Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tour the Snake River wine region by bike

(Click on map to enlarge)

I recently learned about a new 53-mile backcountry byway in southwest Idaho called the Snake River Canyon Backcountry Byway. The byway was recently recommended by the Idaho Travel Council as a great place to take a scenic drive to enjoy fall colors, fine wine, fresh home-grown produce, history and more.

The Snake River Canyon byway is unique because it tours a number of secondary roads in Canyon County on the north side of the Snake River, and thus, would be an outstanding venue for road biking. But the real bonus is that it passes by a number of great wineries in a very close proximity to each other, making it a perfect destination for biking and wine-tasting. The wineries include Bitner, Koenig, Sawtooth, Ste. Chappelle, Hells Canyon and more.

So ... to take a page from the Provence region of France, I'd recommend doing 70-mile road-biking tour that passes by many great wineries from Kuna to Parma. Ideally, you should start the ride in Boise, so you get some exercise for 20 miles before the wine-sipping begins in Kuna. It'd be best to do the trip in two days -- while staying in a bed & breakfast or hotel along the way in Melba, Nampa or Caldwell -- so as to maximize on the wine-tasting and provide enough exercise in between each wine-tasting stop so you can pace yourself and enjoy the whole experience.

Options for lodging include a new Bed & Breakfast at the Bitner Vineyards, the Snake River Log B&B in Melba, Mrs. Hood's B&B in Caldwell, or a number of hotels in Nampa and Caldwell.

Watch for a detailed map on my web site in the coming weeks to provide a road-biking guide to the Snake River wine region in Ada and Canyon counties.

- SS