Author Topic: New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?  (Read 1070 times)

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Offline Ryld

New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?
« on: August 15, 2018, 12:23:31 am »
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=51477

The above link is from a cyclist who went from New Meadows to West Yellowstone. He sort of did a straight line rather then going up and down. I have never been to Idaho or Montana. I would be very pleased to hear some trip advice on some cutoff like that someone tried. I assume the offical route would have less traffic then again Idaho is not densely populated. Any cyclists advice on their trip would be great.

Offline jamawani

Re: New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2018, 01:28:58 am »
I have ridden an "Idaho Cutoff" a number of times.
I do a somewhat different route - still, the core part is thru the Sawtooth Mountains.

Eastbound I split off the TransAm at Austin Jct., Oregon
(Rough outline of route)

Continue east on US 26 to Vale & Ontario
Follow ID 52 & ID 55 (busy) to Banks
Banks Lowman Road to ID 21 to Stanley

From Stanley, I prefer ID 75 to Challis and US 93 to Arco
Then take ID 22 to Dubois and County Rd A2 to Island Park (short unpaved stretch)
US 20 to West Yell - or the old rail trail over Reas Pass.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/12875626

Here is the route as far as Arco - then I cut over to Jackson.
(Crazyguy's maps are offline right now.)

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1mr&page_id=421648&v=1c

<<<>>>

The route via Ontario is shorter with way less climbing.
The route via Challis is quieter with much less traffic.
Stanley can be very cold - esp. in spring and fall. Be aware.
There are some longer, remote stretches that require planning.

Offline Ryld

Re: New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2018, 09:35:53 am »
Ok thanks...I may just stick to the route I do not like having to plan hard for food and water resupply. I have road tires so I am fearful of gravel.

Cheers!

Offline John Nettles

Re: New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2018, 09:45:52 am »
I have ridden what most of what you and Jamawani rode over different tours.  I have also ridden dirt sections between Cambridge and Cascade (about 1/3 paved) Warm Lake (east of Cascade) to ID-20 (paved until the where the road "t"s east of Warm Lake) and from Ketchum to US-93 via Trail Creek Road, about 1/4 paved but paved on most of the uphill climb.
If you must stick to pavement the entire time, Jamawani's route was nice (didn't ride between Austin Jct and Ontario nor between Rexburg to Jackson).  Lowman Road was a long climb out of Banks.  Nice long gentle descent along the Stanley River between Stanley and Challis.  Also has some hot springs along the way.  Stretch between Challis and Rexburg was, for me, mostly boring.
If you want to stick to ACA as much as reasonably possible AND can do some dirt, I really enjoyed the dirt stretches.  The stretch between Cambridge and Cascade via Little Weiser River Road/NF-206. Pavement begins a few miles after Indian Valley and begins again a few before Cascade.
The stretch between Warm Lake (pleasant resort area) has nice and overall easy except for one major climb (paved) east of Warm Lake and another notable climb (gravel).  This scenery was overall comparable to the paved Banks/Stanley section but obviously much quieter and very little development.
The stretch between Stanley and Ketchum was quite nice with the one major climb.  An ~3 mile bike trail into Ketchum. From Ketchum, there is a major climb (paved) to the pass then a fairly gentle descent to US-93 where you turn right to Arco.  This stretch is much more "green" than Stanley>Challis which is more "arid" but both are very scenic.  I have not been between Ketchum and Arco via Carey.

Whichever way you go, be sure to do the detour to Redfish Lake about 5 miles south of Stanley.  Plan on a rest day there.  Very nice quaint mountain lake resort.

Have a great tour!  John
EDIT:  You posted while I was typing that you prefer paved.  I will leave my answer as is in case others want to know.

Offline John Nettles

Re: New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 09:52:07 am »
Ok thanks...I may just stick to the route I do not like having to plan hard for food and water resupply. I have road tires so I am fearful of gravel.

Cheers!
You were replying to Jamawani's suggestion.  His route really does not require much planning other than being aware of where you next supply point is.  For all paved shortcut (stay on ID-33 east of Rexburg) , it really is a good route.
However, withe shortcut, you do miss a few "iconic" TA places, i.e. White Bird Hill and Lochsa River but the area around Stanley is REALLY nice.

Offline bicycleTour

Re: New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 12:36:58 pm »
I'm late to this topic but thought I would add.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=51477

I did most of this route summer 2018 but I designed it on my own - good to see it was already designed by other. In fact I met a couple going the other way - east to west.

My modification is that from Arco I rode to Idaho Falls - a long stretch of nothing and wind (at my back) - with nice stop at EBR-1, National Historic Landmark.

Then beautiful ride from Idaho Falls to Swan Valley, and on up over pass to Victor.

Then Victor to Jackson, WY.

Note that this misses Yellowstone unless you then ride into Yellowstone from Jackson.

I had no problems with lodging - camped every day. Camped at New Meadows, Cascade, Crouch, Bonneville, Stanley, Redfish, Wood River, Carey city park, Craters of the Moon, Arco, Idaho Falls, Victor.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 04:15:08 pm by bicycleTour »

Offline shannonpaul

Re: New Meadows to West Idaho shortcut - is it viable?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2019, 11:22:24 pm »
I am always amazed at bicycle tourists who choose to ride the southern part of Idaho, through the desert, and miss the best parts of Idaho.  The TransAm goes north from New Meadows, over White Bird Hill, and up Highway 12 along the Lochsa for a reason:  US 12 is the prettiest highway in America.  Do not miss it.  It is the reason I moved to Idaho in the first place.

While I agree that the Sawtooth mountains and the Stanley & Ketchum areas are spectacular, going south on Idaho Highway 55 from McCall is a death wish.  None of us locals ride it, and I would advise against it.  It is narrow, heavily trafficked and lacks a shoulder.

Stay on the TA and cross Lolo Pass into Montana on Highway 12.  The Bitterroot Valley on the Montana side is equally spectacular.

-Shannon
"You gotta let it riiiide!"  - Cosmo Kramer