Thursday, May 13, 2010

New edition of Mountain Biking in McCall is packed with great rides for everyone

Hidden Valley Trail, Brundage Mountain

Bluebird Express, Brundage Mountain

View from Osprey Point, Ponderosa State Park

Payette Rim Trail

View from Bear Pete Trail looking west

Hi all,

The all-new 3rd edition of Mountain Biking in McCall is hot off the press.

The book is jam-packed with 40-plus rides for all abilities, including 8 beginner (easy) rides, 18 intermediate rides and 15 advanced/expert rides. It retails for $12.95, the same cost as the previous editions. The book is available at all of the outdoor/bike/book shops in Cascade, Donnelly and McCall. Ditto in Boise. Pick up your copy now to research what rides you'll check out on your next trip to Cascade, Donnelly, McCall or New Meadows.

Right now, while there is still a ton of snow in the mountains surrounding McCall, the best rides are the North Valley Rail-Trail in McCall, the Weiser River Trail, Rapid River near Riggins, Hard Creek near New Meadows and Ponderosa Park in McCall. These are all lower-elevation rides that should be free of snow or you may encounter a few patches of snow.

Quite frankly, McCall is my favorite place to ride in the world. I've ridden mountain bikes in Hawaii, Switzerland, France, Moab, California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Idaho and many other places, and I just love to ride in McCall. Part of it is being able to ride in the deep woods, being able to ride to high mountain lakes without quantum miles of hike-a-bike, sweet singletracks, the challenge of many rocks and roots in some areas, and cool, shady cool forest conditions. And did I mention hot springs? The list goes on.

If you're from Boise, riding foothill trails is great training for McCall, but you'll find that the 90% of the trails around Boise are much smoother than they are in the Payette National Forest. You'll need to build endurance to handle steep uphill sections where you'll need to thread around rocks or yank upward on your handlebars to ride over a huge tree root or a series of roots. On trails like Loon Lake, East Fork of Lake Fork, Goose Creek, Bear Pete and even the Huckleberry Trail in Ponderosa State Park, you'll encounter "true mountain conditions" that require strong biking skills. That's part of the fun.

Here's a link to an article I wrote in this week's Boise Weekly about the Loon Lake Loop.
But it's not all gnarly. The 8 easy rides include the Crown Point Trail, a beautiful wide dirt trail that parallels Lake Cascade for six miles out and back, and the North Valley Rail-Trail, which Valley County Pathways just opened last weekend. It's 10 miles out and back, but a very easy 10 miles on a mostly flat surface. Having been involved with VC Pathways since the beginning (2003), it was particularly gratifying for me to open that trail.

Check out the Mountain Biking in McCall page on my web site and see if it's your cup of tea.

I might add that while you're in McCall, there is a host of great places to eat and many places to stay. Check out the McCall Chamber of Commerce web site for more information.

Have fun!

-- SS