|Ya man! Conquered the mountain! Courtesy Josh Howard|
|Round the Mountain on the backside ... courtesy Josh Howard|
|My friend Paul Pegorsch got a small badge of honor when riding Round the Mountain ...|
|Wendy completes the loop near Pioneer Lodge|
|GPS tracks of Round the Mountain ... ride it counter-clockwise|
|Vertical gain profile for Round the Mountain Trail|
The new Round the Mountain Trail at Bogus Basin is proving to be a bit hit with mountain bikers and hikers in the Treasure Valley. I've ridden it a couple of times now, and I really enjoy it. It's all singletrack. It's fast and smooth in places, rocky here and there, and it's got some super-fun downhill switchbacks banked corners, very similar to the Upper Drain Trail at Bear Basin in McCall.
Round the Mountain is a partnership project involving the Ridge to Rivers Trail System, Bogus Basin and scores of volunteers who helped work on the trail. Ridge to Rivers provided a sign at the trailhead that gives recognition to the many groups and local retail shops that helped out.
The complete Round the Mountain loop is about 10 miles in length. It features 1,230 feet of climbing and descent. I would rate it intermediate to strong intermediate. Travel time will vary, but it took me about 1 hour, 20 minutes to do the loop. It took us a little over 2 hours on Sunday with my partner Wendy.
The thing that's great about Round the Mountain is that it fully circumnavigates Bogus Basin in a way that no other trail has before. The trail snakes around the mountain mid-slope between the summit and the bottom of the chairlifts. The views are awesome. You can look out over the Boise Valley, Robie Creek, Idaho City, Garden Valley and points west toward Emmett. You can dream about skiing or riding down Paradise, Wildcat, Nugget or whatever when you pass by those slopes and let the fun memories of high-speed cruisers wash over your mind on an 85-degree day.
The trail itself was built with some fun challenges in mind -- you'll encounter some rock features near creek crossings, many nice but narrow wooden bridges, some fast downhill switchbacks with banked corners, and a few steep uphills. The trail pretty much stays on the same general contour all the way around the mountain, but there's lots of ups and downs.
Wildflowers are sprouting big-time along the trail. Bring your flower book.
Adding to this excitement is that Bogus has a barbecue deck open on weekends this summer, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with live music starting at 4 p.m. This week's featured artists are Possum Livin on Saturday and Jonah Shue on Sunday.
How to get started? Pick up Round the Mountain Trail #98 off of the Deer Point #91 Trail, which begins at the base area next to Deer Point Chair #1. You'll ride Deer Point for about a mile or so before you come to Round the Mountain. Follow Trail #98 as it winds around the mountain! It's about as simple as that. You will climb a few steeps at the beginning of Round the Mountain, and then the trail weaves out to the south flank of Deer Point, offering big views of the Treasure Valley. The trail crosses the Boise Ridge Road and then heads for deep woods on the Pine Creek Chair #6 side of the mountain. This is where you'll encounter the fun downhill switchbanks with banked corners. The trail contours around to the Superior Chair #3 side of the mountain and then climbs the grassy lodge traverse back to Pioneer Lodge. You can take the Morningstar singletrack downhill from there, or choose whatever route you like to the base lodge.
Because Round the Mountain is only 10 miles long, more serious advanced riders and trail-runners might want to consider the following add-ons:
- Ride the Round the Mountain Loop and combine it with Eastside. The trailhead for Eastside is opposite to the Bogus Basin base area on the left side of the road as you come to Bogus. So it'd be super easy to jump on the Eastside Trail and enjoy an even smoother ride with fun obstacles and features here and there. Eastside is about 7 miles long, and then you climb back up to Bogus, and return to the ski area on the pavement.
- Add the Mahalo Loop for a little extra zip. After you've been on the Round the Mountain Trail for about 2 miles, you'll cross the Boise Ridge Road. Turn right at that point, and drop down to Forest Service Road 275C on the left. Ride 275C past a gate to the Mahalo trailhead. Ride Mahalo and ride the ridge road back to Round the Mountain and complete the loop. This would add about 6 miles to the ride ... Mahalo has a bunch of fun singletrack thanks to SWIMBA! and the Boise National Forest.
- Drop down from Mahalo and take the Dry Creek trail back to Boise.
- After riding Eastside, drop down Sweet Connie to complete the day.
- After completing the Round the Mountain Loop, at the Pioneer Lodge, take a left on Brewer's Byway, climb over to Deer Point Trail #91, and enjoy a ripping fast descent on #91. Remember that there may be people riding or hiking uphill on the trail, so don't get too carried away on the speed.
On Saturday, I'll be riding the 75-mile version of the 4 Summit Challenge. Gulp! I've been training, and I think I'll be all right, but it's going to be a tough ride ... 75 miles and 6,000 verts in the mountains east of Cascade. Next week, I'll tell you all about it.
Registration is still open for this event, which has space for up to 650 riders. You can choose from the following:
- Family ride - 8.2 miles
- 1 Summit - 30 miles
- 2 Summits - 50 miles
- 3 Summits - 60 miles
- 4 Summits - 75 miles