White Clouds - Bike Camping / Access Questions
So we have a group, never explored the White Clouds, figure the time is now. Intermediate riders, varying levels of equipment, have a couple/few days, interested in camping. Semi-local (TF) with possible base in Ketchum. Have the AdventureMaps and the Idaho Hot Springs/Singletrack option maps. I've read a lot of the trail/route write-ups on this forum and elsewhere but still have questions about what we want to do.
Trying to use bike camping as a way to access the back side (East Fork) areas that would normally require a ton of driving. Goals are: minimize driving, eliminate shuttles, pack into a camp on bikes, then ride daytrip(s) from camp unloaded.
Some participants want to transport gear in a BOB trailer. So essentially what I am asking what is the easiest way to get from Hwy 75 to the backside? Park at Grand Prize TH and ride down West Fork of East Fork? Drive up further to Germania Creek TH? Any chance of riding Gladiator Creek Trail over from Galena Lodge? My guess is no since it is like 2000' in 2 miles. Any other ideas? Also, suggestions of nice places to camp? Thanks.
The Sawtooths are a pretty small range as are the Whiteclouds, who are smaller yet. Biking in and camping with expectations of rideing out of your camp for day rides may not be practical.
I'd suggest that if you want to get to the East Fork, I'd drive and hang out up it for my riding.
The Frog Leg Loop being discussed on this forum right now is a good 22 mile loop. Herd creek on the north side of the Eastfork has potential as does the headwaters.
Another area is the headwater tributaries of the Salmon river: Smiley crk, Alturaus crk, the headwaters itself where there is an old mining road over the top and down the other side. Lots of backcountry moto trails in the Smokies that see little traffic.
And Fourth of July has short and long day rides as does Grand Prize and Germania. $0.02
White Clouds - Heart of Idaho
there was an article in bike mag last summer, that actually talks about what you are wanting to do.
You should go check out the thread in the bikepacking forum for some information also.
Going to Bowery Guard Station from Gladiator trailhead is the easiest route. I have suggested going from Gladiator to Bowery then Bowery to Livingston Mill and into Frog Lake and then taking the Castle Divide back to the Three Cabins trailhead. This is doable with BOB trailers just pack light.
Beware though with BOB trailers or any bikepacking gear these trails become immensely harder.
What did you end up doing for your trip? Did you end up bikepacking in, or just doing day trips? Regardless, it'd be nice to hear (and see!) how your trip went. Photos would be best!
Yes, so we actually did a couple trips.
Originally Posted by dauwalt
First, to answer my own original question (above), a buddy and I did a bikepacking S24O. We drove in Pole Creek Rd and parked at the Grand Prize trailhead on a Saturday evening. Rode up and over Trail 112 and down to Bowery, arriving at nightfall. The next morning, after a soak in the hot tub, we went up the East Fork road to Germania Creek (trail 111) and rode up it back to Pole Creek Rd. then down to the Grand Prize trailhead. Made it to the pickup just in time to scoot back to town for the 6:30 summer symphony.
We were on a Spearfish and an Epic with some Revelate gear and a backpack. We were loaded fairly light (no tent or cooking stuff). This trip was very do-able in this configuration. However, my opinion is that it would be extremely difficult with a BOB. The trails are just too technical and there are too many steep spots for it to be enjoyable at all. The Grand Prize trail was fun for us (up and down) but the Germania trail was a real pain for me- tons of hike-a-bike at my fitness and skill level.
Anyway, the long story short is that we abandoned the idea of riding over to the backside heavily loaded. I would not recommend riding any of these trails with traditional touring gear or any kind of trailer.
So instead, we and the other friends (who have the BOB) decided to go the more traditional route and drove in Hwy 75 to the East Fork Rd, car camped at Boulder Transfer camp and rode the Frog Loop (Big Boulder -> Little Boulder) unloaded. This was great fun and I highly recommend it. Despite the drive, car camping was a good idea because we could have coolers of good food and beverages and all that. Not to mention stuff to keep us dry. We got rained/snowed on (yes, in the middle of August) and it was super nice to just hop in the pickup and go down to Bowery for a warm soak.
Photos requested, photos delivered. Here are some from the bikepacking overnight:
It was pretty.
Big country, huh?
It is steeper than it looks, trust me.
One of MANY water crossings
And here are a few from the Frog/Boulder trip:
Big Boulder is a road at first.
Then a nice trail.
Livingston Mine area.
Looking down on Frog Lake
Made it to Frog Lake. Not so cold anymore.
The ride out:
It was a little muddy
Bike wash back at camp
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