Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Temporary ACA Route Road Closures => Topic started by: chrisd on May 31, 2017, 03:17:15 pm

Title: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: chrisd on May 31, 2017, 03:17:15 pm
I’m planning to ride the IHSMBR going counter-clockwise from Ketchum around the last week of June 2017. I’m wondering if anyone else planning to do, not do, or has done the ride before, has been following any of the Sawtooth Nat’l Forest Flood/Flood Zones/Emergency Notifications?
I know the Featherville-Ketchum RD (FR227) has been closed for years but open to hikers and cyclists, but this year as seen in videos taken of the road, there have been even more substantial washouts. Whether you’ve done the route before or are planning on doing it, watch this VIMEO put on by Heath Watte tiled “Camas County, Sawtooth National forest”
Those of you familiar with this section of the route, does it look similar to last year-maybe just a BIT more water? My thoughts are that in a month (more like 6 weeks when I get to that section of my trip) the water levels should recede enough to create a passage whether on the banks or in low flowing water, but I know this all depends on how fast the snowpack melts from this record year. The Bounds campground washout is what I’m most concerned with but even now, it looks that a path could be created to the left of the flowing river in the road. Thoughts? Also, if you watched the whole video, I know there is the Worswick washout also, but I don’t have the route map in front of me now and I’m not sure if the route goes through this, though I think it does, which may present more challenges.
I’ve spoken with rangers and both have advised taking the reroute, but they didn’t quite sound like adventurous people to me. I know that there is a posted ACA reroute from last year, but I would like to avoid this if possible. Dropping out of the mountains to get to Fairfield, just doesn’t look that appealing to me. I would prefer to stay in the mountains with the trees! Another thought about the reroute was dropping south out of Featherville and turning east as the reroute suggests, but then heading north past Soldier Mountain back to Ketchum-Featherville RD over a pass that should be open soon. Anyone do this section before past Soldier Mtn. Ski Resort?
Any beta would be great!!!!See you on the trail!!!!!!!
Title: Re: IDHSMBR 2017-Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route 2017
Post by: jamawani on May 31, 2017, 06:57:57 pm
Please check with local USFS ranger stations about snow  pack, roads, and campgrounds.
Much of central Idaho has 200% or more of snow pack this spring with slow melting.
Also flooding is a problem in many places - with roads and bridges out.

Current Snotel map of the West - (click numeric at bottom for specific percentages)

Boise National Forest -
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: smm on June 28, 2017, 12:35:33 pm
We are headed out in a few days going CCW from Boise. I called the ranger and was referred to some web pages from the Sawtooth National Forest about closures due to flooding. I have yet to scrutinize these compared to a map. Has anybody been through there recently who can advise?
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: smm on June 28, 2017, 12:36:14 pm
Unfortunately the vimeo video is marked private, so we cannot look at it :-(
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: CMajernik on June 30, 2017, 10:44:10 am
Information sent in today from a cyclist:

Harriman Trail is also currently closed due to high water levels, as is Old Galena Toll Road. Information from the Galena Lodge states that Old Galena Toll Road will be open soon but Harriman may be damaged due to flooding. Valley Road and Decker Flats Road are both open for bicycle traffic.
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: smm on June 30, 2017, 11:35:47 am
Thank you for the information. I am sorry to hear about the Harriman Trail; pictures look beautiful. When we get to Sun Valley, we will try to get an update on trails to the north. I think a call to Galena Lodge is a way to get the status??

I heard from a cyclist on facebook who went from Featherville to Ketchum on June 11 that the water was really high. He managed to get through (I didn't hear what route he took), but gave cautions that it was risky.  The water on the south fork of the boise at featherville has dropped from around 4000 CFS (june 11) to 2140 CFS (june 30), and hopefully will drop farther by the time we get there.  I'm not sure what that means for conditions on the ground, but here's the site I'm checking (just posting for anybody else who is interested):

Coming from southern Arizona where we have had record heat and decades+ drought, it's hard for me to contemplate all this moisture!

Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: chrisd on July 02, 2017, 08:44:10 pm
Stopped to speak with Pat at the Featherville Cafe. He has pictures of what the route currently looks like. Passable but very strenuous as told from the rider who went through. Taking the reroute to Soldier Rd from Farfield up and back over to 227 towards Dollarhide Pass is a passable option and much cooler than the reroute as that drops to high prairie. Could be a beautiful day on the high prairie or HOT and Windy. Start early!  None the less the reroute is very scenic through farmland looking at the mountains.
Over Soldier Mtn to 227 is clear as the Warwick washout has been cleared. No more snow on Dollarhide but a few small washouts to walk your bike through and a downed tree. Other than that there is plenty of rideable road from Soldie Mtn to Ketchum. You just cannot go east to Featherville from Soldier Mtn. Well you can but there is a half mile stretch to bushwhack through willow and shrubs where the river has taken over the road. Again this is all info and pictures from someone else. I did not go all the way through.
 Notes for the reroute: Coming from Anderson Reservoir the left on Cow Creek is Wildhorse Rd and Baseline Rd is 200 N. locals say the signs change names frequently. Camping with water is very limited if none after you cross the Lime Creek bridge (only main bridge at southern tip of Anderson reservoir- maybe 10 miles from Featherville) and begin your 1000 ft climb out. Water is very limited but there are a few clear creeks running on the way  to and past Fairfield. Be sure to filter all water! After Fairfield (hotel) camping is limited to going up towards Soldier Mtn or when you begin on the Camp CRK/ Croy Crk road- going up the short pass to Hailey on the reroute. Camp Crk/Croy Crk Rd camping is something you will have to look for. Try some of the few roads shooting off towards the trees or the FEW next to the road.
If need be-stop in, get some ice cream (home made) and speak with Pat at the Featherville Cafe-He's got some pictures to give you an idea of what you're getting into if you choose to stick to the original route.
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: smm on July 02, 2017, 10:21:26 pm
Pat at Cyndy's Featherville Cafe in Featherville told us 7 miles of road is washed out vs last year. Due to mechanical issue we diverted to Ketchum to visit a bike shop. Pat is a great resource as is Chris Leman with the BCRD who knows folks who are scouting a route from Atlanta to Ketchum. Pat in Featherville is awesome. He caters to cyclists & the good was great.
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: smm on July 03, 2017, 12:12:23 pm
Roger at Elephant's Perch bike shop in Ketchum knows all the closures, doesn't think the old route goes. Heading towards Stanley he recommends riding on the wide highway shoulder out of Ketchum towards Galena Lodge. The Harriman trail out of town is closed. Ride 3-4 miles on the shoulder ignoring the sign where it tells you to get on the Harriman trail. After 3-4 miles, the Harriman crosses the highway so it's on the right. Hop on it there & take it to the Galena lodge.

Rodger  says it's a little complicated getting on the old toll road from there, but very worth it
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: P Diddy on July 11, 2017, 12:12:20 pm
We scouted the route from Featherville to the slide area this past weekend. After hearing the storeowner encourage riders to take an alternate route around the slide. So here is my take on the slide take it for what it’s worth. We scouted it for a MT Bike race that occurs later in the year through the area.  If you are fit enough to ride this route I have to believe that you are fit enough to push your bike through this slide area that is roughly 1/3 of a mile in duration. Getting to Featherville I can’t imagine riding out of the canyon to take an alternative route through a hot and exposed area to bypass this slide.

It wont be easy and there are 2 trees across the trail that will need to be gone around. I would not do this in the dark and if you have other shoe’s than cycling cleats it would help. It took us 13 minutes to cross the slide without our bikes. I have attached a few videos for your review. If it took me an hour to cross this section which it will not, I would not use an alternative route. Enjoy the videos; it was a hot day as they usually are this time of year in Idaho.,atch?v=itTHqTA2gDw&
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: smm on July 11, 2017, 06:58:00 pm
By the way, there's a bicycle-friendly lodge that rents cabins and would've a fun place to overnight, called Deadwood Outfitters. We stopped in, & it's a charming place that caters to snowmobilers and hunters primarily. It has been family owned since 1969, rustic with a beautiful campfire circle, a wood fired hot tub, some food, cabins for rent. If you stay there you'd be positioned to tackle the deadwood Summit & warm lake summit in the cool of the morning. It would be good to add to the map.
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: shannonpaul on July 12, 2017, 12:36:49 pm
P Diddy - Thanks so much for scouting the route between Featherville and Ketchum on FR 227.  Thanks also for the videos.  They are very informative and helpful.

My family and I are heading out on the IDHSMBR in a couple of weeks and have heard horror stories (and some misinformation) about this section of the route.  Based on your videos, I agree with your assessment:  it looks very passable.  I'll be leading my family up to the slide areas and then pushing our bikes across the rocky trail.  Besides, with the road washed out and blocked as it is, that also means limited (if any) motor vehicle traffic.  We should have the road to ourselves.

More than once on my tours I've been instructed by well intentioned locals to avoid a certain hill, route, or byway, only to discover later that the section I was advised to avoid turned out to be one of the best parts of my trip.  I know the folks in Featherville likely mean well, but based on your videos I think their suggested re-route will result in cyclists missing a fun part of the adventure.
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: smm on July 21, 2017, 04:45:41 pm
Reposting attempt. Another cyclist scouted an alternate route. I haven't ridden this since I finished my trip, but others may want to try this out. This posting keeps failing, and I realized it's due to the attachments. See the link for the map. GPX is not allowed.-Sarah


After some in the field research, found a fun and pretty detour consisting of 7 miles of single track and 8 miles of road around the 3 washouts on FS227 aka Featherville to Ketchum Road.  The route has some hike-a-bike which is in line with the terms bike packing and mountain biking.  All in all mostly riding!

Attached is the profile (the profile is from east to west) of the detour and a Caltopo map.  You can Import the FS227detour.gpx file (attached) into Caltopo for the route I enjoyed. If you don’t see Fletcher Cr. Rd., use the Forest Service ‘Preset Layers’ on the left in the Caltopo. (

Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: velograph on August 03, 2017, 06:01:55 pm
SMM, thanks for the info on the that detour. We're headed out next week and should be in this area around the middle of August. I turned this into a route on RidewithGPS: so I can download it into my Garmin.

I've heard some scary stuff about this portion of the route, but with this knowledge in mind we're excited to get out there and see what things look like.

Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: shannonpaul on August 04, 2017, 05:12:31 pm
My family and I just returned from a 12-day, counter-clockwise tour on the IDHSMBR main route.  I thought others may benefit from our experiences on the washed out Featherville to Ketchum (FR227) portion.

In short, we continued on the main route (FR227) and made it through the rock slides and washouts.  It was not easy, but not impossible either.  We decided to push straight through rather than use either of the proposed detours.  We did not want to add the significant elevation gain and tricky single track of the Skeleton Creek / Fleck Summit detour, nor did we want to take the highways up and around through Pine and Fairfield.

There were three difficult areas as we pushed through on FR227:  the two big rock slides at about 16 and 17 miles from Featherville, and then the big washout caused by Big Smoky Creek taking over the road at about 25 miles from Featherville (near Bowns Campground, at the junction of Fleck Summit Road and FR227.  Note: Bowns CG is not on the IDHSMBR map).  There were also a couple of other areas where we had to walk through the creek to reach the road on the other side, but these were minor in difficulty, by comparison.

We found the big rock slides manageable.  The trail built by the forest service was passable, even with loaded bikes.  My girls (age 20 and 17) were able to carry/push their bikes through these two trails.  The first rock slide took us about 40 minutes to cross, the second took us about 30 minutes to cross.  The first was 0.3 miles long, the second rock slide trail was 0.2 miles long.  The videos posted on YouTube by PDiddy were fairly accurate as to the difficulty and passability of the rock slides.  After getting across these two slides, we were able to ride for several miles on what's left of FR227.

Our most difficulty was with the big washout caused by Big Smoky creek near Bowns Campground.  It is possible that we didn't find the correct trail around this washout, but we tried several options before getting blocked by undergrowth and deciding to ford the creek.  We ended up crossing the creek multiple times as we looked for the correct trail.  I was carrying bikes and gear, back and forth, since my girls couldn't cross with their bikes... The water was still too deep and swift for them to do anything more than get themselves across safely.  In places the creek was about 3 feet deep and fast, making crossing with gear tricky, but not impossible.  I didn't fall, but almost did while carrying bikes and gear overhead (for the record, I'm a reasonably fit 45 year old male, 6 ft. tall).

All in all, it took us about 4.5 hours to get from the road closure sign after Baumgartner to Bowns Campground.  We spent that night at Worswick Hot Springs and then tackled Dollarhide the next day.  Dollarhide was an amazing ride and shouldn't be missed.

Our advice:  the FR227 route should be done only by strong mountain bikers who are lightly loaded (bikepacking style) and are willing and able to carry their bikes and gear.  The same may be true for the Skeleton Cr/ Fleck Summit detour, but we cannot say for sure since we didn't go that route.  Based on other's descriptions, that detour sounds like advanced mountain biking with significant elevation gain.

If IDHSMBR riders are heavily loaded and are not willing to carry their bikes and gear over rocks and through water, then the big detour on the roads through Pine and Fairfield may be the best option for them.

I'll try to post some pictures of us crossing the rocks and through the water - the forum doesn't seem to allow me to post them with this message.  I would also be happy to answer any questions others may have about our trip and what we encountered.
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: shannonpaul on August 04, 2017, 05:20:47 pm
With attachments, crossing the rockslides...

Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: shannonpaul on August 04, 2017, 05:22:26 pm
With attachements, crossing the creek washouts...
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - Aug. 5, 2017
Post by: dabell on August 05, 2017, 11:33:05 am
Hello IDHSMBR adventure riders-
           I just returned from clearing a path around the Bowns Campground blowout.  The trail is on the south side of Big Smoky Creek (which was the road bed formally known as The 227).   The water level has dropped considerably since chrisdemers 5-31 post.  The Bowns trail is about 200 yards long, between the creek and a beaver raceway.  To paraphrase the Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan song: ‘water to the left of me, water to the right of me, here I am stuck in the middle with my bike…’ The trail is narrow in a couple places with some willow stubs waiting to mess you up.  As with walking in general, mind your footing.
           If you have ridden/walked to here from the Featherville, you will have already experienced watching geology at work and the Bowns Bypass will be a piece of cake.  On the other hand or pedal if you will, coming from the east, have your dessert first and the Brussels sprouts later…
   After a cold beer from the Smoky Bar Store I rode/walked the 10 miles from Bowns to Skeleton Creek through all 4 hike-a-bikes in just over an hour and half.  I should note, the bike was not loaded but I was. Thank you SMM for posting the adventurous Skeleton Creek option.

Ride hard,
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: Dirt on August 05, 2017, 11:29:17 pm
Bike Choice Question: 

I'm planning on riding from Boise to Ketchum late in August in order to ride Rebecca's Private Idaho grand fondo, Labor Day weekend.  That ride is best done on a gravel bike.  If I'm carrying by bike across the washed out areas, it shouldn't matter if I'm carrying a gravel bike or a mountain bike. 

My plan before reading about these washouts was to ride a drop-bar gravel bike with 700x45mm tires, with a relatively light load of bikepacking gear. 

I also have a drop-bar bikepacking bike with 29x3" tires or a flat-bar mountain bike with 29x3" tires. 

I'd REALLY prefer to have the gravel bike when I get to Ketchum.  If making it through these washouts isn't possible with that bike, I'll take one of the fatter-tired options. 

Thanks for the info!

Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: shannonpaul on August 06, 2017, 03:11:44 pm
I just returned from clearing a path around the Bowns Campground blowout.  The trail is on the south side of Big Smoky Creek

dabell - we could have used that path ~2 weeks ago when we tried our crossing!  ;-)  We attempted to go around that south side but ran into way too much brush and willows to get through.  We ended up crossing onto the gravel island and then back to the road (coming from the west).

