Mountain biking in Stanley Idaho: July 22, 2012 Trail Report

Mountain Bike
One of the many huge meadows on the Elk Mountain Loop


Mountain Biking in Stanley and the Sawtooths is PRIMO!  We have been out and about the past two weeks gathering trail beta and getting our pedal on.  Stanley is a unique bike destination.  Rides are big, more technical  and always a little raw.  You might not find perfectly manicured trails, or crowds (except on Fisher Creek) but you will find complete solitude, epic views and some amazing adventure rides.

Fisher William (Fisher Creek)

Idaho’s world famous ride is always the first trail in the area  to get some love from the SNRA.  It has been clear, open and ready to roll for about 6 weeks and is in great condition.  Afternoon thunder showers and heavy morning dew as kept it from getting too dusty and dry.  Get it while you can.  .  Please park at the Williams Creek Trail-head and ride in a counter clockwise direction

Potato Mountain

A SAC guide favorite!  More of an adventure than a bike ride.  If you don’t mind a technical, gruelling climb followed by big chain-ring riding and lots of river crossings this ride is for you!  The uphill is a little rutted, but more ride-able than summers past.  There is a standing wager…if you can clean the uphill Tim at the Stanley Baking Company will buy you breakfast for the duration of your vacay.  whitness required.  Clean, no trees.  River crossings are still a little high to clean.  Be prepared to get wet and muddy.

Elk Mountain Loop

The perfect introduction to Sawtooth Single-track.  This loop is a great beginner/intermediate ride.  The trail-head is located at the end of the Stanley lake Road and is best ridden in a clockwise direction.  Beginners can tackle this ride if they are shuttled up the dirt road to the trail head and take the first 1.5 miles slowly (technical riding).  We offer guided mountain bike trips on the EML trail including bike rental, helmet, transportation and post ride snacks and bevy’s.

Trapp Creek/Marten Lake

This 10 mile out/back ride is one of the few rides in the area that access a high mountain lake, perfect for a mid-day dip.   the 5 mile climb includes technical riding, wood bridge systems, smooth single track,  little water and a generous amount of elevation gain .  No worries, because the 5 miles back to the car is as fun as it gets!  We ride this trail for our advanced guided rides and will be the location of our new summer overnight bike camp at Marten Lake starting in 2013.

Redfish Lake Loop

This trail will test your skills.  Technical riding with a number of climbs.  The good thing…Redfish Lake is always right there to cool off.  This trail is best riden counter clockwise starting at the Redfish Lake Lodge and ending at Redfish’s Rustic Lounge for a cold beverage.  We have yet to ride the lake loop this summer, but  Trei, Redfish’s bike riding bar tender will have the most up-to-date trail conditions and it will only cost you a beer or cocktail.

Boundary Creek to Little Casino/Big Casino

Not for the weak.  If the  2000+ vert climb doesn’t hurt you the 20 miles of climbs,  technical riding and fast decent just might.  The views are world-class and the ride is amazing.  Make sure and have a map on hand as there are a number of forks in the road.  Little Casino is more mellow, and a little wet.  Big Casino is fast fun and technical.  Both trails have seen recent re-routes & improvements from the SNRA (THANKS!)  You can arrange a car shuttle through Peaks & Perks Coffee cart in Stanley.  This is a big ride, plan accordingly.  If you like pain try the  23 mile, 3000+ loop up Little, down Big.

Nip & Tuck

More of a zone than a particular trail.  Nip & Tuck is the closest trail system to Stanley.  Nip & Tuck road starts in lower Stanley directly across from Bridgestreet Grill (perfect for a post ride cold bevy).  The road climbs 300 feet from hwy 75 to the Nip & Tuck Summit.  You will find a variety of singletrack, cow trails, and dirt roads to explore.  This are is quickly becoming a popular pedal park and will only benefit from more riders.

Do I need a Mountain Bike Guide?

Getting acclimated to Stanley/Sawtooth Mountain biking can take a little time.  Unmarked and unmaintained trails are the norm.  Equipment malfunctions, flat tires, and minor injuries are no big deal in a more urban biking environment, but in Stanley a fun and chill ride can morph into an epic in an instant.  Hiring a guide not only allows you to get up-to-date trail info and recommendations but also a great safety net.  All trips include bike, helmet, ground transportation and post ride apps and beverages.  Give SAC a call to explore the possibilities

Where can I get tubes, lube, maps and repairs?

Riverwear, located in Upper Stanley has everything you need to get your pedal on

Save the Date!

head to the hills for Stanley’s 1st Annual Bikes, Brews & Bands Festival this Labor Day Weekend.  Join us and help make this event and mountain biking a Stanley tradition!


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