When I returned home from the Bigfoot Trail Adam had a surprise- he had planned a bike tour!! Not just any old bike trip, but one that would be mostly on dirt roads and take us to over a dozen hot springs! I was stoked to get back on my Salsa Fargo and check out Idaho with Adam- a real summer vacation!
We drove out from Bend to Idaho past a few smokey fires, through the heat of the high desert, and past the smelly feed lots of the Snake River Valley to a small town along the Payette River, Crouch, ID.We chose to start our tour in Crouch because the southern portion of the 500 mile route was closed due to a landslide near Ketchum. Our plan was to ride the northern half of the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR) clockwise, and take the Lowman Cutoff to return to Crouch, the lowest point on the route. After enjoying some fine beer from the Payette River Brewing Company we found a camp site and prepped our bikes. Velcro and buckles attach our Bedrock Bags frame bags, handle bar bags, and seat bags in a nice streamlined way. After some rearranging and finagling we were able to fit everything so we didn’t have to wear backpacks.
After driving around a bit we found the perfect spot to leave our truck (Chisos) during the ride: the Starlight Theater Parking Field. Crouch is a very tiny town that happens to have a large outdoor theater with camping and event parking. The woman I spoke to in the Box Office was more than happy to let us park there and wished us well on our adventure.
And then we […]
The ODT is ripe for bikepacking. There are stretches that will need bike alternates, but with some creativity and time investment I think we could have a Bend to Idaho (Snake River, or maybe even Boise) route that mostly parallels the current Oregon Desert Trail.
I’m gonna lay out my thoughts on the current ODT path & it’s viability for a bikepacking route. This is a bit freeform, I hope it’s not too confusing… Feel free to contact me for clarification, comments, or questions!
My ODT bikepacking route thoughts:
ONDA has released their ODT guidebook and maps. They are certainly hiker focused, but are a good resource and starting point. There are only two wilderness areas along the route, the Badlands & the Steens. Hart Mountain NWR has bike restrictions, and the rest of the off trail sections are mostly not bike-able. Alternates would need to be found for about half of the current Oregon Desert Trail in order to make a Oregon Desert bike route. This is a new trail and is far from perfect! It is still in it’s fledgling stage and there is a lot of room for us to make it into a great adventure for bikers and hikers alike. Maybe if we put some thought into it now we can avoid the hiker/biker adversity that seems to crop up on some multi-use trails.
The start of the ODT is pretty sandy, and might be more suitable for fat bikes or for seasons while the sand is wet & a little more consolidated (winter and spring). I was impressed with the Horse Ridge area trails and views. The off road vehicle area between Horse Ridge and Pine Mnt. was neat, but SUPER sandy in […]