Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hike & camp by Crooked River or tackle the Silver City Skyline Tour for Labor Day

Fishing Crooked River
Leo Hennessy, Jerry Quick and Doug Lawrence near War Eagle Mountain.
Jim Young enjoys the views on the Silver City Skyline Tour 
Hi all,

I've got a couple of last-minute ideas for Labor Day weekend, places where you could go for a hike or a bike ride and camp nearby -- Crooked River near Idaho City or the Silver City Skylline Tour, starting and finishing in Silver City in the Owyhee Mountains.

The weather will be on the cool side in the mountains on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for Labor Day weekend, with temperatures in the 60s forecast in McCall, Stanley and Ketchum/Sun Valley, but to me, that's a bonus. Love the cool temps that come with fall weather! If you stay in town, it's supposed to fall into the high 70s, which sounds pretty fab for Boise, too!

The Crooked River Trail is featured in my Boise Trail Guide - 75 Hiking and Running Routes Close to Home. The easiest way to access the trail is via the Edna Creek Road off of Idaho State Highway 21, northeast of Idaho City and Mores Creek Summit. You'll see a highway sign for the Edna Creek Road and Atlanta, turning right off Idaho 21, about 60 miles east of Boise. There is a pull-out for the trailhead on the Edna Creek Road in the first half-mile from the highway. You can either hike or bike from here.

The trail is a moderate hike, but a little more challenging as a mountain biking trail because it is all singletrack, and that makes the riding a little trickier and technical. The trail runs downhill along Crooked River, but remember, you will have to climb back to the trailhead. About 4 miles down the trail, it becomes more sketchy with downfall, and you may want to turn around. The trail is supposed to extend all the way to the North Fork of the Boise River (10 miles one-way) but it needs much more clearing and maintenance to make that trip doable for Joe 6-Pack. 
Crooked River map. Click to enlarge. 
Bring a fishing pole if you like to fish. It's a beautiful creek with nice deep holes, and it's in a beautiful pine and fir forest setting. Be sure to bring a lunch with you to enjoy the scenery. 

Camping nearby: There are many unofficial camping areas on the Edna Creek Road in the first few miles after you turnoff of Idaho 21, and there's an official campground called Willow Creek about five miles up the road. There also are many self-support camping areas along the North Fork of the Boise River on the way to Deer Park. 
Silver City Skyline Tour map 
Now, if the notion of tackling the Silver City Skyline Tour in the Owyhees sounds appealing, I'll provide some basic directions for this 16.8-mile mountain bike ride, but I'd recommend buying my guidebook for the best details. I rated it strenuous/advanced in The Owyhee Canyonlands - An Outdoor Adventure Guide. It features 2,750 feet of vertical gain. I loved the ride because it provides a rooftop tour of the mountains surrounding Silver City, and it's nifty that you start and finish in downtown Silver City. Be sure to bring plenty of food and water. After the ride, there are lots of places to camp just outside of Silver City or along Jordan Creek, you make the call. 
Back in downtown Silver City after the ride. Wa-hoo!
Doug Lawrence on the left, and Paul Hilding. 
Directions: Drive to Silver City and park off to the side of Main Street near the old hotel. To get there, go south of Nampa on ID 45 to Murphy. Watch for signs for Silver City on ID 78 as you're heading for Murphy, and follow the paved and dirt road to the historic mining town. 

Mile 0 - Ride back toward New York Summit from Silver City. 
Mile 1.2 - Turn right on BLM Road F483. This is your main route for the first half of the ride.
Mile 2.4 - Bear right on Road F483 at Y junction and climb.
Mile 4.7 - Reach junction with service road to the top of War Eagle Mountain. It's a short, but steep sidetrip to check out the summit. Check out the old buldings and mine shafts at the Poorman Mine near this junction ... it's a short sidetrip.
Mile 5.9 - Back at War Eagle junction. Bear right on Road F483 and cruise on your middle ring to the ridges and mountains to the south.
Mile 6.7 - Bear right at Y junction next to livestock watering area. Bear right again shortly afterward and climb a steep hill with lots of mobile rocks.
Mile 7.9 - Come to sweet overlook to the left of the main road. Cruise over to the trees to enjoy views looking out toward Triangle and the big wide open country of the Owyhees.
Mile 8.4 - Pass through barbed-wire gate.
Mile 9.2 - Bear right.
Mile 9.4 - Ignore trail going downhill on the right. Stay on the ridge.
Mile 9.6 - Pass through barbed-wire gate.
Mile 11.1 - Bear right and pass through gate. Going downhill now on ATV track.
Mile 11.8 - Come to 4-way junction. Take a hard right and climb super-steep ATV trail to a saddle at 12.6. Parts of the climb are rideable; some parts not. Go left at the junction and climb a little more until trail flattens out.
Mile 14.0 - Come to 4-way junction. Turn right and descend into Long Gulch on a jeep trail. It's a fun descent back to Silver City. There are a number of creek crossings.
Mile 16.8 - Arrive in downtown Silver City. You made it!     
Have you heard of the Idaho Smoke 'n Fire 400? A friend of mine, Scott Frey, told me about it at Tour de Fat, and it sounds totally amazing. It's a self-support mountain bike race starting on Wednesday, Sept. 10th in Boise, and god knows when riders will finish. They will be carrying their own overnight gear -- call it "bikepacking" -- as they ride an incredibly arduous course from Boise toward Anderson Ranch Dam to Ketchum to Stanley via dirt roads and trails to Bear Valley, Deadwood Reservoir, and then back toward Placerville before climbing over the Boise Ridge back to town. Wow! 

Sign up if this sounds appealing. Thirty-seven riders have signed up so far, including Scott. There is no entry fee and there are no prizes. Just bragging rights and survival.   
If you do stay in the Boise Valley this weekend, be aware that there are numerous Labor Day sales going on at your favorite outdoor stores -- preseason sales on skiing equipment, and closeout sales on boating, biking, hiking and camping equipment. Great time to buy!

Have fun!
- SS 

No comments: