trail above RR Grade N of Banks?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtnjam
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    trail above RR Grade N of Banks?

    Ever since I've been in Idaho and driving up Hwy. 55 I've always looked up at the old road grade above the railroad tracks just after you get past Banks, just above the lower North Fork rapids, and wondered what's up there and who has ownership of that land and most importantly if there's a trail up there. Know where I'm talking about?

    Well last weekend on my way back down from Cascade we stopped at the turnout just before crossing the river and walked up the "access" road for a little way. It looks like the access road has been torn down/decommmissioned, but after about 50 yards the old road bed becomes very evident. With some work Could this become a trail if we knew who to talk to? Dan? Al? Dirk? Larry?

  2. #2

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    One of my riding buddies and his GF tried riding that either last year or two years ago and said it was "adventurous" to say the least and not that good kind of "adventurous".

    He got a hold of Leo Hennessey at Idaho Parks and Recreation to find out the status of that land and unfortunately my CC of that email no longer exists, but Leo IIRC was able to say who he thought owned the land and whatnot.

    Here is Leo's work email: [email protected]

  3. #3
    mtnjam
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    Here's Leo's reply:

    Ryan,

    I too have been interested in that old road bed as a trail and where it goes. I see lots of cool rock work so it must have been an important route at one time. I believe it is the old wagon road to north Idaho or the original road to north Idaho.

    Between Gardenia and and Banks I believe there are numerous private owners and a large section is owned by BLM. On my maps it shows the BLM owning the middle one third but the remaining land on both ends is in private ownership. I have tried to access the old road from Banks and Gardenia and found that the property was posted. Bridges to cross the river to access the BLM land would be costly.

    My maps show the section of old road above Banks heading towards High Valley east of Smith's Ferry is managed by the USFS. I think there may be a small section of private land in Banks that would have to be crossed to get to the USFS land. I would talk to the USFS to see if there is any reason why it could not be developed into a trail. My gut feeling it has not been developed is because of the cost to reinstall the washed out culverts, the bed is washed completely away in some sections and private land and historical trail issues. I am going to spend my time focusing on the railroad corridor and making the rail bed from Payette to Cascade, a rail trail but I would love to have someone do some research to find out more about this opportunity.
    If anyone else has more info and more access to land ownership resources let either myself or Leo know...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    I've been looking at that for years too and Leo's email confirms my brief review of the maps. The lower section looks rideable as is, but is a mix of private owners. The upper, scenic part seems to disappear in some key sections either through mud slides or through the road work to put in the current road.

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