Author Topic: National Forest Road 7623 Thompson Falls, MT to Burke, ID  (Read 897 times)

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Offline HikeBikeCook

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Offline CMajernik

Re: National Forest Road 7623 Thompson Falls, MT to Burke, ID
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2021, 12:14:19 pm »
I'm not positive this thread is about the same road, but I think it is. You should look at this: https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=17104.0
Carla Majernik
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Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: National Forest Road 7623 Thompson Falls, MT to Burke, ID
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2021, 01:49:10 pm »
Thanks Carla -

That is a different route. I am looking at Forest Road 7623 that leaves the West side of Montana Secondary Road - Highway 471 near Burson Gulch and Thompson Falls High School (Google Maps - but street view shows no school). It follows near major power lines and connects to Idaho RT 4 in Burke, ID.

There is a Trailhead for Pear Lake that people are able to drive 2-wheel vehicles to from the Burke side.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/idaho/pear-lake
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: National Forest Road 7623 Thompson Falls, MT to Burke, ID
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2021, 03:41:34 pm »
Thanks Carla -

That is a different route. I am looking at Forest Road 7623 that leaves the West side of Montana Secondary Road - Highway 471 near Burson Gulch and Thompson Falls High School (Google Maps - but street view shows no school). It follows near major power lines and connects to Idaho RT 4 in Burke, ID.

There is a Trailhead for Pear Lake that people are able to drive 2-wheel vehicles to from the Burke side.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/idaho/pear-lake

I tried to research that road while planning my 2017 tour out that way. I was going to be spending a night in Wallace, ID before heading to T-Falls. I was considering it as alternative to Dobson, King a Thompson Passes.  Was not able to find much except a description by one cyclist who wrote that you really need a mountain bike due to the rough surface conditions. But who knows if that's really accurate.

Mapping it on RWGPS shows a lot of double-digit grades, including nearly the last 1.5 miles to Cooper Pass from 471.  I stuck to the route with the passes mentioned above. King Pass between Murray and Delta is mostly unpaved, but it's a relatively short climb and the surface is pretty good. Mostly hard packed dirt with some benign gravel higher up.  The climb to Dobson Pass from Delta is all paved but has some section of 10% if not slightly steeper.  Descent to Wallace is nice and only really steep at the start. 

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: National Forest Road 7623 Thompson Falls, MT to Burke, ID
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2021, 04:28:56 pm »
Thanks, I called the ranger station and someone answered on their cell phone and he was not sure about the road. However, after further research, I decided to stick my original route - Montana Secondary Highway 471 (Over Thompson Pass) to NF-9 (Coeur D'Alene River Rd) through Murray and Pritchard (then Old River Road down to Enaville) for a couple of reasons.

1 - Paved
2 - Services
3 - Predictable (Google Street View drivable)
4 - The whole Silver Valley is one huge EPA Super Site for clean up - I would not drink any water in that area
5 - They are starting to move hundreds of tons of old tailings to a new containment facility closer to Wallace, which means heavy truck traffic.
6 - All of the reports I have read say the best part of the Trail of The Coeur D'Alene starts at Enaville heading West (East of there is next to I90.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: National Forest Road 7623 Thompson Falls, MT to Burke, ID
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2021, 05:24:31 pm »
Sounds like the smart play. I’ve seen the huge remediation site coming down I-90 from Lookout Pass. And there are warning signs along part of the trail between Mulan and Wallace about contamination. In Wallace the trail is actually under I-90 for a bit.

I’ve gotten sandwiches from the place in Murray. Pretty good. The pizza looked good.

The descent from Thompson to Murray should be fun. It’s 4.5 miles of relatively steep then another 4.5 miles of relatively gentle. The second time I climbed the other direction I was cruising in my middle chainring. Got to the steep half and felt like I dragging a ship anchor. I honestly thought something was wrong with my legs. Then I had an “Oh no!” moment. Looked down and realized I had forgotten to shift to the small ring. A little later a thunderstorm hit. But I survived.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: National Forest Road 7623 Thompson Falls, MT to Burke, ID
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2021, 05:55:57 pm »
BikeliciousBabe -

Thanks for all the input (here and other threads), it sounds like you know that area pretty well for an "East Coaster" :)

With 6 months to go before the start, my days are spent pouring over routes, checking CGOAB to see if anyone has ridden it, plugging it into RidewithGPS, checking elevation, Google driving it for road conditions, checking DOT sites for traffic volume, etc. Missoula to Seattle (really Plumber, ID to Ellensburg, WA)  is the last big challenge, but I found a Facebook group, Friends of the Palouse to Cascades that has some veteran TransAM riders who have done some route verification for us. The Beverly Bridge is about to open over the Columbia River, so that closes one missing link.

The final challenge (aside from COVID-"X") will be wildfires  and what detours they cause us.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966