|The distribution of 39 OHV rides in Idaho ...|
The Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Public Outreach Campaign has been updating the StayonTrails web site with some new rides, and we're happy to report that we've got six new rides to share for the 2012 riding season, with several more to come.
On our Where-to-Ride page, we now have 39 rides total. Each ride has a detailed written description with directions to the trailhead, and a trip map. These rides complement the new Idaho OHV online trails map, which provides online access to some 18,000 miles of trails in Idaho statewide.
We've added three new rides in Southeast Idaho near Montpelier, courtesy of recommendations by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and three new rides near Salmon, Idaho, thanks to recommendations by the Bureau of Land Management and local OHV riders.
One of the rides in Salmon provides a 39-mile tour of the Lewis & Clark Backcountry Byway. This one is a dandy for history buffs. The single-lane dirt road surface is suitable for motorbikes, ATVs, UTVs and regular trucks and cars. The ride starts and finishes in the beautiful Lemhi Valley, where Sacajawea was born as a member of the Lemhi band of the Shoshone Indians, or the AgaiDika Shoshone.
|Where the dirt roads meet at the saddle above is 7,373-foot Lemhi Pass.|
The ride takes OHV riders to Lemhi Pass atop the Continental Divide, where you can easily imagine how things may have looked to Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, when they peered over the west side of the divide for the first time and saw lots of big mountains and no clear path to the Pacific Ocean. The Shoshone told them that they couldn't safely travel to the Pacific via the Salmon River because it was too rocky, it had too many rapids, and they'd certainly drown trying to get through. Instead, they recommended going to the Pacific via the Nez Perce buffalo trail and Lolo Pass, which turned out to be a grueling route through dense timber with very little game. I'm sure many of you know the story.
The late author Stephen Ambrose, who penned the excellent book Undaunted Courage, wrote that Lemhi Pass was his favorite spot along the Lewis and Clark Trail. He camped there with his family on July 4, 1976. "It was the most glorious night of our lives," he wrote. "You could reach out and touch the stars. Except for a logging road, the place was unchanged since Lewis was there."
You can camp there, too! If you come to Salmon, you also need to visit the Sacajawea Center, a museum and outdoor park near Salmon. Here's a link to the BLM brochure about the backcountry byway. Oh, and by the way, there's a hot springs nearby that you can visit before or after the ride.
|Trailhead at Discovery Hill. Photo courtesy BLM|
|Freeman Peak lords over the Freeman Creek Trail.|
Moving on to the trails in SE Idaho, we feature two rides in the Mecham Hollow area, north of Montpelier. There is an 8-mile intermediate loop that provides an introduction to the area, and a 25-mile loop, called the Mecham Hollow-Sherman Peak Loop, which is more advanced. Both rides are open to motorbikes and ATVs.
Local Ranger Dennis Deurhen shared a nifty 22-mile ride we called the Paris Canyon-Highline Trail Loop.
On this ride, you can visit the Paris Ice Caves, and do a brief side hike to Bloomington Lake for fishing or a quick dip on a hot summer day, and finish the loop. Here's the trip map.
|Paris Ice Caves|
|Paris Ice Caves|