Do you have any pictures of the path around the Bowns Campground blowout?  I would love to see what it looks like after you cleared a path.

Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: dabell on August 06, 2017, 11:01:34 pm
Hi shannonpaul,  I read your post on your adventure and wished I'd been a pruner sooner.  When I scouted the Fleck/Skeleton detour  ( in mid-July, the Big Smokey seemed much bigger with no way around.  You and the family made it through, that's an accomplishment that you all will never forget!

I took a bunch of images (at least two rolls/24 exposure each).  But when I was driving home over Dollarhide I realized I didn't take a single picture of my laborious task.  I was thinkin' of sending an email to Kaylin at ( and see if she will click an image or two. Otherwise, I will go back for some more riding and a photo shoot.

I do have an image (below) of what my legs looked like after the gardening if that helps.  The image may not be appropriate for viewers with a weak stomach, look away if you feel queasy.  In the mean time, visualize all those willows on the south bank hacked back two to three feet and how nice that would have been to walk there ~2 weeks ago instead of the creek.   Mission accomplished, ride this way--->

Be well,
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: CMajernik on August 08, 2017, 12:07:43 pm
Thanks to everyone here who is posting about re-routes and giving ample descriptions and photos of what it's like to follow FR 227. This helps the cyclists who ride after you. We, here in the office, refer cyclists to these posts. Much appreciated.
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: ekoostick on August 27, 2017, 10:05:37 pm
Does anyone know the current state of the Harriman Trail? A buddy and I are starting the route next weekend going counterclockwise out of McCall. We are planning on doing the Eagle's Nest and Atlanta singletrack sections in our 2 week adventure. Thanks!
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: shannonpaul on August 27, 2017, 10:48:11 pm
The Harriman Trail should be the least of your worries.  It is a multi-use trail that tends to be well maintained.  It was under water in several places in late July, but you can easily re-direct yourself out to State Highway 75 which parallels the Harriman.  Water may be lower now, so you may be able to ride the whole thing.  Don't skip it:  it's a great trail with magnificent views of the Boulder Mountains to the east (picture of my family riding it is attached below).

Eagle's Nest and Atlanta single track may present more challenges.  These are more traditional single-track trails that suffer from downed trees (deadfall) and rocky technical sections.  Eagles Nest gets more traffic and should be OK, but I haven't ridden it in a while.  Atlanta section (Willowcreek) is bound to have deadfall and very technical trail, or so I have heard.

Bottom line:  Harriman is some of the best "trail" riding you will find on the IDHSMBR.  The other single track options will prevent more challenges.

Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: ekoostick on August 28, 2017, 01:23:54 am
Thank you shannonpaul! I haven't read a blog yet where the riders have ridden the 2 singletrack sections so I was wondering about that. I've ridden Eagle's Nest a few times from the Warm Lake Rd so hopefully that will be straightforwardish as we will be on hardtail 29er's with no trailers. I've never been down Atlanta way but we are planning a few days to get from Cottonwood CG to Ketchum area. Hopefully the Beaver Lodge is still open as we will plan to get a hot meal and a beer there. The most recent ID Hot Springs loop blog on crazyguyonabike warned of the Harriman trail being closed so was just checking to see what condition it was in. We are pretty excited to hit the trail!
Title: Re: IDHSMBR -Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - June 2017
Post by: freeski1057 on August 29, 2017, 09:07:15 am
Thanks shannonpaul & dabell for reports and especially for trail work!  I'm planning on riding the section from Idaho City to Ketchum in a couple of weeks and this info is very helpful; sounds like what used to be FS road 227 is now passable though still challenging.  Since this is the Idaho HOT SPRINGS route I'm wondering what the state of the springs are along this section?  Any additional beta on this section of the route (Idaho City to Featherville & then Featherville to Ketchum) as well as on the hot springs appreciated.