Stanley/sun valley annual bike trip, suggestions please- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Stanley/sun valley annual bike trip, suggestions please

    Hey all,
    Me and a few friends do a week long trip every year, this year is Stanley/Sun Valley!

    We basically have a full week from Saturday to Saturday, late July.

    Do we stay in Stanley the entire week, or split it up and spend half the time down in sun valley?

    We enjoy decent rides everyday, 15-25 miles, lots of chunk, climbing is fine. Sit around in the evenings with a few beers, mostly cook at a cabin, but finding a brewery one night would be cool. We will have 2 vehicles so can shuttle if needed.

    Getting ready to book a cabin and figure out what trails to ride.

    Appreciate the input!

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    This is a generalization, but it's my experience: Stanley trails tend to be more rugged/"wild" and Sun Valley tend to more buffed and flowy. If you have the time, doing the highlights in both would be great. Staying at redfish lake is fairly local in Stanley. Fisher is down the road. And the the other highlights are manageable distances.

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    This is a generalization, but it's my experience: Stanley trails tend to be more rugged/"wild" and Sun Valley tend to more buffed and flowy. If you have the time, doing the highlights in both would be great. Staying at redfish lake is fairly local in Stanley. Fisher is down the road. And the the other highlights are manageable distances.

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    You can't go wrong staying in either town. In Ketchum, you can ride to a few of the trails where as in Stanley, you may have to drive a few miles to get to the trailhead. There are more food, drink, bike shop/shopping and grocery choices in Ketchum. Stanley is more rustic but you can pretty much get everything you need from the small grocery store in town. Regardless of which town you pick, you're going to want to drive to the other town anyway to check out the trails there.

  6. #6
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    That's a tough one, but I'd probably vote split your week. Stanley is scenic as hell, Sun Valley has amenities. (You're not going to find a brewery up in Stanley). It would be a shame to have to miss either locale. And absolutely get the map that Tim linked.

    Brews: Sawtooth Brewery ? Wood River, Idaho

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    Thanks for the map link Tim, I'll grab that for sure.
    Appreciate all the other comments and input. Likely try and find a place at each for 1/2 the week.

    Either one easier/quicker to get back to Boise? I see something about a road closure on ID-21?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Either one easier/quicker to get back to Boise? I see something about a road closure on ID-21?
    It would be faster to Boise airport or downtown Boise from Ketchum... probably 30 minutes difference.

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    We'll be staying in Stanley in late June. I'll report back here after the trip. The road closure on 21 is likely due to the massive amount of snow they got up there this year. My mom and dad went on a campsite scouting drive a couple weeks ago and there was still 8 feet fo snow just outside of Stanley on both sides of the highway.

    We're planning to rent some bikes in town and do the Elk Mountain/valley loop just south of town.

  10. #10
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    Split it - make sure to ride Williams Cr/Fisher Cr. and Elk Meadows around Stanley and Adams Gulch, Greenhorn Gulch and Fox Creek near Ketchum.
    I wanna ride!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyrone.minton View Post
    We'll be staying in Stanley in late June. I'll report back here after the trip. The road closure on 21 is likely due to the massive amount of snow they got up there this year. My mom and dad went on a campsite scouting drive a couple weeks ago and there was still 8 feet fo snow just outside of Stanley on both sides of the highway.

    We're planning to rent some bikes in town and do the Elk Mountain/valley loop just south of town.
    Holy cow, hope it's gone by the end of July lol! That is nuts.

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Holy cow, hope it's gone by the end of July lol! That is nuts.
    I honestly wouldn't worry about it too much. There's usually some snow hanging around in early July up high, but the valleys clear up before then. If you want to keep an eye on things:

    Sun Valley webcams: https://www.sunvalley.com/web-cams

    Stanley webcam: Sawtooth Camera: Live webcam from Stanley, Idaho. Views of the Sawtooth Mountain Range.

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    You can see the bottoms of the trees in the redfish lake webcam. When my parents were up there a couple weeks back the snow was 2 feet up the base of the trees. It's melting off fast.

    Thanks for the tip on Fisher Loop, we may try to work that in as well. My SO is new to biking and living in florida makes getting to the mountains and being able to actually climb a grade difficult.

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    you almost have to do the fisher loop twice. Once to bomb it. way fun and fast and once to take pics, very scenic.

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    Get Both these maps. They have some of the best mtb ride suggestions for both areas. They also have an online version that is sweet (clean and easy to read and follow). As far as renting a place, I would get a place nearer to Ketchum, as there are a lot of restaurants there. If you want out in the sticks feel, rent a place near Stanley. From Ketchum, the riding in the Stanley is about 30-40 minutes. Not bad. An over the top place to stay would be the Red Fish Lake Lodge. I think they have cabins there. It's awesome! Right in the Stanley Valley

    Sun Valley Trail Map, Idaho | Adventure Maps

    Sawtooth/Whiteclouds, Idaho Trail Map & Guide | Adventure Maps

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    This is always good to check out before you ride. BCRD does a great job of updating the trail conditions whether it be for sheep migrations or problems. I lived in Ketchum for a couple of seasons. I really liked Greenhorn Gulch area and you can ride Fox Creek to Chocolate Gulch from Ketchum. Sturtevants also offers shuttles to some areas. It's also worth riding Bald Mountain and Galena Lodge, there are a lot of new MTB specific trails built at both. While I liked Fisher Creek/Williams Creek loop, I think it gets a little over hyped. Have a great trip!
    Here are links to BCRD, Sturtevants and my Pinkbike vids:

    Home - BCRD Summer TraiLink

    SVMG Trail Shuttle | Sturtevants

    https://www.pinkbike.com/u/lml427/ch...ey-Ketchum-ID/

  17. #17
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    Been riding that area for over a decade. My personal favorites are Mahoney butte and lodgepole gulch out of the greenborn trailhead, fox creek/chocolate gulch (plus a side trio over the ridge and up eves gulch to the forbidden fruit flow trail), curlys, and broadway to warm springs on Baldy as it's 10 miles of blazing fast singletrack. People do talk a lot about Fisher Creek. Zero technical to it if that matters. It's nice as it is very scenic but it also seems to attract a crowd nowdays. Someone mentioned bcrd summer trail link which is a must. The snowpack in the high country is deep this year, and that may delay cutting out the deadfall or keep some trails like Oseberg Ridge (which I've never ridden because it was snowed in, in June) closed well into summer.

  18. #18
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    Thanks all!
    Got a place booked in Ketchum for Sat-Wed (I hear of a free outdoor concert on Tuesday night?), then up in Stanley Wed-Sat.

    Now to plan some trails for the week.

  19. #19
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    The best 25 mile ride in Sun Valley IMO if you like climbing is Pioneer>Johnstone>Bear>Parker. If you are a mortal you will enter the pain cave on the climb up Bear but wholly cow the descents incredible. You can do that as a loop from town but since you have two cars you could knock off an hour by driving directly to the TH and leaving a car in Elkhorn.

    As for Stanley and a taste of the White Clouds one of the best rides that is still open since the wilderness closure is Big Boulder>L. Boulder. Again with the two cars you can avoid the climb up the dirt road to Livingstone Mill. There are hot springs to hang out in near the end of L. Boulder.

    Fisher-Williams is over-rated but definitely worth hitting. Do that in the morning and then make a loop around Redfish Lake in the afternoon. Or, if you don't mind a steep climb and a short shuttle do Boundary Creek to Casino Lakes and then over and down Williams (might have to check on this one-might cross wilderness now). Another ride that ends at a hot springs is Bull Trout Lake to Bonneville Hot Springs along the Warm Springs Trail. More down than up but a good shuttle ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The best 25 mile ride in Sun Valley IMO if you like climbing is Pioneer>Johnstone>Bear>Parker. If you are a mortal you will enter the pain cave on the climb up Bear but wholly cow the descents incredible. You can do that as a loop from town but since you have two cars you could knock off an hour by driving directly to the TH and leaving a car in Elkhorn.

    As for Stanley and a taste of the White Clouds one of the best rides that is still open since the wilderness closure is Big Boulder>L. Boulder. Again with the two cars you can avoid the climb up the dirt road to Livingstone Mill. There are hot springs to hang out in near the end of L. Boulder.

    Fisher-Williams is over-rated but definitely worth hitting. Do that in the morning and then make a loop around Redfish Lake in the afternoon. Or, if you don't mind a steep climb and a short shuttle do Boundary Creek to Casino Lakes and then over and down Williams (might have to check on this one-might cross wilderness now). Another ride that ends at a hot springs is Bull Trout Lake to Bonneville Hot Springs along the Warm Springs Trail. More down than up but a good shuttle ride.
    Second the Big Boulder/Little Boulder ride. Best "wilderness" ride left in the area. E. Fork of the Salmon is a remote and special place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by panchosdad View Post
    Second the Big Boulder/Little Boulder ride. Best "wilderness" ride left in the area. E. Fork of the Salmon is a remote and special place.
    Lots of good suggestions here. I would split the week for sure. Too many good rides in both places to choose one over the other. I love Fisher Creek -- the climb up a road is nothing special -- but the single track is as flowy, continuous and fast as anything I've ridden. When you suddenly pop out of the trees and get that big view of the Sawtooths, it pretty spectacular.

    I'm really posting here to strongly recommend Osberg Ridge if its open. Big snowpack this year and it goes up close to 10,000 feet I think. We had a big group and it took us all day to do the ride, but it is really long, challenging from a fitness perspective and super fun. Its about 24 miles if you include the connector to Adams Gulch and the ride into town from the Adams Gulch trail head. That doesn't sound like all that much, but its a handful for sure. Its a long point to point ride with incredible views.

    We took a shuttle from Sturtevants in Ketchum and rode back into town. You start with a substantial climb (especially when you're coming from sea level) and then a ridge run with lots of ups and downs and then a long and awesome descent. Plenty technical for me, but but good technical riders would probably laugh at that. But, nobody will say "its easy". We were in various stages of exhaustion afterwards, but its right up there for my best ride ever list. Brings lots of food and water and be prepared. Its high, remote and super wild.

  22. #22
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    If you like chunk and long downhills Boundary Creek to Big Casino is the ticket! 30 min sustained dh. Big Boulder ->Little Boulder is definitely worth doing as well. A bit of a drive, to get there, but well worth it.

    If you want the Fisher Creek DH (Williams) but more of a challenging ride and a non-fire road climb, do Boundary ->Martin Creek -> Warm Springs ->Williams. Big day and gets you further back!

    Enjoy, Stanley is a special place. Don't forget Red Warrior if you do SV

  23. #23
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    Unfortunately this area burned a few years ago, but the most incredible, spectacular views of the Sawtooth mountains behind Stanley are from Basin Butte Lookout, north of Stanley. The lookout sits at 8954 feet, just shy of nine thousand. Might still be snow in places this year, but nothing serious. The view is 360.

    Getting there: out highway 21 from Stanley around milepost 121 is turnoff to East fork of Valley creek. Good loop from there up East fork, north over the top, then down Prospect back to Valley creek.
    Or you can ride to the top up a service road.

    The descent used to be as good as the view, going north off the top following the ridge into the saddle where Prospect takes off. Not sure after the fire.

    Since it is all motorcycle trail there is a good chance it's been cleared.
    One should ask at the bike shop in Stanley about trail info on this area.

    Little Basin creek trail is also in this area and was in the fire. Another great loop ride.
    Beyond Basin Butte are some big rides down upper Basin creek, west fork of Jordan creek, and Lightning/west fork Jordan creek. Saw a moose in upper Jordan creek.

    Another great view of the Sawtooths where you will certainly feel you're in the mountains is from the top of Boundary creek trail and Casino creek trail. Doable from Stanley in a loop if you don't mind road miles, maybe ten or so.

    Good website for most of Stanley trails: https://idaho.maps.arcgis.com/apps/w...2c05228831dfbb
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  24. #24
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    Awesome suggestions thanks all! Can't wait

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyrone.minton View Post
    You can see the bottoms of the trees in the redfish lake webcam. When my parents were up there a couple weeks back the snow was 2 feet up the base of the trees. It's melting off fast.

    Thanks for the tip on Fisher Loop, we may try to work that in as well. My SO is new to biking and living in florida makes getting to the mountains and being able to actually climb a grade difficult.
    In that case, stay around Ketchum. Ride Corral Creek (up the road and down the trail) Lower Adams Gulch (Sunnyside and Shadyside are easy and fun) White Clouds is pretty fun and close to town. Fox Cr is a step up in difficulty but not too long. Fisher and Elk Mtn are fun but not beginner trails. Most of the canyons have decent gravel road in the bottoms that can be ridden.
    I wanna ride!

  26. #26
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    Any Big Boulder-Frog Lake-Little Boulder updates down the E. Fork Rd.? Hoping to hit that up over the Holiday weekend (Monday the 3rd.)

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    Just got back from our trip to Stanley/Redfish Lake. We severely underestimated the effect the elevation would have on our riding abilities.

    We ended up renting some fatbikes at the Redfish Lake Lodge and rode the Fishhook trail out and back which did my girlfriend in. Myself and my brother hike-a-biked up to the Marshall lake ridgeline and rode that for a mile or so up, then came back down.

    In the afternoon we attempted Elk Meadows. Not wanting to drive his brand new truck back to the trailhead we started out on the double-track from the highway and rode back through the meadow, then turned around. There were several trees down on Elk Meadow trail right after the first downhill to the valley.

    All in, the area is beautiful and I can't wait to get back out there with some better fitness under my belt to really see what the trails have to offer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MildWillie View Post
    Any Big Boulder-Frog Lake-Little Boulder updates down the E. Fork Rd.? Hoping to hit that up over the Holiday weekend (Monday the 3rd.)
    Give us an update once you head out there if you don't mind

  29. #29
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    Just road Alpine Trail and Fishhook Trail yesterday - pretty fun little trail but lots of hikers. Did Fisher Cr. twice over the long weekend - it was in good shape other than the washouts. The elevation take some getting used to for sure. I live at 3600' and ride up there several times each year - you can sure tell the air is thin up there!
    I wanna ride!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Give us an update once you head out there if you don't mind
    Ended up staying south and riding Greenhorn-Imperial Saturday, Sun Valley Resort Sunday and Galena Lodge ( Outhouse, Rip and Tear and Spring Creek) Monday. May head back to Stanley a little later this summer...love Rideaho!

  31. #31
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    Ok, all of our group agreed, Fisher Creek = overrated.....

    Going to check out big Boulder little Boulder tomorrow.

  32. #32
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    Try up Boundary and down Little Casino - need to drop a car off at the Little Casino Campground.
    I wanna ride!

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    Yesterday we did up little casino, across Sunny gulch, down big casino. Pretty epic.

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    We did little Boulder big Boulder loop today. Talk about amazing views! All clear of downfall also .

    Little Boulder is Tore up from the horse's, damn shame.

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    Stanley/sun valley annual bike trip, suggestions please-10959.jpg

    Scenic. (Not Fisher Creek lol)

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    Is boundary to Williams loop clear? I saw someone posted elsewhere that there were big drifts, mud, and lots of down trees 16 days ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The best 25 mile ride in Sun Valley IMO if you like climbing is Pioneer>Johnstone>Bear>Parker. If you are a mortal you will enter the pain cave on the climb up Bear but wholly cow the descents incredible. You can do that as a loop from town but since you have two cars you could knock off an hour by driving directly to the TH and leaving a car in Elkhorn.

    As for Stanley and a taste of the White Clouds one of the best rides that is still open since the wilderness closure is Big Boulder>L. Boulder. Again with the two cars you can avoid the climb up the dirt road to Livingstone Mill. There are hot springs to hang out in near the end of L. Boulder.

    Fisher-Williams is over-rated but definitely worth hitting. Do that in the morning and then make a loop around Redfish Lake in the afternoon. Or, if you don't mind a steep climb and a short shuttle do Boundary Creek to Casino Lakes and then over and down Williams (might have to check on this one-might cross wilderness now). Another ride that ends at a hot springs is Bull Trout Lake to Bonneville Hot Springs along the Warm Springs Trail. More down than up but a good shuttle ride.
    I'm so happy to find this thread. My buddy and I are planning some rides in this area for the Eclipse. We'll be at Redfish lake for it.

    Regarding the reference to Bull trout lake area, I need thoughts on this route:
    Bull trout lake -> Kirkham Ridge trail (144) -> trail 148 -> 147 and back to the lake. We will have only 1 vehicle so no shuttle.

    I have Forest service & other website maps of the area showing all the trails mentioned in this thread but am not sure if local names differ from the maps. We're coming from California and this is a first time for me.

    Thoughts highly welcomed. Phillip

  38. #38
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    Too bad you don't have two cars. I've ridden out from Bull Trout area and down both those different trails (144 to 148, and 147) in the past. Great rides out and down, but personally I wouldn't want to ride up 147 Warm Springs or Kirkham Ridge. To do so you're looking at 35 miles.

    Bench creek trail, just south of Bull Trout turnoff 1/4 mile, to Marten lake and out either Swamp (rocky and rooty) or Trap creeks to the highway and then some highway miles back to your car is epic as you crest the divide and look down on Marten lake.
    With this is the option of parking at the turnoff to Bear Valley three miles north of Bull Trout turnoff and riding 3 miles in the Bear Valley road to Fir creek summit and catch the western section of Bench creek trail (6 miles) to Bull Trout and then on to the eastern section I first described. That would shorten your highway miles by 3 miles also, but give you 3 miles of easy gravel in it's stead.
    Another loop with both highway and gravel miles would be to ride north from Fir creek summit to Lola creek and out.

    Don't forget about Little Basin creek loop (14 miles), good for a single vehicle.

    Another great ride with awesome views is the East Fork of Valley creek to Basin Butte lookout and over the top north to Prospect creek and down to Valley creek and your car. Turnoff for this ride is around mile marker 121 on highway 21 - about 8 miles out of Stanley. You should check with the forest service for trail status on these trails. Lots of downed trees from winter and fires.


    Idaho trail map:
    https://idaho.maps.arcgis.com/apps/w...2c05228831dfbb
    You can find topographic maps with trail info in Basemaps pull down menu at top left.
    White Clouds - Heart of Idaho
    Still kick'n after being knocked down, drugged out, and bent over - thanks MSTI...you rock.

  39. #39
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    Excellent! I will consider the recommendations. I do like long rides though. I just finished a 415 mile bikepacking race in 5 days 21 hours. Brutal ride

    Thanks again!

  40. #40
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    Valley Cr. to Knapp Cr was unrideable last weekend, way too many trees down. Elk Mountain Loop was excellent. Fisher/Williams is getting beat up and loose from all the riders but still a lot of fun.
    I wanna ride!

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