August 20, 2015
On August 7, 2015, President Obama signed into law the creation of three new federally-designated Wilderness areas. One of these new Wilderness areas, the White Clouds Wilderness in the Boulder Mountains and White Cloud Mountains of Idaho, impacts the White Cloud Option found on the Singletrack Options Map of Adventure Cycling's Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR) and closes two important sections of singletrack on that option, totaling 15.1 of 66.9 miles. See map.
This Wilderness designation has been years in the making with input from many sources including local, state, and federal conservation groups, International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), and Adventure Cycling (albeit on a small scale). When we were in the planning phases of the IHSMBR in 2014, cartographer/senior graphic designer Casey Greene was aware of the situation, but hopeful the area would be designated a monument. Monuments have an expansive usage policy that would have allowed continued access for cyclists to trails within the area. We also met with congressional leaders to explain our situation and the impact the designation would have on the route and communities that support bicycle tourism.
The two closures are as follows:
Because bicycling is not allowed in any designated Wilderness area, this ends access for any bicycle traveler planning to ride the White Cloud Option, as it is currently routed. All other singletrack options are open, including the Willow Creek Option, the Eagles Nest Option, and the Secesh Option.
The closure is already in effect. The Forest Service WILL BE ENFORCING THE LAW BEGINNING IMMEDIATELY. If you are unclear about the boundaries or signage you may encounter, call the Sawtooth National Forest Public Affairs Officer Julie Thomas at 208-737-3262 for more information.
A potential reroute of the White Cloud Option that we will look at when the IHSMBR Single Track Options Map is reprinted might look something like this:
Ride the current route from Turn A to Turn I. At Turn I, ride southwest on FR 111 to FR 109. At FR 109, ride north and rejoin the current route at Turn M. Continue on Turn M to Turn O. At Turn O, ride west on FR 109 along Fourth of July Creek. FR 109 will become FR 209 and connect to the IHSMBR Main Route at SR 75 (Turn R on the Main Route). Due to the boundaries of the White Clouds Wilderness, cyclists can ride no further north to connect to the main route.
As with many cyclists, we understand and support the further protection of America’s scenic public lands. However, we are deeply disappointed to lose the opportunity to ride in some beautiful areas in the White Clouds, an opportunity that would have been afforded by monument designation.
GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer ‘Jenn’ Hamelman, Routes & Mapping Assistant Director, and appears once a month, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.
You may want to check this forum thread (and there may be others) for current info on riding conditions for this route:
I hope this helps!
Bike packed a 5 day loop of the Sawtooth Valley last week hitting as much single track outside the wilderness as we could.
To compensate for some of the lost single track, we added in Redfish Lake trails (101/045/400), which I would recommend. One section of hike a bike out of the basin, but great single track and views.
The Germainia Creek route around around the Chamberlain Basin worked fine for us, though we did it clockwise. Nice to get the climb on Fourth of July Road and descend all the single track on 109 and 111. Pretty brutal hike-a-bike over Bowery Trail, but nice descent into Bowery Guard Station.
Rode up the Valley Road (194) and camped off the main route, then did as a day ride up Fisher Creek Road (132) and down Williams Creek Trail (104) and it was just fantastic. Could easily add that in to a new single track alternate. We stopped camping in the high country because of snow and cold, but sure looks like you could continue up 104 to Big Casino (646) and rejoin the original route while still avoiding the wilderness. I chose to take the 104 descent and don't regret it.
Finally rode/hiked up Boundary Creek Trail (103) to catch the Little Casino Trail (616/232) descent. Also worth doing, despite the snow storm at the top and cold rain on the descent.
A shame we lost what I hear was some great single track, but there's still lots of great single track options in the Sawtooth that could be incorporated into a revised option.
The section of FR109 up from Germania Creek to Turn M seems steep (14.3% grade over 1.8 miles). What about following FR109 up to Turn N (10% grade over 2.9 miles total) as an alternate? See URL linked above (we are hitting the trail Friday morning).
I'd be curious to know how your trip goes, we are heading out in a couple of weeks and would appreciate any up to date info, particularly on the single track sections.
Yup, that totally goes. It is a bit more mellow.
The 2 closed wilderness trails of the Idaho Hot springs Route ( locally called the Ant's Basin Ride and the Castle Divide Ride) are some of the most beautiful, remote rides in the country! Believe me- I live nearby! The trails have been open as long as I can remember. It's a sad turn of events that they are now closed to mountain bikers due to the new "wilderness" designation, when there was a better option- a National Monument.
So is the main route (i.e. not the single track spurs) unaffected? Thanks, Anna
Correct, the main route is unaffected.
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Starting the trail in September, curious as to any updates from trail riders. Planning on starting in Idaho city through Stanley maybe continue on depending on time frame.