the Great Flume
trail it transitions between scree and loam on a relatively mellow trail that has views of the surrounding mountains.
Once that is done, getting up to Georgia Pass can be difficult and you have to watch for off-highway vehicles. Coming down to the French Pass Trail
on County Road 54
lets you build up some speed, watch for bigger rocks and cars on the weekends.
This trail is not recommended for winter use due to avalanche potential.
Park at the French Pass Trailhead which also has some dispersed camping available. The climb up the doubletrack has some small technical sections, but is very doable. Just before crossing the creek, it transitions to singletrack and the climb gets steeper. Keep in mind you are approaching 12,000 feet of elevation at the pass, there is snow/ice year-round.
At the top of French Pass, you continue down and cross several small streams, previous avalanches have hit this area so there are a lot of fallen trees towards the start of the road, however, the trail is still clear. Continue down the gravel road and be sure to watch for the right turn for Little French
trail which is not well marked. If you ride past it, you'll see a lot of equipment on either side of the road, turn around. Climb up the doubletrack for about one mile and then turn left to cross the stream, the trail to the right continues to an old mine.
At the end of Little French
, go right on American Gulch Road
and take a right at the first hairpin turn to pick up Great Flume
. Once you reach the end of this section, you'll be on South Fork Swan Road
which is the OHV use road. Turn right and start the climb, this ends at Georgia Pass. Ride through the open space at the top and take a right onto the improved dirt road that starts to descend fairly quickly. This road will take you all the way back down to the French Pass Trailhead.